2018

January
Winner:FRANCOIS GABART (FRA)

What is there left to say about someone who has won every single major ocean race that he has entered to date, including the previous TJV, the Route du Rhum and the 2012 Vendée Globe. On his current solo round-the-world record attempt Gabart passed the Cape of Good Hope on his 100ft Ultim Macifmore than one hour more quickly than the 140ft Banque Pop V managed with 14 crew onboard during her successful Jules Verne run

February
Winner:JORG RIECHERS (GER)

The popular German slipped into 2nd place in the Mini Transat when it mattered, just a day out from the finish. No one was going to catch winner Ian Lipinski; ‘best of the rest’ was all that was realistically on offer, but after years of under-funded Class40 and Imoca campaigns Riekers had at last landed in a fleet where he can demonstrate his talent. With a little good fortune maybe he can even leverage this result into something bigger (again)

March
Winner:MONTEL FAGAN-JORDAN (GBR)

Seventy three per cent of pupils at London’s Greig City Academy are categorised as ‘disadvantaged’ so when sixth form head Jon Holt started a sailing programme in 2013 it was a brave move. Last year Montel’s young crew completed the Fastnet Race on the IOR racer Scaramouche. To get there Montel had delivered more than 50 fundraising talks… receiving support and mentoring along the way from his own sailing hero Lawrie Smith

April
Winner:GEORGE DAVID (USA)

Back in Antigua after taking the line honours and handicap monohull double in the Caribbean 600 must have felt a long way from floating around, probably terrified, in the Irish Sea after his previous maxi capsized in the 2011 Fastnet. Many others would have been put off by that experience – Larry Ellison gave up ocean racing after the stormy 1998 Hobart – but David was back at sea within months and soon hard at it again

May
Winner:STEVE BENJAMIN (USA)

Long overdue… and not just because he’s recently given young Trevor Davis (son of) a well-deserved break by signing him up to his Etchells programme… nice touch, though. While racking up a seemingly non-stop stream of major trophies, going all the way back to before his 470 Olympic silver medal at LA in 1984, Benj has been giving to the sport in every area from ocean racing administration to junior programmes to grand prix regattas