Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze win ISAF Rolex World Sailor of Year
Former 420 sailors and 2009 ISAF Youth Sailing World Champions in the 420 Class Grael and Kunze wrapped up a spectacular year by winning the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards on 4 November in Palma, Mallorca.
Despite their young age (both are 23) this year's nomination of Brazilians Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze was no surprise. They have been leading lights in the 49erFX class all season, regularly topping the podium in ISAF Sailing World Cup regattas and holding the #1 spot in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. The pair also exhibit a never say die characteristic, proven by their recent victory at the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. Playing catch up throughout the series in the pursuit of their first world title, Grael and Kunze kept going to the very end, finally overtaking the championship leaders on the penultimate upwind leg of the final race.
Grael and Kunze mark the fourth time Brazil has tasted success at the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards following Torben Grael (the father of Martine - 2009), and Robert Scheidt (2001 & 2004).
Martine Grael, "This prize is the recognition for a marvellous year. We are very happy and it's really hard for me to find the words to express our feelings."
Kahena Kunze, "We're very happy. Just by being part of this ceremony, surrounded by all these people, it would have made our night. This prize means a lot, and we cannot take the smile off our faces."
James Spithill (AUS) won the male ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.