Slingsby and Neuschäfer crowned at World Sailing Awards in Malaga

Sailing’s highest achievers were honoured at a glittering World Sailing Awards ceremony in Málaga. The 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards were presented to Tom Slingsby and Kirsten Neuschäfer, in a contest decided by an expert panel and a public vote. Slingsby was separated from his nearest competitor by fewer than 20 votes. 

The Magenta Project won the 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. The AC40 was named Boat of the Year, 11th Hour Racing won Team of the Year, Dick Rose was presented with the Beppe Croce Trophy and the Andrew Simpson Foundation won the President’s Development Award. 

Tom Slingsby was named male 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year for the third time at the World Sailing Awards 2023 after guiding his Australia SailGP to a third consecutive title, ensuring he is still the only skipper to have won the SailGP trophy. He is also skipper of American Magic, who will seek success in the America’s Cup next year.

Slingsby said: “I’m super humbled to be in this position. 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. 

“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. 

“And then with the Australian SailGP team, these are some of my oldest and best friends in the world and I’m so fortunate to go sailing with them and I’d be nothing without those guys behind me.”  

South African Kirsten Neuschäfer was named female 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year after writing her name into the history books by becoming 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 course of the event.

Due to other commitments, Neuschäfer was unable to attend the ceremony but in a video message, she said: “It’s such an incredible honour 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. Thank-you to everyone who has believed in me and cheered me on.” 

The Magenta Project won the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. A global leader in female empowerment in sailing, The Magenta Project’s nine-month mentoring programme has helped 150 women accelerate their progress into their chosen sailing field over the last four years.   

11th Hour Racing was named Team of the Year after winning The Ocean Race, and the AC40 won Boat of the Year. 

Dick Rose received the Beppe Croce Trophy for his dedication to the Racing Rules of Sailing which has spanned over thirty years.  

The President’s Development Award went to the Andrew Simpson Foundation. The foundation, started in memory of Olympic gold medal winner and America’s Cup winner Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson MBE who tragically passed away in 2013 aged just 26. The foundation strives to transform lives through sailing and has worked for over a decade to build a connected, accessible and inclusive community of sailors globally – increasing access to opportunities through our charitable sailing programs, sailing centres and partners. 

World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award 

The Magenta Project advocates for gender diversity across the sailing industry. The renowned nine-month mentoring programme supports ambitious sailors to accelerate progress in their chosen field through one-on-one mentoring, seminars from leading experts and a goal-setting framework. With up to 40 mentees graduating each year in the last five years, 150 women are a step closer to achieving their goals because of the work of the Magenta Project. The alumni go on to mentor others, take leadership positions in sport governance, and become heroes to the next generation.

The Magenta Project also hosts international events to raise awareness and expose successful applicants to career opportunities in the sailing industry. These events accelerate sailors’ experience and give them the confidence to apply to teams and positions that would otherwise be difficult to attain. An example of this is The Magenta Project x Foiling Week development programme 2023. Sailors were provided with equipment, coaching and the time to learn new skills or hone their technique. The event exposed them to boat classes and a network that they might otherwise not have access to and fuelled their goals in foiling.     

The Magenta Project aims to continue growing diversity globally in sailing through mentoring, events and governance. Investment in The Magenta Project has proven long-term returns, growing diversity in the sport and evolving industry leaders that go on to support the next generation: a truly socially sustainable movement. 

Team of the Year 

The 11th Hour Racing Team, skippered by Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Charlie Enright, won the 2022-23 Ocean Race and demonstrated all the qualities needed to succeed in one of the sport’s most demanding events.  

The team has also supported a number of initiatives to improve ocean health and used their platform to create the Sustainability Toolbox, a suite of guides and templates that can help any team or organisation implement their own sustainability program. 

Boat of the Year 

The AC 40 is a highly innovative and technologically advanced sailing yacht. It is designed to bring America’s Cup foiling performance to competitive racing, featuring self-tacking headsails and an autopilot control system that maintains stable flight. It incorporates advanced hydraulics, electric assistance, and onboard electronic systems to control various aspects of the yacht, such as foil arms, sail control, and flight stability. 

It serves as platform for testing different foil wings, flaps, sails, and masts for America’s Cup teams, emphasising its potential for successful designs and technological advancements. 

Beppe Croce Trophy 

Dick Rose’s contribution to the sport has spanned more than three decades. He is the person responsible for keeping all the changes to the rules during the four-year quad organised and changing the references to other rules and other parts of the rule book.  

He is best known for his very careful attention to both the big picture of the sport as a whole, as well as fully researching and debating the consequences of a change. He works countless hours on the rules and on a number of rules related working parties.  

President’s Development Award 

The Andrew Simpson Foundation opened its first sailing centre in 2014, and since then the Foundation has gone on to establish a network of five Andrew Simpson Centres and a Performance Academy. To date, the Centres and Academy have supported over 160,000 individuals to get on the water, discover the sport of sailing and excel. From beginners to Olympic hopefuls, the Centres and Academy provide an inclusive pathway for sailors to achieve their goals.   

In 10 years, the Foundation has raised and invested over £15m into the sport of sailing, supporting sailing for all. The Foundation focuses its funds on enabling young people to experience the benefits of sailing and ensuring everybody, regardless of circumstance, can access the sport. 

About the World Sailing Awards 

World Sailing launched the World Sailor of the Year Awards in 1994 to reward individual sailors for outstanding achievements in the sport. Rolex has been sponsors of the award since 2001, celebrating more than two decades of excellence and achievement in sailing.  

World Sailing and 11th Hour Racing joined forces in 2018 to celebrate the delivery of high impact and replicable sustainability within the maritime industry aligned to World Sailing’s Sustainability Agenda 2030. The winner receives a 10,000 USD prize to fund their continued sustainability efforts and the iconic trophy made from recycled carbon fibre from an America’s Cup boat infused with bio resin. 

The World Sailing Annual Conference is supported by the Málaga Tourism Board

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