With two Olympic gold medals and an OBE already to her name The Wave, Muscat’s tactician Sarah Ayton has this week been awarded the highest recognition a sailor can achieve, the International Sailing Federation Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2015.
Picking up the prestigious award at a ceremony in Sanya, China, on Tuesday in recognition of her outstanding performance as the only female sailor on the Extreme Sailing Series™, Ayton was nominated alongside some of the sport’s most influential female sailors including British Volvo Ocean Race skipper Sam Davies, undefeated kiteboarding champion Elena Kalinina from Russia, Danish World Match Racing Tour champion Lotte Meldgaard and French RS:X Windsurfing champion Charline Picon.
Speaking shortly after arriving home in the UK, Ayton said: “I’m overwhelmed, it is such a huge honour to even be nominated for an award that so many inspirational women have won or been nominated for in the past. My heart was racing and when my name was called as the winner - I was more nervous than before the final race at the Olympic Games.”
As the only woman currently competing in the Series Ayton plays a key part in Leigh McMillan’s championship-leading crew on The Wave, Muscat. On board Ayton is involved in both sail handling and manoeuvres but also, most crucially, in calling tactics that have helped The Wave, Muscat to five regatta victories this season out of a possible seven.