11 Nov 2015

Burling and Tuke named World Sailors of the Year

9:55 am on 11 November 2015

The New Zealand 49er crew of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have been named the 2015 male World Sailors of the Year.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke compete in the Rio Olympic test event.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke compete in the Rio Olympic test event. Photo: Photosport

The pair have continued to dominate their class since winning a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.

Burling and Tuke have won more than 20 consecutive 49er regattas and are favoured to defend their World title in Argentina next week.

Alongside their Olympic campaign the pair have also been involved in Team New Zealand's America's Cup World Series.

"Blair Tuke said: "It is a really big honour for us to win this award. We don't sail and race to win these awards, but it is really nice to get these accolades for all the hard work we put in. We are really proud to have won."

"All the nominees have achieved some awesome things this year in our sport, especially Ian Walker for winning the Volvo Ocean Race. We've been working hard all year and the results have come our way, not only in the 49er, but also in the other boats we sail. So we are looking ahead, keeping the hammer down towards the Olympics and then to bringing the Cup back to New Zealand."

The only other New Zealanders to win the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year are Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in 2013 (New Zealand's first ever winners in the Female category), Sir Russell Coutts who has won ISAF Male Sailor of the Year twice, in 1995 and 2003, Mike Sanderson in 2006 and Sir Peter Blake in 1994.

Burling (24 years old) and Tuke (26 years old) have totally dominated the Olympic 49er class over the past twelve months, and indeed the past three years, with an unprecedented string of consecutive victories.

Their most recent gold medal was at the 2015 South American Championships just this week in Argentina. In August Burling and Tuke won gold at 2015 Aquece Rio Regatta (2015 Rio Test Event) - significantly this victory was on the Olympic Games race track and they remain the crew to beat with less than a year to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

During the Awards period, both sailors have also been promoted into key roles with New Zealand's America's Cup Challenger Emirates Team New Zealand. With Burling and Tuke on board, (Burling at the helm) Emirates Team New Zealand has secured podium finishes at this year's America's Cup World Series regattas in Portsmouth (2nd), Bermuda (1st) and Gothenburg (2nd) to lead the series.

At the 2015 Moth World Championships Peter Burling took victory, and Blair Tuke was 6th overall (and best placed rookie) in a large and talented fleet of sailors including Olympic medallists from a range of classes, plus three of the four helmsmen from the last America's Cup and many previous Moth World Champions.

Also named as finalists for world sailing's top honour in 2014, Burling and Tuke were pipped for the title last year by Australian Jimmy Spithill for his America's Cup achievements.

Sarah Ayton of Great Britain was named female Sailor of the Year.

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