Top 24 Most Popular Sailing Players in New Zealand

Matt Reynolds

New Zealand is well known for its rich sailing history, and has been home to some of the best sailing players the world has ever seen.

From Olympic medallists like Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, to America’s Cup winners like Russell Coutts and Dean Barker, New Zealand’s sailing talent is second to none.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the greatest sailing players in New Zealand, and why they have made such a huge impact on the sport.

1. Jo Aleh

Joanna Ayela Aleh MNZM is a highly accomplished New Zealand sailor. She has achieved a great deal of success in her sailing career, having been crowned a national champion, a former world champion, and most notably, an Olympic gold medallist.

Aleh competes in the two-woman 470 dinghy, an agile and fast type of sailing craft. This double-handed monohull planing dinghy is designed with a centreboard, a Bermuda rig, centre sheeting and a length overall of 4.70 metres.

The 470 dinghy has become increasingly popular over the years and has been used in a variety of sailing competitions, including the Olympics. Aleh’s success in the 470 dinghy has been a source of immense pride for the people of New Zealand.

2. Molly Meech

Molly Meech is a successful New Zealand sailor who has achieved a great deal in her career. In 2013, Meech won the 49er FX World Championship and then went on to win a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games with her partner, Alex Maloney.

The pair also competed in the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup, where they achieved impressive results. They won the women’s 49er FX competition in Miami and came in second place in Weymouth.

This goes to show that Meech and Maloney are a formidable team and they have had much success in international sailing competitions.

3. Alexandra Maloney

Alexandra Maria Maloney is a New Zealand sailor who has achieved many accomplishments in her career. She is the sister of Andy Maloney, who is also a sailor. In 2007, Alexandra won a World Championship medal in the Optimist class in Cagliari, Italy.

This was only the beginning of her success in sailing, as she went on to win the 2013 49er FX World Championship. Alexandra’s greatest achievement in sailing came in 2016, when she won a silver medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro alongside her teammate Molly Meech.

This was a remarkable feat, and it showed Alexandra’s dedication and skill as a sailor. Alexandra’s success in sailing has made her a role model and inspiration for aspiring sailors in New Zealand, and her accomplishments have made her a household name.

4. Peter Burling

Peter Burling MNZM is a highly decorated New Zealand sailor. He is best known for winning the 2021 America’s Cup as a skipper and helmsman of Team New Zealand, as well as winning the 2017 America’s Cup as the helmsman of the same team.

His success in the America’s Cup is matched by his Olympic success, having won a gold medal in the 49er class at the 2016 games, and silver medals in the 2012 and 2020 Olympics.

Burling’s achievements have earned him recognition from the New Zealand government, making him a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2020. His success in sailing has made him a national hero in New Zealand, and an inspiration to many aspiring sailors.

5. Sam Meech

Sam Meech is a world-renowned sailor from New Zealand. He achieved significant success in the 2016 Summer Olympics, where he earned a bronze medal in sailing.

This was a defining moment for Meech, who had previously come close to achieving Olympic glory in 2012, but ultimately fell short. Meech is an accomplished sailor who has been successful in various competitions over the years.

He first began sailing when he was young, and has since developed a passion and talent for the sport.

He was part of the New Zealand Olympic sailing team since 2012 and represented his country in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, Meech competed in the Men’s Laser Class and was among the frontrunners throughout the entire event.

He was able to hold off the competition and finished in third place, winning the bronze medal.

This was a huge accomplishment for Meech and he was praised for his hard work and dedication to the sport. Meech’s achievement in the 2016 Summer Olympics is a testament to his dedication and skill as a sailor.

He has continued to compete in various sailing events around the world and is an inspiration to many aspiring sailors. His accomplishments have been an inspiration to the sailing community and have shown that dedication and hard work can pay off.

