A crew who broke a 44-year drought for New Zealand and a couple of Kiwi sailors who helped Dongfeng Race Team win the closest Volvo Ocean Race in history were tonight named Orbit World Travel Sailors of the Year at the annual Volvo Yachting Excellence Awards.

It was a reflection of the quality of the performances that the judges couldn't separate the Honda Marine team who won the JJ Giltinan Trophy, considered the world championships of 18-foot skiff racing, and Dongfeng's Daryl Wislang and Stu Bannatyne for the main prize. They were presented with the Sir Bernard Fegusson Trophy at a gala dinner at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

David McDiarmid, Matthew Steven and Bradley Collins became the first New Zealand team to get their hands on the JJ Giltinan Trophy in 44 years when they triumphed by one point over another New Zealand crew, Maersk Line.

Wislang and Bannatyne played key roles in Dongfeng's dramatic victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. It was Wislang's second victory in the demanding round the world race and Bannatyne's fourth, which saw him become the most successful sailor in Volvo Ocean Race history.

"Congratulations to the Honda Marine team and Daryl and Stu," Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said. "Both were equally deserving of the top award.

"For the Honda Marine team to win something over our neighbours across the ditch who have dominated the class for 44 years was a remarkable result. And Daryl and Stus achievement is phenomenal. What they have done further demonstrates the high regard New Zealand sailors are held in overseas and that their contribution is key to winning."

The achievements of Honda Marine and Wislang and Bannatyne highlighted another successful year for sailing and boating in New Zealand.

Multiple world champions were crowned over the past 12 months, particularly at youth level, and many were recognised tonight with performance and youth performance awards.

As many as nine medals were won by youth sailors at world championships this year, including gold to Josh Armit in the Laser Radial at the 2018 youth sailing world championships in the US. His win was the first by a New Zealand sailor at the youth worlds since 2013 - and he backed it up with second at the Laser Radial youth world championships in Germany - and it saw him named Volvo Young Sailor of the Year.

The success at youth level saw the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team coaches of Matt Thomas, Geoff Woolley and Kate Ellingham named Nespresso Coach of the Year and young boardsailor Veerle ten Have, who collected silver in the girl's RS:X at the youth sailing world championships, picked up the Aon Emerging Talent Award.

"We're really optimistic for the future," Abercrombie said. "For the first time in over 10 years, we have seen a growth in the number of people who belong to yachting and boating clubs and this breaks a downward trend seen in other sports. We also had a number of new world champions and medallists this year which demonstrates the effectiveness of our strong youth and development pathways along with the high level of coaching being developed within our sport. We firmly believe this will transfer to future international success."

The Lawson's Dry Hills President's Award was won by Graham Catley, who played a critical role in bringing to fruition the new Royal Akarana Yacht Club facilities and supporting the rebirth of 18-foot skiff sailing in this country which, ultimately, helped bring about Honda Marine's win at the JJ Giltinan Trophy.

There were also a variety of service awards presented to recognise the outstanding work done by a handful of mostly volunteers who play an integral role in their clubs or organisations to ensure yachting and boating remains strong in this country.

2018 Volvo Yachting Excellence Award winners

Orbit World Travel Sailor of the Year: David McDiarmid, Matthew Steven, Bradley Collins (Honda Marine); Dary Wislang and Stu Bannatyne (Dongfeng Race Team)

Volvo Young Sailor of the Year: Josh Armit

Aon Emerging Talent: Veerle ten Have

Nespresso Coach of the Year: NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team coaches (Matt Thomas, Geoff Woolley and Kate Ellingham)

Zhik Official of the Year: Gerald Flynn

Lawsons Dry Hills Presidents Award: Graham Catley

Performance Awards

David McDiarmid, Matthew Steven, Bradley Collins - Royal Akarana Yacht Club

Anthony Leighs - Naval Point Club Lyttleton

Daryl Wislang - Worser Bay Boating Club

Stu Bannatyne - Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club

Sam Meech - Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club

Phil Robertson, William Tiller, Stewart Dodson - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Josh Porebski, Jack Simpson & David Hazard - Royal Akarana Yacht Club

Logan Dunning Beck & Oscar Gunn - Wakatere Boating Club & Murrays Bay Sailing Club

Youth Performance Awards

Francesco Kayrouz & Jackson Keon - Wakatere Boating Club & Murrays Bay Sailing Club

Seb Menzies & Blake McGlashan - Murrays Bay Sailing Club

Josh Armit - Murrays Bay Sailing Club

Veerle ten Have - Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club

Greta Stewart & Tom Fyfe - Murrays Bay Sailing Club

Seb Lardies & Scott McKenzie - Kohimarama Yacht Club

Crystal Sun & Olivia Hobbs - Kohimarama Yacht Club

Service Awards

Amanda Michel - Wakatere Boating Club

Trevor Knowles - Motueka Yacht & Cruising Club

Ron & Anne Finch - Waimakariri Sailing Club

Rob & Anne Daniel - Lake Mahinapua Aquatic Club

Graham Ashford - Pohara Boat Club

Jill Metz-Mayhead & Adrian Mayhead - Wairoa Yacht Club

Richie Williams - Bucklands Beach Yacht Club

Dennis Win - Nelson Yacht Club

Keith Fraser - Heretaunga Boating Club

Bryan Taylor - Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Cruising Award

Malcolm & Joan Dickson

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Yachting New Zealand