World Sailing’s 2019 Annual Conference ran this year from 26th October to 3rd November and it is safe to say it was another very successful show, with visitors from 68 different nations around the world!
The Awards were presented on 29th October, and some of the categories open for nominations were Rolex World Sailor of the Year, World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, and World Sailing Boat of the Year Award!
One of the winners of the coveted Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2019 is Italy’s Marco Gradoni. He is the youngest recipient ever of this award and it is certainly well deserved – Marco has won the Optimist World Championships for the last three years! At the Awards Ceremony in Antigua, Marco had this to say: "It's a dream come true to be sat here in Bermuda with the best sailors of the world. It is something really amazing for me. The list of previous winners are the most famous people of sailing and to be with them is unbelievable but I know that I have to stay focused on my goals because this is important.”
Anne-Marie Rindom was also presented with the World Sailor of the Year honour – hailing from Denmark, Anne-Marie achieved two world titles in the Laser Radial Championships this year and went on to secure FOUR gold medals at other high-profile events in 2019! Anne-Marie is now training for Tokyo 2020 and commented that “This year has been the best year of my career so far, so I'm very pleased with how it's going. We are training for next year, the Olympic year, so it's going to be an important year."
We were very pleased to hear about another award that was presented, which was the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award. The winner of this category was the Royal Yachting Association, who have a joint environmental initiative with British Marine called The Green Blue.
The Green Blue’s aim is to enable sailors to be able to make their own sustainable changes through training, guidance and, most importantly, awareness! The RYA and British Marine run industry events and conferences about a range of topics, so be sure to contact them if you’d like to attend. British Marine Courses & Events
In addition to working on promoting The Green Blue initiative to the wider sailing community, the RYA has also signed a new Environmental Policy this year, and signed up to the UN Global Compact, which is a voluntary pact to encourage businesses to act more sustainably and be socially responsible.
As our company charity this year is Plastic Oceans, a great organisation which fights to change attitudes and behaviours around the use of plastics, we at Topsail are certainly very proud to see that the sailing industry are fighting to raise awareness and make sailing more sustainable for everyone.