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Top sailors honored

NOV. 10 — The International Sailing Federation announced Tuesday that Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Mike Sanderson and Laser Radial champion Paige Railey are the winners of the 2006 Sailor of the Year Awards.

New Zealander Mike Sanderson was honored at the awards ceremony, held in Helsinki, Finland, for skippering ABN Amro One to victory in the Volvo Ocean Race this summer, a press release says. The team took top honors in six of the nine offshore legs and won the race with two legs left to complete.

“To lead a team like ABN Amro One was a dream come true,” Sanderson says in the release. “We had a really special relationship, we had a great team, we got on well and we loved doing what we were doing. The fact that we’ve been honored here by the world of sailing is very cool.”

Railey, who is from Florida, was recognized for winning several international regattas between Sept. 1, 2005 and Aug. 31, 2006, the release says. At age 19 this is the second consecutive year Railey was nominated for the award.

“This comes as a shock. I didn’t really think I had a chance to win,” Railey says in the release. “I was really excited just to be nominated again. So to win it, I can’t tell you how excited I am.”

More than 400 people from 45 countries attended the awards ceremony, according to the release. For a complete list of nominees and to read the full release, click here.

— Jason Fell