NewsMarie Riou voted best sailor in the world

Marie Riou voted best sailor in the world

Marie Riou, flight controller for the France SailGP Team & 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year
Marie Riou, flight controller for the France SailGP Team & 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year

SailGP’s first female sailor, Marie Riou, 37, was voted the top sailor in the world today at the 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. Riou is part of the France SailGP Team, as announced last week in Marseille. SailGP is a new global racing league launched by Russell Coutts and Larry Ellison, setting sail in February 2019.

Together with Carolijn Brouwer (NED), one of her crewmates aboard Dongfeng Race Team, Riou won the "Golden Ball" of sailing thanks to their recent victory in the Volvo Ocean Race.

This is the supreme title for sailors, and it crowns what has been a remarkable year for Riou as she also prepares for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with crewmate and France SailGP Team Skipper Billy Besson.

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards started in 1994 and have crowned the planet’s top sailors from both offshore and inshore racing backgrounds. Among the incredibly accomplished list of winners since 1994 are Ellen MacArthur (2001/2005), Isabelle Autissier (1995) and Olympic champion Claire Leroy (2007).

Coutts – the CEO of SailGP – also won the award in 1995 and 2003.

Marie Riou: I’m very proud of this title, which is extremely important in the career of a sailor. I’m also proud to have secured it with my friend Carolijn. I share this victory with the whole of Dongfeng Race Team, as they deserve it as much as us. It’s been an incredible year. It gives me even greater confidence to tackle the latest adventure in the SailGP league. The boys will be forced to call me "Madame" from now on..."

Russell Coutts: "I’m delighted that Marie Riou has been rightfully recognized as one of the world’s top sailors. The World Sailor of the Year Award provides international recognition for Marie, who demonstrated real talent and commitment in one of the toughest races in the world, the Volvo Ocean Race. I’m very honoured to have Marie as a sailor within SailGP, which gathers some of the most exciting sailing talent in a nation-versus-nation format aboard the world’s fastest catamarans.”

Marie Riou accepting the 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year award in Sarasota, FL alongside fellow recipients Carolijn Brouwer (NED) and Pavlos Kontides (CYP).
Marie Riou accepting the 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year award in Sarasota, FL alongside fellow recipients Carolijn Brouwer (NED) and Pavlos Kontides (CYP).