Peter Burling found out he made New Zealand sailing history in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean via an email from his parents.

The successful Team New Zealand skipper was yesterday named World Sailor of the Year award for a second time, following a year where he played a key role in winning the America's Cup.

It follows his victory in 2015, which he claimed alongside Kiwi 49er teammate Blair Tuke, putting Burling alongside Sir Russell Coutts as New Zealand sailors to have won the award more than once.

Burling is currently racing in the Volvo Ocean Race with Team Brunel and was off the coast of northern Africa when he found out from a message from his parents which read "Huge congrats mate, world sailor of the year! Well-deserved. Love you heaps. Hope all going well for you. Mum and Dad".

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"It's awesome. Really cool year up in Bermuda," Burling said.

"It's just awesome to get that accolade but we're pushing hard here. Struggling a bit at the moment but that's alright.

At the end of the video, posted by Team Brunel, Oracle Team USA's wing trimmer Kyle Langford, who lost the America's Cup to Burling and Team New Zealand, said he was thrilled for his teammate in a tongue and cheek manner.

Langford later paid tribute to Burling alongside several of his teammates in a separate video posted on the team's social media channels.

"To win world sailor of the year two times obviously shows he's a pretty good sailor, up against the best of the best, and to win it in different disciplines - the America's Cup and the Olympics is seriously impressive," said Langford.

Navigator Andrew Cape said having Burling on board was "like having Mick Jagger in your garage band".


Team Brunel are currently fifth in the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Lisbon to Cape Town.

Burling beat out Thomas Coville, Armel Le Cleac'h and Team New Zealand teammate, Australian skipper Glenn Ashby, for the award.

Dutch sailor Marit Bouwmeester took out the women's award.