Brad Jackson and Stu Bannatyne, watch captains on Ericsson 4, the winner of the 2008-09 race, have been jointly named Sailor of the Year at the 2009 Yachting New Zealand Excellence Awards.
Jackson and Bannatyne, two of the world's most successful ocean racers, join an elite group of three, joining another New Zealander Mark Christensen as the only sailors to have won the Whitbread/Volvo three times.
Jackson and Bannatyne sailed on New Zealand Endeavour in the 1993-94 winning the maxi class. In the 2001-02 race, Bannatyne, collected his second win in three races as a member of the illbruck crew. Jackson made it two as watch captain on the all-conquering ABN AMRO ONE in the 2005-06. This latest win now means both Jackson and Bannatyne have three wins each, from five races.
"We think that Brad and Stuart's longevity in the sport, and the significant input that they have had in the repeated successes of their teams, is highly admirable," said Yachting New Zealand Chief Executive Des Brennan. "There are very few yachtsmen who have stood the test of time as this pair have done."
Jackson and Bannatyne had a major influence on the success of the Ericsson 4 campaign even before the race started, making key decisions during the build-up before the race and prior to replacement skipper Torben Grael's arrival. Grael assumed the reins from original skipper John Kostecki.
The pair have joined Sir Peter Blake (1982 and 1989, and in 2001 with the Steinlager 2 crew), Grant Dalton (2001), and Mike Sanderson (2006) in winning the Sir Bernard Fergusson trophy for New Zealand Sailor of the Year.