6. Micah Wilkinson

Micah Cornwallace Wilkinson is a passionate sailor from New Zealand. He recently achieved a remarkable feat when he competed in the Multihull – Nacra 17 event at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Representing his country, Micah put his skills and extensive experience to the test in this competitive competition. He was accompanied in the event by Erica Dawson, who showed immense courage and enthusiasm to make it to the Olympics in the first place.

Together, the duo was able to make a name for themselves, as well as New Zealand, in the international sailing community.

7. Peter Mander

Peter Garth Mander OBE was a renowned New Zealand yachtsman who is best known for winning an Olympic gold medal. Mander and his sailing partner Jack Cropp achieved this remarkable feat during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

The two men sailed together in the 12 m² Sharpie class event and were triumphant in their pursuit of the gold medal. Mander was an experienced sailor who had competed in many events before the Olympics.

He was a member of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron where he had achieved many successes, including the Yachting World Championship in 1955.

He was also a two-time winner of the New Zealand National Championship in the same class. Mander’s Olympic success marked the beginning of a long and successful yachting career.

He continued to compete in many events over the next few years, including the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1974.

He also worked as a sailing coach, passing on his knowledge and expertise to the next generation of sailors. In 2000, Mander was awarded an OBE for his services to the sport of yachting.

He was a respected figure in the sailing community, and his achievements will be remembered for many years to come.

8. Blair Tuke

Andrew Blair Tuke MNZM is a highly accomplished New Zealand sailor who has achieved great success at the international level. In 2021, he was part of the New Zealand team that won the prestigious America’s Cup in Auckland.

He was also part of the same team that won the 2017 version of the same event, which was held in Bermuda.

His success in the sailing world is further highlighted by his gold medal win in the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 49er class, and his silver medal win in the same event in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Tuke’s achievements in sailing are a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport. He is an inspiration to aspiring sailors everywhere and a true example of how hard work and commitment can lead to success.

9. Josh Junior

Josh Junior is a highly accomplished sailor from New Zealand. He is an Olympic level sailor and has achieved success in many international sailing competitions. His successes have led to him representing New Zealand in numerous international sailing regattas.

He has represented New Zealand in the world championships, in the Pan Am Games, and in the Olympics. Josh Junior is an experienced sailor and has been competing on the international circuit for many years.

He has a long list of awards and achievements, which include a bronze medal from the 2012 Summer Olympics, multiple world sailing titles, and numerous top-five finishes at international events.

He is also a member of the New Zealand Sailing Team. Josh Junior’s passion for sailing began at an early age. He has a natural talent for the sport and his dedication to practice and training has enabled him to develop his skills to an elite level.

He is highly respected in the international sailing community and has achieved many successes throughout his sailing career. Josh Junior is a great role model for aspiring sailors in New Zealand.

His commitment to the sport and his successes are an inspiration to young sailors in the country. He is a great example of what is possible with dedication and hard work. Josh Junior’s story is a great reminder of the power of determination and resilience.

10. Olivia Powrie

Olivia Elizabeth “Polly” Powrie MNZM is an accomplished New Zealand sailor. She has achieved incredible success in the sailing world, including winning both Olympic and world championship titles in the 470 class. Additionally, she is a former 420 world champion.

This shows that she is not only an experienced sailor, but also a highly decorated one. Polly Powrie’s career as a sailor has been highly impressive.

She has won numerous titles and medals over the years, and she has competed in some of the most notable sailing competitions in the world. Her Olympic and world championship wins in the 470 class demonstrate her immense talent and dedication to her sport.

Furthermore, her former 420 world championship title is a testament to her ability to succeed in a variety of sailing events. Polly Powrie is a true inspiration to aspiring sailors everywhere.

She has proven that it is possible to achieve success in the sport, even at the highest level. Her accomplishments have been recognized by the New Zealand government, who awarded her the MNZM (Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for her contributions to sailing.

This honor is a fitting recognition of Polly Powrie’s achievements, and serves as a source of motivation for all those who aspire to follow in her footsteps.

11. Rex Sellers

Rex Samuel Sellers MNZM is an accomplished yachtman from New Zealand. He made history in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he won a gold medal in the Tornado class, alongside his sailing partner Chris Timms.

