2006

January
Winner:ROBERT SCHEIDT (BRA)

God, we love this page: and we know that picking one winner can be soooo hard. Robert Scheidt's record in the Laser Class. Will never, ever be beaten. There, we said it. After a sloppy - for him - start at home in Brazil, Scheidt eventually won his eighth (sic) Laser world title with a race to spare. Being a class act he sailed the final race anyway, won it, and so took his latest title by the astonishing margin of 34pt. Miracolo!

February
Winner:JAMES SPITHILL (AUS)

After being 2:1 down to Russell Coutts the Luna Rossa helm came back confidently to win the final of the 2005 Bermuda Gold Cup 3:2, continuing a run of form that had seen the young Australian also take his first ISAF world match racing title just a few weeks earlier in Spain. Now it’s off to Malaysia for the final Swedish Match Tour event of 2005 before an intense winter of training with his adoptive Italian ACC team

March
Winner:JUAN KOUYOUMDJIAN (ARG)

Joy, relief, excitement, it’s hard to know how best to describe the pleasure that the charismatic Argentinian designer took from seeing his choice of a radical design route for ABN-AMRO’s two VO70s being vindicated on Leg 1 to Cape Town. But what impressed us as much as the pace was the reliability of both JK’s boats, while all around were consummately falling apart…

April
Winner:REICHEL & PUGH (USA/GBR)

Not prolific IOR designers, a few boats popped out of San Diego, Abracadabra for example – world-conquering ‘50’. Hated the IMS, so worked away at sleds and the like, always designing pretty boats, usually they went pretty well too. Supermaxis and canting keels and the brakes came off, Reichel-Pugh dominating the biggest classes for several years now. Oats’s Hobart success was icing on the cake

May
Winner:JOHN DANE & AUSTIN SPERRY (USA)

Keeping it in the family was exactly what this 55-year-old (sic) former Soling World Champion was doing when he partnered his son-in-law and previous North American championship-winning crew Austin Sperry at the 2006 Bacardi Cup in Miami. The family duo swept the board to top a tough 90-boat fleet, finishing six points clear of Germany’s Marc Pickel and Ingo Borkowski

June
Winner:MIKE SANDERSON (NZL)

No letters please about the ‘curse of Seahorse’ we’ll only point out that John Kostecki went on to win the last Volvo Race. Mike Sanderson brought his own brand of dedicated professionalism to the ABN campaign, helping create a pre-race programme in which most of the potential demons were confronted rather than minimised. The result is that Sanderson’s team now have quite a few ‘comfort points’ in the bank…

July
Winner:STAN HONEY (USA)

ABN Amro One’s navigator celebrated his 51st birthday on Leg 5 of the Volvo Race by watching MoviStar slide astern after passing their Spanish rivals barely one length to weather. This nomination for Honey is long overdue after an extraordinary range of achievements in everything from 505s to a round-the-world record on Cheyenne, plus countless more ‘conventional’ ocean race successes

August
Winner:IKER MARTINEZ AND XABIER FERNANDEZ (ESP)

Two years out, sailing the Volvo Ocean Race with MoviStar, then straight back into the 49er and within a few weeks a dominant victory at Hyères – Martinez and Fernandez have not only been ‘the force’ in 49er sailing for some time now, they have also proved adept at switching from lightweight skiffs to TP52s, Volvo 70s and the like. Seems that they also manage the switch back quite well

September
Winner:DEE CAFFARI (GBR)

While Portsmouth was awaiting the Volvo fleet at the end of Leg 7, England’s latest rose was celebrating the finish of a 178-day solo voyage in her heavy steel 72-footer against the winds and currents, and in doing so becoming the first woman ever to complete a solo westabout circumnavigation under sail. Remember big genoas and metal spinnaker poles – Dee spent 178 long days wrestling with the lot of them…

November
Winner:SIMON PAYNE (GBR)

Train, train and train some more. Simon Payne was determined that 2006 would be his year in the ‘Flying’ Moth Class, and so it proved at the recent worlds in Denmark when he finally unseated class supremo (and previous Seahorse Sailor of the Month) Rohan Veal after a spectacular battle on the final day of racing. Trailing Veal with two races left to go, Payne took back-to-back bullets to secure his first world title

December
Winner:HOWARD HAMLIN (USA)

‘A force of nature’ is how top designer Paul Bieker described Howie Hamlin after he had added the Int 14 Windmaster Trophy – for the best-placed helm over 50 – to his ever-increasing tally of major small boat trophies (oh yeh, and that he also won the 2006 Worlds itself almost goes without saying). Add this to more big wins this year in the 14s, 18 Footers, second at the 505 Worlds ‘and and and’…What can you say?