Ben Ainslie and Lijia Xu Receive ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award

The 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards were presented to Ben Ainslie, 35, of Great Britain and Lijia Xu, 25, of China yesterday at the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards were presented to Ben Ainslie, 35, of Great Britain and Lijia Xu, 25, of China yesterday at the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland. The award, which recognizes achievements from September 2011 to August of 2012, is considered among the highest honors for sailors.

ISAF and Rolex waited to announce the winners until the ceremony Tuesday, keeping the suspense high for nominees and guests. Ainslie and Xu were two of nine closely contested candidates, five male and four female, nominated by the public for the award. More than 130 Member National Authorities of ISAF cast their votes to decide the winners: Ainslie, a four-time Olympic Gold medalist, and Xu, the first Chinese sailor to win Olympic Gold in a dinghy.

“Winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year award is a huge honor, especially for everyone who has helped me,” Ainslie said.

This was actually Ainslie’s fourth time winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. He has been at the top of the sport for the last 20 years, claiming nine European titles and 10 world championships. While Ainslie has had a remarkable career, he remains modest about his achievements.

“There are a lot of fantastic sailors out there,” Ainslie said. “I am very fortunate to have had the support to do what I have.”

Modesty was also apparent in female recipient Xu.

“I didn’t expect to be the winner,” said Xu. “It is an honor to be named the ISAF World Sailor of the Year and become the first sailor from China to receive this award.”

Xu made history in August when she became the first Chinese, and first Asian, to win an Olympic Gold medal in a dinghy. Xu’s victory at the 2012 Olympic Games came after a year of strong performances with three victorious ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and a silver medal at the Laser World Championships.

Xu overcame hearing and sight problems and even a tumor in her leg throughout her young career to stick with the sport she said offers her opportunity.

“Sailing leads me to a path to a better life, a life full of vitality, excitement and joyful experiences,” Xu said.

Both sailors were presented with a Rolex timepiece and an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year trophy.

For further information on ISAF Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards visit: sailing.org/worldsailor

Photo courtesy of ISAF

Related

Shelly-forward-last-day

Charter Advice for First-Timers

Never chartered? No worries. A vacation under sail can be the most memorable time of your life. That said, it also pays to be prepared by doing some reading, building your skills and listening to what the experts say. First and foremost, not all charter grounds are created ...read more

HugoBoss

Video: Vendeé Update

Last week Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) led the fleet across the equator. As one of the class' top sailors who's been on the Vendeé Podium twice, it seemed possible that Thomson was going to grab an early lead and hold on to it all the way around the world. But early on Saturday, he ...read more

AdobeStock_229409051

Chartering Again for the First Time

It’s been a rocky road of late for the charter industry, especially here in the Western Hemisphere. First came hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean followed by Dorian in the Bahamas. There has also, of course, been the coronavirus, which burst into global prominence ...read more

01 LEAD cedaryachtclub_onedesign18_hike

An Interview with Ayme Sinclair

In recent months, US Sailing, like many organizations, has been taking a closer look at diversity to ensure it’s doing the best job it can of introducing people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to the sport. As part of this effort, this past summer it organized an online ...read more

125768940_10222759720523627_5373654001582879638_n

US Sailing Presents Adaptive Sailing Panel

On Tuesday, November 24, US Sailing’s Leadership Forum will present the latest panel discussion in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion series. This event will focus on adaptive sailing and provide practical recommendations for organizations looking to expand their adaptive ...read more

02-IMG_5971

A Carbon Neutral Circumnav with Jimmy Cornell

Historic anniversaries have always held a special fascination for me, especially if they mark a significant nautical achievement. In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ would-be voyage to India, I organized a transatlantic rally that followed the historic route of the ...read more

DJI_0068

SAIL Podcast: Jimmy Cornell’s Carbon-free Circumnav

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with bestselling author and pioneering bluewater sailor Jimmy Cornell, who set out November 19 on yet another circumnavigation aboard a newly designed, carbon-neutral Outremer 4Zero catamaran. The voyage, which ...read more

emirates-600x

Emirates Team New Zealand Splashes the last of the AC75s

Emirates Team New Zealand unveiled its second-generation AC75 yesterday, joining the other three America's Cup teams with boats in the water. In just over 100 days, this boat will attempt to defend the Cup for the Kiwis, but there's plenty of racing between now and then, with ...read more