The announcement was made at last night's Yachting Excellence Awards, in Auckland.
420 World Champions, Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING were named Young Sailor of the Year 2006. Both just 15 years old, the boys from Auckland and Tauranga respectively, were chosen from a list of seven finalists.
Many others were recognized at last night's Awards presentation which attracted a capacity crowd to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.
SANDERSON, who returned to New Zealand from Finland in time to attend the Yachting New Zealand Excellence Awards, was presented the trophy by New Zealand's first Olympic Sailing medallist, Jack CROPP. The 50th anniversary of the gold medal won by Jack CROPP and Peter MANDER at Melbourne 1956 was also celebrated at last night's dinner.
SANDERSON was one of seven finalist nominees for the Carlson Wagonlit Travel Sailor of the Year 2006. Competition was tough and the list included current Star World Champions Hamish PEPPER and Carl WILLIAMS, as well as board sailor Tom ASHLEY, who narrowly missed the RS:X World Championship title this year.
The Carlson Wagonlit Travel Sailor of the Year 2006 finalist nominees were:
Sailor of the Year
SANDERSON was the outstanding leader of the brilliant ABN AMRO campaign that won the Volvo Ocean Race earlier this year. Master of Ceremonies, Peter MONTGOMERY described SANDERSON's achievements to the audience.
'The Volvo, formerly the Whitbread is considered one of the world's prime time keelboat sailing events,' noted MONTGOMERY, 'and Mike SANDERSON's ability as a leader was considered the key to this outstanding win that has had ABN AMRO ONE's dominance compared with a previous winner… Peter BLAKE, and the Steinlager II crew.' 'Mike Sanderson was involved in ALL of the campaign, from funding, to key decisions on design, critical preparation before the race and then showed outstanding leadership, responsible for two boats in this last Volvo.'
'This was Mike's fourth round-the-world race, he's also been in two Americas Cup campaigns, and has established a reputation as one of the outstanding offshore sailors in the World. And wherever Mike SANDERSON has gone, he has represented New Zealand and New Zealand sailing with honour and distinction on and off the water, but through the glitz and the glamour he has never forgotten that he is a boy from the Onerahi Yacht Club.'
EVANS of Kohimarama Yacht Club and BURLING of Tauranga were announced Young Sailor of the Year 2006. The pair of 15 years olds combined earlier this year to sail at the 420 World Championships in the Canary Islands. In a stunning victory, EVANS and BURLING won the regatta.
420 coaches Simon COOKE, Mat BROWN and Richard BURLING were also recognized at last nights Awards Ceremony receiving Merit Awards for their contribution to the 420 successes.
Sixteen Merit Awards were presented to individuals and teams with significant achievements in yachting over the last twelve months. It has been an incredible year; the Merit Award list including World Champions, Volvo Ocean Race sailors like Erle WILLIAMS and Mark CHRISTENSEN, as well as local keelboat racers.
Twelve Waipara Hills Honour Awards were presented to recipients from across New Zealand. The Honour Award recognises long term service to yachting and the list included individuals from as far south as the Bluff Yacht Club and as far north as Taipa in Northland.