MALAGA, Spain (AP) — Tom Slingsby of Australia was named the male Rolex World Sailor of the Year for the third time while Kirsten Neuschäfer of South Africa won the women's award.
Slingsby was honored after skippering Team Australia to a third straight season championship in SailGP, the global league founded by tech tycoon and former America's Cup winner Larry Ellison. Slingsby and his crew have dominated SailGP from its inception and remain the only team to win each of the $1 million, winner-take-all titles.
Slingsby is also helmsman of the New York Yacht Club's American Magic, one of five challengers entered in the 37th America's Cup to be held in Barcelona in 2024.
“I’m super humbled to be in this position," Slingsby said. “Previously when I’ve won this award, it’s been after a Laser world title or a Moth world title but this time it was purely sailing with teams.”
In September, American Magic won the first preliminary regatta ahead of the 37th America's Cup.
“American Magic have had a rough journey so far in their America’s Cup campaign but it feels like we’re really turning a chapter and there are really exciting things to come," Slingsby said.
Slingsby won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics and then helped Ellison's Oracle Team USA defend the America's Cup in 2013 in one of the greatest comebacks in sports.
Neuschäfer became the first woman to finish first in the solo Golden Globe Race, a journey around the world reliant on no modern technology. She also came to the rescue of a fellow sailor during the race.
“It’s such an incredible honor to be a nominee among such amazing, acclaimed and iconic sailors, but to win this award, to be given this recognition by such an esteemed panel of judges and by the public means so, so much to me," she said.