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2020

 January
Winner:ANDREW PINDAR (GBR)

The latest of many women’s sailing initiatives, working with Dee Caffari and Theresa Zabell, Pindar is the backer of the review of women’s participation in the sport presented to World Sailing in Bermuda. The ultimate generous enthusiast, he is immersed in most aspects of sailing, supporting and advising events and sailors such as multiple match race champion Ian Williams and the late quadriplegic record-breaking sailor Hilary Lister

 February
Winner:IAIN PERCY (GBR)

Finn gold medallist in 2000, gold medallist in the Star in 2008 then a silver medal in 2012, two-time Star world champion, now Artemis CEO, Percy has added the 2019 Star Sailors League Final to his glittering resumé. Not surprisingly, Percy spent minimal time in the Star after the death of his close friend and Star crew Andrew Simpson in the Artemis capsize in 2013, so this result was all the more impressive against an extraordinary array of the world’s greatest sailors

 March
Winner:JOSH JUNIOR (NZL)

What is it about the number 37? In 1992 in Argentina Ben Ainslie recorded his best ever finish at the Optimist Worlds of 37th and in Perth in 2011 Josh Junior recorded his best result at the Laser Worlds… finishing 37th. It must be a Finn thing. So Junior will travel to Enoshima this summer for his second Olympic appearance – he finished 7th in Rio – as the reigning holder of both the Finn Gold Cup and the America’s Cup won with Emirates Team New Zealand. It’s a decent start

 April
Winner:CHRISTIAN CHARALAMBOUS (AUS)

First off, give the photographer a break here; he was in a cold liferaft 20nm from the Australian coast after surviving the capsize of a 40-foot yacht in pitch darkness in 30-40kt of wind. That they had a liferaft to get into was primarily due to Charalambous’s courage in taking off his lifejacket after swimming out from under the upside-down yacht, then swimming back into it again to recover the liferaft stuck down below

 May
Winner:MATEUSZ KUZNIEREWICZ (POL)

Two-time Finn Gold Cup winner, two-time Star World Champion, 1996 Olympic gold medallist also in the Finn. Even so few saw what was coming down the track at them in Miami at this year’s Bacardi Cup when, sailing in a typically competitive 66-boat fleet with his world champion crew Bruno Prada, the pair achieved a devastating scoreline with three wins and three 2nds, discarding one 2nd place to finish an unprecedented 15pt clear of the next boat

 June
Winner:MATIAS CAPIZZANO (ARG)

One the greatest of the many great photographers who we are privileged to work with at Seahorse, what is less well known is the enormous amount that Matias does to support sailing in South America, youth sailing especially, and most of all the Optimist class, of which his native country produces more than its fair share of champions… along with all the Optimist coaches who are flown around the world non-stop by grateful parents. Do visit his online gallery. It’s a nice ‘reminder’

 July
Winner:PHILIPPE GUIGNE (FRA)

A man who has done a lot to keep thousands of sailors sane during the lockdown months, Guigné released the first edition of Virtual Regatta in 2006 and has since been continuously developing it with a growing 10-man team based in Paris (PS he’s hiring). The numbers are staggering – two million registered players with 500,000 currently active and a total of over 4.5billion miles raced. Club racing, America’s Cup, round the world. Go and race where you want when you want

 August
Winner:J. MANUEL BALLASTERO (ARG)

‘Now I am calm,’ said the 47 year old Argentine navigator after sailing his 29-footer alone from Madeira to Mar del Plata at 24 hours’ notice when he heard the imminent lockdown would prevent him visiting his father and mother, aged 90 and 82 respectively. Ballastero suffered a big knockdown off Brazil; now he says that ‘I’ll buy three chickens, plant a garden and make it quietly through the winter with the old people. I want to be with my family…’

 September
Winner:IAN LIPINSKI (FRA)

Where to begin? Two wins in the Mini Transat, having won every race in the class over a period of 18 months, wins the TJV in the Class40 at a canter, sets a round Britain record, also at a canter, then heads to Cherbourg where he cleans up in the Dhream Cup. In the Minis, which to the outsider can look a bit chaotic, Lipinski raised the bar with his fastidious level of preparation. It is only a matter of time before he is on a good Imoca. At which point watch out, world

 October
Winner:JUAN HECTOR DOMATO (ARG)

A slightly belated happy 80th birthday to this innovative Argentinean yacht designer and successful race skipper. Domato is a legendary figure among his country’s sailors and may also be recalled by some of our more mature subscribers… Four Admiral’s Cups, four Bermuda Races, Commodores’ Cup winner in 1992, Transat winner, 3 Sardinia Cups, 6 Buenos Aires to Rios and class winner in the rough 1979 Fastnet on his Admiral’s Cupper Red Rock IV

 November
Winner:PETER HARKEN (USA)

The stories are legion, the jokes largely unrepeatable, family, friends and staff at Harken would go to the wall for him. The hounds that he encourages owners to bring to work adore him. As do so many others in the sport who grew up alongside him and Olaf. On the occasion of Peter handing over the reigns of the uniquely friendly and successful business he founded with Olaf 53 years ago there is no one our team has ever wanted to nominate more (PS Sorry, Peter!)

 December
Winner:TIMOTHY LONG (GBR)

Fifteen-year-old Tim Long now holds the title of the youngest person to sail solo around Britain – at the same time raising over £11,000 for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. Click here to donate! A nice symmetry since it was Ellen’s own round Britain solo adventure when she was 18 that kick-started what turned into a half-decent long-distance sailing career. Tim sailed 1,600nm on his way to undercutting the previous youngest lap of a then 17-year-old Tom Webb in 2011