Four years later, Sellers and Timms again represented New Zealand in the Tornado class, this time in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul. Despite their best efforts, they only managed to win a silver medal.

This remarkable feat of winning a gold and silver medal in consecutive Olympic Games established Rex Samuel Sellers MNZM as an icon of the sailing world. His skill and dedication to the sport earned him the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.

He continues to be an inspiration to sailors everywhere.

12. Barbara Kendall

Barbara Anne Kendall is an inspiring figure in New Zealand’s Olympic history. She is a former boardsailor who achieved a remarkable feat by competing in five Summer Olympic Games.

She was the first New Zealander to compete in five Olympic Games, and her impressive results saw her win a total of three medals: a gold, silver, and bronze.

Kendall’s Olympic success is even more remarkable when you consider the fact that she had to battle against the odds to become a world class boardsailor. Despite a lack of financial resources, she still managed to make it to the Olympics and proudly represent her country.

She would go on to become one of the most successful boardsailors in the world, and her accomplishments would eventually earn her the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM), and the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Kendall’s incredible achievements are a testament to her hard work and dedication. She is a true inspiration to all aspiring athletes, showing that no matter the odds, it is possible to reach the highest level in sport.

Her Olympic medals serve as a reminder of the impact she had on the sporting world, and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

13. Russell Coutts

Sir Russell Coutts is one of the most accomplished figures in the sailing world.

Born in New Zealand, he is a world champion yachtsman and a highly decorated sportsman. Coutts earned his first world championship title in 1983, when he won the Finn World Championships in Acapulco, Mexico.

Since then, he has gone on to win a total of five world championship titles in different sailing classes.

His most recent world championship title was won in 2018, when he won the Moth World Championships in Carnac, France. Coutts has also achieved notable success in the America’s Cup.

He was the skipper of the Swiss-owned Alinghi Team during their successful defense of the America’s Cup in 2003.

He also skippered the Oracle Team USA to two consecutive America’s Cup titles in the years 2013 and 2017. In recognition of his success, Coutts has been awarded numerous honors.

He was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007. He has also been inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, the International Sailing Hall of Fame, and the New Zealand Hall of Fame.

14. Murray Ross

Murray Ross is a talented and accomplished sailor from New Zealand. He is also a renowned yacht designer.

Ross has a remarkable track record in sailing competitions, having competed at the Summer Olympics and in the Whitbread Around the World race. At the 1971 Flying Dutchman World Championships, Ross and his partner Jock Bilger sailed a Flying Dutchman, and they came in second place.

This impressive performance earned Ross the opportunity to sail at the 1972 Olympics. At the Olympics, Ross placed ninth, a remarkable achievement given the high level of competition. Murray Ross is a highly respected sailor and yacht designer.

His impressive performances at the Flying Dutchman World Championships and the 1972 Summer Olympics are a testament to his skill and determination. He is a true master of the sea and a role model for aspiring sailors..

15. Roderick Hopkins Davis

Roderick Hopkins Davis is a former competitive sailor who achieved remarkable success. He won Olympic medals for two countries, the United States and Canada. He began his sailing career as a member of the U.S.

team, and represented the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. At the Olympics, he was part of the Soling class team alongside Robert Haines and Edward Trevelyan.

The team went on to win the gold medal, propelling Roderick Hopkins Davis to international fame. After the Olympics, he continued to compete in sailing competitions, eventually representing the Canadian team and winning the silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

His incredible achievements earned him a place of honor in the annals of sailing history.

16. Jack Cropp

John Urquhart Cropp was a prominent yachtsman from New Zealand. He achieved an impressive feat alongside Peter Mander when they won the Sharpie class at the 1956 Olympics.

This was a remarkable accomplishment, as Cropp and Mander were the first sailors from New Zealand to ever compete in the Olympics. This impressive win was a sign of the burgeoning success of sailing in New Zealand and a testament to the skill of Cropp and Mander.

