Launched in 1994, the awards are recognised as the pinnacle award a sailor can receive in recognition of his or her outstanding achievements by the world of sailing.
Ayton, Webb and Wilson, who have been sailing as an Yngling trio for just a year, were quick to make their mark on the Olympic Classes scene.
In what’s been an outstanding 12 months for the Skandia Team GBR crew, they have been on the podium at every regatta they’ve competed in, with the highlights being their World Championship win in Cascais (POR) and gold at the Olympic Test Event in Qingdao (CHN) which ultimately secured their Olympic nomination to the one Yngling spot for Great Britain.
“It’s been an amazing year for us, and this is the icing on the cake!” said a delighted Ayton on the team’s nomination.
‘Team Mirabaud’ kicked off the award nomination period – and their first ever event together – with a bronze at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth last October, and followed this up with silver at the Grade 1 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January 2007. Medal success continued with a win at the Yngling North American Championships, and silver at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma (ESP) and at the French Olympic Sailing Week in Hyeres (FRA).
The trio went on to reach the top step of the podium at the Grade 1 Breitling Regatta in Medemblik (NED) before clinching golds at the two crucial events in the British selection process for Beijing – the World Championships and the Olympic Test Event – which not only saw them reach the heady heights of number one in the ISAF world rankings, but also earned them the Olympic nod from RYA selectors.
“It’s so nice to have your achievements recognised in this way – after winning gold in Athens in 2004 we thought we might have been in with a shot, but after the year we’ve had it would be just great if we were to win the award now.”
Five male and four female crews have been shortlisted for the award, but there are only two winners – a female and a male World Sailor of the Year.
Ayton, Webb and Wilson find themselves nominated alongside Dutch 470 World Champions Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout, match racing World Champion Claire Leroy of France and Belgium’s Laser Radial European Champion Evi van Acker.
Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com