As trimmer/helm on board Volvo Ocean Race vitoc, Dongfeng, Carolijn Brouwer became one of the first female sailors to win the round the world race.
Brouwer played a key part throughout the race, bringing significant experience to the team as a veteran of three Volvo Ocean Races, adding to a hat trick of Olympic campaigns. That the team clinched victory in The Hague was especially fitting for the Dutch mum of one, who says that in lifting the coveted trophy, she has fulfilled a lifelong ambition.
For the sixth consecutive year, Charlie Cumbley has dominated the Solo class circuit, once again winning the National Championship, this year from a hundred-plus fleet at Hayling Island Sailing Club, in addition to the Nations Cup in Garda where he discarded a second from a near-perfect scoreline of second places.
As a sailmaker for North Sails, Cumbley has also found successes elsewhere in the domestic traditional singlehanded classes, including the OK, Phantom and D-One, demonstrating his talent across the board.
Dee Caffari MBE
Dee Caffari, sole British skipper in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, returned to the pinnacle round the world event for the second time, but this time re-thinking her personal ambitions for this race. Not only did Caffari take on the role of skipper and mentor to the first mixed gender youth team in the race, at the same time she was racing Turn the Tide on Plastic as an ambassador for the United Nations Environment initiative, Clean Seas.
While she admits having perhaps missed out on sailing with others more experienced this time, she has certainly achieved new levels in passing on her own extensive knowledge to facilitate, enable and empower the next generation.
Phil Sharp smashed RORC’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race record, racing on board the Class 40 Imerys Clean Energy together with Julien Pulvé, Pablo Santurdé and Sam Matson to win the Class40 division and take overall race line honours. The team overcame extreme weather conditions and gear set-backs – including sailing the final 380nm without any wind instruments – to set a new 40ft circumnavigation world record of 8 days, 4 hours, 14 minutes and 49 seconds, with a top speed of 27 knots.
Adding to Sharp’s Class 40 National win last year, it’s an important step towards his ambition of sailing the first clean hydrogen vessel around the world, without fossil fuels, with a 2020 Vendée Globe bid in the pipeline.
Sophie Weguelin & Sophie Ainsworth
Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth scooped bronze in the 49erFX at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, just a month after also winning bronze at the European Championships. This double accolade is especially impressive considering the two only paired up in this class in April of this year – after Ainsworth competed in the class’s debut at the Rio Olympics, and while Weguelin had been committed to a top level 470 campaign.
They have rapidly proved their potential as they campaign towards the Tokyo Olympics with less than two years to go, surpassing the number one pairing of Saskia Tidey and Charlotte Dobson, and overcoming a number of personal challenges.
Wendy Tuck was the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. She crossed the finish of the year-long, 40,000nm race in Liverpool with her team of amateur, multinational sailors on board Sanya Serenity Coast this August to sail into the record books – after becoming the first female skipper to complete the race in the previous edition. Tuck started the final leg top of the leaderboard, but to clinch overall victory in the 12-strong fleet it came down to a one on one match with fellow female skipper 25 year old Nikki Henderson on Visit Seattle.
Tuck now has 11 Rolex Sydney-Hobart Races under her belt, with a second consecutive win in the latest edition (doubling as Race 5 of the Clipper race’s all-Australian leg) – and in doing so, achieved her personal goal of making the CYCA honours list.