Well, that wasn’t very funny… Tom Kneen and his Plymouth team on their JPK 1180 Sunrise did a terrific job winning the Fastnet this year, with the bonus of breaking away from the fleet in light air on the way to Cherbourg and finishing 10 hours ahead of their nearest class rival, joy of joys. They did a nice job winning the Middle Sea Race too, or they thought they had. After that, well, a bunch of novice boys scouts would have made a better fist of sorting out the results


The GBR 49er sailed by Bithell and helm Dylan Fletcher snatched 2020 gold out from under the noses of huge pre-event favourites Burling and Tuke by successfully pulling off a most unlikely gybe in the final inches of the last race, filling a spinnaker that should never have filled in time let alone started to pull. A passionate supporter of national as well as Olympic-level dinghy sailing, 470 silver at London 2012 and gold in Japan. A nice way to bookend an outstanding career


Like father like daughter. Dominique Knuppel is another Tokyo 2020 athlete with family history, father Bernd racing at the Olympic regatta in both Seoul 1988 and LA in 1984. Knuppel is not nominated for her relatively modest finish in Enoshima, 18th in the Nacra 17s, but for the enormous amount of work she puts in at home in Uruguay encouraging and supporting young sailors new to the sport. Montevideo’s recruitment dynamo…


What hope is there for the rest of us? Is it something in the Kiwi drinking water? Team Davies, the old boy on the wire and 10-year-old Hugo on the stick, waltzed their way to this year’s Cherub title in New Zealand, ending the 10-race series with a perfect score (yes, they did discard a race win). To runners-up Brad and Merrick, commiserations, that’s some hot fleet you got going down there. Hell of a job, Hugo, hell of a job! (And to the Opti parents, maybe join the 21st century?)


Where to begin. We are still receiving nominations ranging from the entire Ukrainian sailing community to their 2020 Olympic Team. Others have been more personal which makes the task of choosing harder still. But Rodion Luka has accomplished great things in both the sport and the industry, creating some brilliant boats, winning an Olympic medal… and often being found at the centre of the best parties at popular regattas. So spirit and great achievement


Great to be nominating a US sailor again for a major oceanic achievement… it’s been too long. Finn recently completed what designer and racer Mervyn Owen described well as ‘one of the greatest feats of seamanship ever completed by an American sailor’. That achievement… battling his way the wrong way round Cape Horn to sail solo from New York City to San Francisco onboard a far from confidence-inspiring 36ft proa. The non-stop voyage took him 93 (long) days


Almost 1,000 sailors from 35 countries came to Italy for the 40th edition of the humbly titled ‘Lake Garda Optimist Meeting’ – aka the world’s largest single class regatta. Gold and silver fleets we know about, but gold, silver, bronze… and pearl!! In a finish that even Hollywood would have considered too over the top, the winner was this quiet young Ukrainian. If just a sliver of the joy that greeted his win reaches Kiev then Putin is in deep doo-doo


We have tried before, Ossie, really we have. Still a nipper at 68, the Olympic Soling bronze medallist of 1992 has amassed a huge tally of major national and international titles but always as a crew. Winning the 2022 RS Elite title marked his first ever in the back of the bus. Crewed by his son Tom and renowned one design sailor Geoff Carveth, Stewart took his big win by just 1pt ahead of old friend and rival Russell Peters who was taking time out from his own full-on Cape 31 campaign


St Francis Yacht Club rocks. Especially their youngsters, including Merritt Sellers who won the two-handed division in the Bayview-Mack Race sailing with her dad Scot. ‘We got ’em at night,’ said dad. ‘We went from 2nm back to 2nm in front.’ What had to be squeezed out of the pair was that Merritt was on the helm most of the race and all of the night. ‘I’m at a point as a sailor where I’m able to do this,’ said the 14-year-old. ‘Everything was pretty mellow… it feels pretty cool’


There were a lot of smiles among the Finn fleets of the world when the big man won this year’s Grand Grand Masters world title to add to back-to-back UK Masters titles. Greenwood has been a lifelong Finn enthusiast with more ‘stories’ to tell than most. He has also successfully dipped in and out of the Star Class with many of his contemporaries and continues with his regular Finn training – along with a lot of time spent encouraging younger newcomers to the sport in the UK


A kind of consolation prize this time… Peter Duncan did not win this year’s Etchells Worlds in Cowes, in fact he finished a (for him) lowly 4th sailing with now Cowes-local Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey and Mark Mendelblatt. However, a look at Duncan’s CV shows just how long overdue his nomination is: twice winner of the J/70 world title and currently the holder of both that and the Melges 24 title. But what seals it is Duncan’s 1st J/70 title, discarding a 3rd place in a 160-strong fleet.


Without performance sailing enthusiasts like Roberto Lacorte who are fortunate enough to have sufficient resources to follow their dreams we would still be back around the time of the first canting keels. America’s Cup figures like Matteo de Nora and Larry Ellison believed it when told their giant Cup boats could fly and barely 10 years later we take flying big boats for granted. So thank you, Roberto, and also for giving Seahorse such cool stuff to write about!