The Rolex ISAF Sailors of the Year awards were announced during the 2011 International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico. With five male and four female nominees, the initial lists provided a who's who of sailing accomplishments in the last twelve months. Best of all, the winners represent a range of talents too.


Team Maclaren (Tunnicliffe/Vandemoer/Capozzi) hoot and holler their way downwind during the first event of the Women's Match Racing Olympic Trials. Photo: John Payne/USSailing

Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez were recognized for their prowess at two ends of the sailing spectrum. What other duo can say they’ve finished second in both a non-stop race around the world and a 49er Olympic Test Event—especially in the same season? These two are truly versatile sailors, and they obviously bring out the best in one another after twelve years as a team.


Iker and Xabi accept the award from afar, during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race)

It’s too bad Iker and Xabi weren’t on hand to celebrate with the crowd, but even their excuse for missing the party is impressive. They’re currently onboard Team Telefonica, battling toward Cape Town on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. In an