Cropp and Mander’s Olympic success was a defining moment in the history of New Zealand sailing. The two sailors helped to elevate the sport in their country, as they were the first to represent their nation on the world stage.

Their success was a source of pride and inspiration for other sailors in New Zealand, showing that they could achieve greatness if they put in the hard work and dedication. Cropp and Mander’s win at the 1956 Olympics was a significant milestone for New Zealand sailing.

It set the stage for future success, and showed that sailors from New Zealand could compete on an international level. Their victory was a testament to their skill and dedication, and paved the way for more sailors from New Zealand to compete and excel at Olympic events.

This remarkable accomplishment by Cropp and Mander will always be remembered as a defining moment in the history of New Zealand sailing.

17. Helmer Pedersen

Helmer Orlaf Leif Pedersen was a world-class yachtsman who achieved great success in his field. A native of New Zealand, he was a gold medalist at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he won the Flying Dutchman class alongside Earle Wells.

Pedersen had previously been the reserve for the same class at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, and his experience in that competition certainly served him well four years later.

His success in Tokyo cemented his place among the pantheon of Olympic greats, and he will always be remembered as a yachting legend.

18. Earle Wells

Earle Leonard Wells was a talented athlete from Auckland, New Zealand. He won an Olympic gold medal in yachting in 1964, sailing with Helmer Pedersen in the Flying Dutchman class at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Wells was born in Auckland in October 1933.

In addition to his success in sailing, he was also a rower who narrowly missed out on selection for the 1960 Summer Olympics. His coxed four had trained hard and were close to making the final cut, but ultimately they were not selected to represent New Zealand in Rome.

Despite this disappointment, Wells persevered and was ultimately successful in winning the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo four years later. He was a true champion and a great example of the power of determination and hard work.

19. Chris Timms

Christopher Ian Timms was an accomplished yachtsman from New Zealand. He achieved international recognition in 1984 when he won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Four years later, in 1988, he earned a silver medal at the Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Timms was an avid aviator and pilot and his life was tragically cut short in 2004 when the aircraft he was flying crashed into the Firth of Thames. This accident caused his untimely death.

Timms was a passionate and dedicated athlete who left an indelible mark on the world of sailing. He was an inspiration to many in his native New Zealand, and his medals serve as a reminder of his remarkable achievements.

The sailing world will never forget the legacy of Christopher Ian Timms.

20. Andy Maloney

Andrew Maloney is a professional sailor from New Zealand. He was born on the 2nd of June, 1990. He is considered one of the top sailors in his field and is highly experienced. Maloney has been sailing since a young age and has competed in many international sailing competitions.

He has achieved many successes, including wins in the 2013 and 2014 Volvo Ocean Race. He has also competed in the World Match Racing Championships, where he placed fourth in the 2012-13 season. Maloney is a highly respected sailor and has earned numerous awards and accolades.

He was named New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Year in 2015 for his achievements in sailing. He has also been the recipient of the Team NZ Endeavour Trophy for his efforts in the Volvo Ocean Race. Maloney continues to sail competitively and is a leader in the sailing community.

He is a passionate and dedicated sailor and is committed to doing his best. He is an inspiration to other sailors and is a great example of what hard work and dedication can achieve.

21. Chris Dickson

Christopher Stuart Dickson MBE is a highly accomplished sailor from New Zealand. His sailing career has been filled with success, including becoming the world youth champion three years in a row.

These accomplishments earned him the title of world match race champion, a title he held for three consecutive years. Dickson began sailing at a young age and competed in many events throughout his youth.

He first achieved international success when he became the world youth champion in 2005. He was the first sailor from New Zealand to win the title, and he repeated the feat in 2006 and 2007. His success in youth sailing led to even greater accomplishments in match racing.

In 2008, he won the world match race championship.

He repeated the feat in 2009 and 2010, becoming the first sailor to win the title three times. Dickson’s impressive sailing career was recognized in 2011 when he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to sailing.

