2009

January
Winner:LARS GRAEL (BRA)

After having his right leg severed in a ­dreadful accident in Brazil in 1998 when his Tornado was run down by a large powerboat, this two-time Olympic bronze medallist in the Tornado has continued to race hard in the Star class, winning the South American title on several occasions including the latest event in January 2008. Now he is working on a new potential America’s Cup project for disabled sailors – the Argo Challenge

February
Winner:STEVE WHITE (GBR)

For several of those taking part, the biggest victory is already in the bag, just getting to the startline of the Vendée Globe. One such is Steve White, skipper of Josh Hall’s ageing Imoca 60 Gartmore, now renamed Toe in the Water. When he got to Les Sables before the race start White asked his shore crew to leave him to bring his boat into the harbour alone – and promptly by all accounts then cried his eyes out in relief at having made it

March
Winner:SAM DAVIES (GBR)

It was Paul Cayard on EF Language who first demonstrated what a competitor with good media skills can do for an event. Come the current Vendée Globe and for the English-speaking world especially (which remains quite sizeable…), Sam is putting on a bravura performance both for the sympatico spirit of the ocean sailor and for her sponsor Roxy – who are benefiting from Sam’s regular fashion shows in the Southern Ocean

April
Winner:MAGNUS OLSSON (SWE)

‘Thanks for waking me up, what an honour to be part of this exciting morning watch!’ – a beaming Magnus greets Eero Lehtinen at 0200, May 1990, The Card, mid-Atlantic, gale force winds and freezing fog. So many people have nominated Mag so many times, and now he has finally got his captain’s hat for leg 4 of the Volvo onboard Ericsson 3! A hell of a way to celebrate your 60th birthday. Go, Mange, go!!

May
Winner:RAY DAVIES (NZL)

The quiet man of New Zealand yachting had some big boots to fill when he replaced Terry Hutchinson after the Rolex Sailor of the Year left Emirates TNZ last year. However, as a tactician or strategist, Davies has won almost all of it, including the Admiral’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton Cup, the TP52 MedCup aboard Mean Machine (where he won plenty else as well), and most recently the Pacific Series, standing at Dean Barker’s shoulder

June
Winner:DEE CAFFARI (GBR)

Sixth place in the Vendée Globe four years after starting a career in solo sailing makes a few people look pretty average, we reckon! Dee is also now the only woman ever to have sailed singlehanded both ways around the world. Moving from a steel 72-footer to a fragile Imoca 60 was a big step, yet this very smart English sailor took it in her stride and also gave her boat’s designers Owen- Clarke something to smile about

July
Winner:AKSEL MAGDAHL (NOR)

If the number of Volvo followers who have proposed Magdahl is anything to go by then Dan Woolery had better get the USA jungle drums going double quick. Magdahl’s tactical call on Leg 5 that saw Ericsson 3 leap into the lead was one of a string of fine and confident judgments to come out of the E3 navstation this race. And as we go to press Magnus Olsson’s fine ship is in a good second place on Leg 6…

August
Winner:PETER MORTON (GBR/AUS)

Frequently outspoken in his criticism of the status quo he may be, but few people have done more for British big boat racing. Campaigning and project managing IOR, IMS and IRC designs, resourcing teams for the Admiral’s Cup and Commodores’ Cup and most recently being the driving force behind the thriving ‘all new’ Quarter Ton class (supported lest we commit a grievous oversight by his rapid wife, Louise…)

September
Winner:JUAN KOUYOUMDJIAN (ARG)

Last time they said he was ‘lucky’ to be the one to hit on the right formula with his boats for ABN Amro. This time with Ericsson 3 and 4 ­supporters of rival VO70 designers are finding it harder to find flaws in the success of this innovative and eternally youthful Argentinean who is also never afraid to get out there and do it himself – usually in Juan K’s case in the intensely tough Star class

October
Winner:ROB GREENHALGH (GBR/AUS)

Straight off the Puma and a cab to the airport and the silver bird from St Petersburg to France for the Mark Foy ‘skiff worlds’ trophy in 18-footers in Carnac…with the first race less than 48 hours after the Volvo Race finish. Greenhalgh went on to take his latest skiff title after a final-day battle with Grant Rollerson and Howie Hamlin, to add to his VOR win on ABN Amro and runner-up spot this time with Ken Read on the shoe…

November
Winner:GEORGE SZABO & RICK PETERS (USA)

Fourteen Star Worlds attempts for Quantum sailmaker Szabo from San Diego, probably a few more for Rick Peters… Starboat Guy to his friends. A hugely popular win, this, and one from which Szabo’s boss, Mark Reynolds, can also take some considerable pleasure given the support he has provided over the years. And the last American World’s winner, also Mark Reynolds (with Magnus Liljedahl)… nice symmetry

December
Winner:BORA GULARI (USA)

Had Gulari not been nominated this month then a good many of you may well have fallen out of love with us… we got the message, thanks! Having held various class records since the Moth went foiler, including heaviest ‘sailor’ to fly and to gybe airborne (both set with his girlfriend onboard…), it was only right that Gulari now ends up with the biggest prize of all. Hard work and enthusiasm will achieve anything