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Olympic champion boardsailor Tom Ashley was named New Zealand sailor of the year at an awards function last night.

The reigning world champion cemented his place in yachting history when he won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in August, sailing a near perfect regatta and final medal winning race.

"Tom is a very special young New Zealander," Yachting New Zealand chief executive Des Brennan said.

"In the end he carried all of our Olympic dreams on his shoulders in Beijing, and delivered.

"Tom is gifted with intelligence, athleticism and endurance. His contribution to the sport in such a short space of time has been remarkable and he has a very bright future in front of him in whatever he decides to do. I hope that sailing will be included."

Peter Burling and Carl Evans once again won the young sailor of the year title.

The college students from Tauranga and Auckland are ranked fifth in the world in the men's 470 class and are consistent top-ten performers at international level.

They are also two-time winners of the Open 420 World Championships.

Burling and Evans are no longer sailing together but are both part of Yachting New Zealand Olympic development squad.

Carl remains in the 470, while Peter has migrated to the 49er, a boat more suited to his size and weight.