Sarah Ayton

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Sarah Ayton
Personal information
Born (1980-04-09) 9 April 1980 (age 43)
Ashford, Surrey, England
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens Yngling class
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing Yngling class
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 Cascais Yngling
Gold medal – first place 2008 Miami Yngling
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2008 Blanes Yngling

Sarah Lianne Ayton OBE (born 9 April 1980 in Ashford, Surrey) is an English former professional sailor.

She won a gold medal in the Yngling sailing class in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens,[1] together with Shirley Robertson and Sarah Webb, and another gold medal in the Yngling sailing class in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, together with Pippa Wilson and Sarah Webb.

She retired from competitive sailing in 2011, citing the competing demands of motherhood.[2]

In 2015 Ayton was the winner of the Female World Sailor of the Year Awards - "the highest award a sailor can receive in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the world of sailing".[3][4]

Having been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2005 New Year Honours, Ayton was promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.[5][6] She is divorced from windsurfer Nick Dempsey. Together, they have two sons Thomas-Flynn, who was born on 28 June 2009 and Oscar-Flynn George who was born on 7 March 2012. Sarah married Ashley Harris 12 February 2022

Ayton is a patron of Meningitis UK. Ayton battled with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia in 1995, when she was aged 14. In 2015 she visited Bosham sailing club, to present prizes at the racing prizegiving.

She retains an active interest in sport, including amateur horse racing.[7]


  1. ^ Sarah Ayton at at the Wayback Machine (archived 4 September 2004)
  2. ^ "Double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton quits". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Sarah Ayton World Sailor of the year". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Sailing, saddling up and sacrifice". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  5. ^ "New Year Honours--United Kingdom", The London Gazette of Thursday 30 December 2004 Supplement No. 1; accessed 28 August 2022.
  6. ^ "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 9.
  7. ^ "Sarah Ayton: Double Olympic sailing champion to ride amateur race at Goodwood". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 August 2017.

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