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2021

 January
Winner:JEAN LE CAM (FRA)

In the 1997 Whitbread it was Paul Cayard and his brutal talk of firehoses on deck that kept followers of the race locked onto the news coming off the eventual race winner. In this Vendée Globe that mantle has landed with King Jean, who introduced himself to thousands of new fans by hogging the limelight in the opening weeks of the race by refusing to lie down with the other old boats as he ‘should’. And then there came prose to turn Moitessier green with envy…

 February
Winner:NATASHA LAMBERT (GBR)

Currently mid-Atlantic with four other crew in her quest to become the first sailor to cross the pond using only breath and tongue to control her big 46ft cat. The 23-year-old suffers with athetoid cerebral palsy and has no use of her arms and legs. Lambert has already crossed the English Channel as well as a dauntingly impressive singlehanded lap of the Isle of Wight. In her free time… she is busy fundraising for her own sailing school as well as the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

 March
Winner:DAN BERNASCONI (NZL)

Somewhere along the line someone important will have said to Team New Zealand’s head of design ‘Is this thing actually going to work?’ on seeing a first impression of the AC75. While Guillaume Verdier and Benjamin Muyl had the original idea, based on a smaller boat they were working on, it was Bernasconi the Cup Defender turned to when it came to the heavy lifting. And all the time in the background were the murmurs of doubt coming from the Challenger of Record…

 April
Winner:KOJIRO SHIRAISHI (JPN)

Shiraishi started the Vendée Globe on a new design but with the stated intention to finish the race first and then see where he was in the final results. Such humility and openness are rare in big events that require very large sponsorship to take part in. The very open approach is partly to respect his mentor, the late BOC class winner and Tokyo taxi driver Yukoh Tada. Dr Mori, the founder of his sponsor DMG, also respected someone who told it straight. And Kojiro did finish

 May
Winner:RUFUS HENRY (NZL)

After a quick brainstorm we realised there is one ‘right’ nomination to represent the whole of Emirates Team New Zealand. Rufus is the younger brother of Te Rehutai grinder Finn Henry and is the team’s ‘Everywhere Man’, a job Rufus has carried out superbly (also scaring his chaseboat co-driver whenever he can). The America’s Cup prizegiving was the chance at last for the world to see that there is a lot more to this team than 11 extraordinary sailors (plus Grant Dalton!)

 June
Winner:BRANDON LINTON (USA)

Nominated to represent the whole amazing shore crew at American Magic for putting a completely broken example of the most complicated type of sailboat known to man back together in 11 days. They did it and had it been earlier in the competition when their rivals were less well-settled it may even have been enough to stay in the game. No matter, to get a smashed AC75 back out there and around the course at all in those two final very windy races was an epic achievement