Peter Burling cool as ice as parents break world sailor of the year news to him during round the world race

Peter Burling's parents broke the news of his world sailor of the year award win as he was ploughing down the Atlantic Ocean.

Burling was confirmed as the sport's best for a second time in three years on the back of his stunning America's Cup debut where he helmed Team New Zealand's winning boat in Bermuda.

Burling couldn't be at the glitzy awards ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on Wednesday (NZT).

Instead he woke to the news from three hours sleep to start a watch on his Volvo Ocean Race boat Team Brunel as they battled to mix it with the leaders on the second leg.

* Where the Team NZ cyclors are now
Burling braces for mohawk cut
Burling named world sailor of 2017 

Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or perhaps it was just the usually under-stated Burling, but he took the award with little fanfare, seemingly more interested in keeping his eye on the waters ahead.

"Huge congrats mate, world sailor of the year! Well-deserved. Love you heaps. Hope all going well for you. Mum and Dad," read the email to Burling from his proud parents.

"It's awesome," Burling said with a hint of a blush as his team-mates relayed the message to him.

"It has been a really cool year up in Bermuda. It's awesome to get that accolade. But we are just pushing hard here. We're struggling a bit at the moment but that's all right.

"I'm sure my parents have ben following it and are pretty stoked to get a message through.

"Thanks for all the support. Obviously it's been an amazing year. There are so many people that have helped us and the team out along the way.

"I'm just a small part of a 90-person team and it's just awesome what Team New Zealand managed to ahcieve."

Burling's team-mate on Team Brunel and a rival from Oracle Team USA, Australian Kyle Langford, couldn't resist a cheeky dig.

"I'm absolutely thrilled for him, I couldn't be happier," Langford said as he was on the wheel of the VOR boat.

Burling beat Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby for the award with France's Thomas Coville, the singlehanded round the world record holder, and fellow Frenchman Armel Le Cleac'h, the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe winner, the other men's finalists.

Marit Bouwmeester (NED), the 2017 Laser Radial world champion was named women's sailor of the year.

Burling faces a testing time on the latest VOR leg in an unaccustomed game of catch-up.

Team Brunel were just over over 50 miles behind the leaders Vestas 11th Hour Racing on the slog to Cape Town when the latest position reports came in on Thursday (NZT).

Burling's crew had gambled on taking a more westerly route and were looking for that to pay dividends as they head straight for the Cape Verde Islands some 600 miles west of Senegal.

"We've finally gybed over onto what we think might be our final gybe, so if that's the case it'll be 10 days without another gybe," skipper Bouwe Bekking said.

"But it's very shifty so who knows. We are the most western boat so we'll see how it pans out. They [the leading boats] gybed early and gained because they are sailing to the south, but it's all about patience now."

Mapfre, the Spanish boat that has Burling's good mate Blair Tuke on board, were lying third, only 2.4 miles behind the leaders.

 - Stuff