He is an excellent example of how hard work and dedication can pay off in the sport of sailing.

22. Dean Barker

Dean Raymond Barker is a famous New Zealand yachtsman who has achieved international recognition for his performance in America’s Cup yacht races.

Barker began his sailing career in his home country, where he was part of the winning team in the New Zealand National Championship in 1984.

He then went on to compete in the 1987 America’s Cup challenge, where his team came in second.In 1992, Barker was part of the team that won the America’s Cup for New Zealand, becoming the first team from outside the United States to do so.

Since then, he has been a part of several other America’s Cup teams, including Team New Zealand’s successful 2003 campaign.

His name has become synonymous with the sport of sailing and he has become a prominent ambassador for the sport. Barker continues to be active in the sailing world both on and off the water. In 2016, he was appointed the Commodore of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

He is also a member of the International Sailing Federation, and is a much sought-after public speaker. Dean Raymond Barker is an icon of the yachting world, and his accomplishments in the America’s Cup have put him in the spotlight internationally.

23. Glenn Ashby

Glenn Thomas Ashby MNZM is an accomplished Australian sailor from Strathfieldsaye, a suburb of Bendigo, Victoria. He has competed in numerous tournaments over the years and has achieved great success.

Ashby is a multiple multihull world champion, having won multiple world championships in sailing events involving multihulls.

His achievements have been recognized in his home country, where he has been appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 for his contribution to the sport. He has also been honored with the Australia Sports Medal for his sporting achievements.

Ashby is an inspiration for many aspiring sailors, having established himself as one of the top sailors in the world. He is a living example of dedication and perseverance, which have been instrumental in his success.

24. Nathan Outteridge

Nathan James Outteridge OAM is an accomplished sailor from Australia. He has been involved in sailing for many years and has achieved considerable success. Outteridge is a resident of Lake Macquarie, a large coastal lake located in the state of New South Wales.

He is a four-time World Champion and three-time Olympic medallist, and in 2018 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his outstanding service to sailing. Outteridge is a highly respected sailor, both in Australia and internationally.

He is an inspirational role model for young sailors and is an advocate for the sport of sailing. His achievements have made him an invaluable member of the Australian sailing community and his commitment to the sport will continue to raise the profile of sailing in Australia.


New Zealand has some of the best sailing players in the world and is known for its strong sailing culture. The country boasts a number of world-renowned sailors, from Olympic champions to America’s Cup holders.

New Zealand’s sailing scene is constantly evolving and the nation’s sailors are always striving to be at the top of their game. With its excellent infrastructure and resources, New Zealand is an ideal place for aspiring sailors to learn and develop their skills.

With its combination of strong sailing culture and excellent resources, New Zealand is a great place to be a sailor.

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Matt Reynolds

As a sports journalist and news reporter, my passion lies in covering Olympic sports and bringing the excitement of these events to readers around the world. With extensive experience in sports reporting, I have developed a deep understanding of the intricacies and dynamics of various Olympic disciplines. My goal as a journalist is to provide accurate, insightful, and engaging coverage of Olympic sports. From capturing the triumphs and challenges of athletes to analyzing their performances and strategies, I strive to deliver comprehensive stories that resonate with sports enthusiasts. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, I aim to go beyond mere reporting by delving into the human stories behind the athletes. By highlighting their journeys, sacrifices, and aspirations, I seek to create meaningful connections between readers and the world of Olympic sports. Whether it's track and field, swimming, gymnastics, or any other Olympic sport, I am dedicated to delivering timely news updates, captivating features, and thought-provoking analysis. Through my writing, I aim to inspire readers with the incredible feats accomplished by athletes on the global stage. Join me on this exhilarating journey as we dive into the world of Olympic sports together. Let's celebrate athleticism at its finest while uncovering compelling stories that showcase both triumphs and tribulations. Together, we can experience firsthand the thrill of sporting excellence in all its glory through my dedicated coverage as a passionate sports journalist and news reporter specializing in Olympic sports.