The YJA is readily in evidence at the Southampton International Boat Show this week.
Anyone viting the Show’s media centre cannot escape this greeting.
Words by Mark Jardine
The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year Awards were presented during a Gala Dinner at the Grand Café Southampton on September 13, following on from Press Day at the Southampton International Boat Show. The event drew together the great and the good of the marine world, distinguished guests and many previous winners of the awards.
The evening started with drinks in the Grand Lobby, followed by the 160 guests being invited through to the Grand Café to enjoy a sumptuous meal, leading into the awards themselves.
Guest presenter for the evening was triple round the world yachtsman and the star of Channel 4’s ‘The Mutiny’ Conrad Humphreys with the 2018 winners’ invited to the stage to present the main awards during coffee.
First up to the stage to join Conrad were Clifford Webb, Chairman and Mark Jardine, Vice Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association, and Keith Lovett from the evening’s hosts, MS Amlin Boat Insurance. Cliff talked about the new format for the awards, followed by Keith on MS Amlin’s support of the event and people involved in boating, then Mark described the growth and future direction of the YJA.
Then it was on to the awards themselves, starting with the MS Amlin Seamanship Award, presented by 2018 winner Sean Rose. The trophy, previously awarded for acts of seamanship in the Round the Island Race, has been extended worldwide in 2019, this year being presented to Roy Disney, the owner of Pyewacket who rescued the team on John Sangmeister’s Santa Cruz 70 OEX during July’s Transpac 50 Race after they were forced to abandon ship due to water ingress from damage to their rudder post.
Roy Disney, who travelled over (from where) especially for the evening said:
“Offshore sailing is a lonely sport ultimately. People see you at the start and the finish and they don’t see what happens in the middle. This event and these awards make people aware beyond the sailors themselves, which is important. It’s critically important that we all watch out for each other and we all know in the back of our heads that things like that can happen. We didn’t give what we did in the situation a second thought, and I’m sure that if it was the other way around, that boat and team would have done the same for us. When we go out to sea, we want to have that thought in the front of our head.”
Next up was the YJA MS Amlin Young Blogger of the Year Award which was presented to Alex Rabbitt, who produced a fabulous short video story, filmed over a year, which is about the experience a group of youngsters went through in passing their sailing instructor course in Manchester, called ‘Journey to Instructor’.
Alex described creating his blog and reaction on winning the prize of a GoPro action camera and membership of the YJA:
Moving on to the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019, video highlights were shown on the big screen to the guests:
Conrad invited the 2018 winner Emily Mueller to the stage to open the envelope and reveal the winner as Matilda Nicholls. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly given her passion for sailing, Matilda was away training on Lake Garda, so her father Ben came up to the stage and accepted the award on her behalf.
The final award of the evening was the big one – the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year 2019. Initiated in 1955 by the late Sir Max Aitken, a Battle of Britain spitfire Pilot and chairman of Express newspapers. Again, video highlights were shared with the audience:
In 2018 the vote was split between two great sailors from different generations –
Tracy Edwards and Nikki Henderson – the first time this has happened in the history of the event. Conrad invited Nikki to the stage to present the award to Lucy MacGregor – four-time winner of the Women’s Match Racing World Championship after her victory at the Lysekil Women’s Match in August. ‘Team Mac’ took the final 3-0 against French skipper Claire Leroy.
Guests then socialised, celebrated and danced well into the small hours.
YJA Chairman Clifford Webb said of the evening:
“It’s been a wonderful event and marvellous to see past winners, key members of the marine industry, many YJA members of course and the guests of MS Amlin, who I hope have enjoyed the evening. It has been a year of transition for the Yachting Journalists’ Association and I think it’s onwards and upwards from here!”
MS Amlin’s Paul Knox-Johnston, who was instrumental in the organisation of the evening said:
“It’s been a fantastic occasion, we’ve seen so many famous names of the yachting world in one room. A superb awards ceremony with entertaining and enlightening speeches, a great atmosphere throughout – what has there been not to like about the evening? I’m hoping this can continue for many years to come.”
Guest presenter Conrad Humphreys added:
“It’s been incredible. What a privilege to be standing in front of so many friends, esteemed colleagues and legendary sailors. In many ways I was quite surprised to be asked and what a thrill, honour and challenge it has been, as being in front of your peers in this environment is tough. The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year trophy is regarded as iconic to win. If you look at who has won it over the years, and then you look out and see those names around you, it’s a unique experience.”
MS Amlin’s Paul Knox-Johnson said:
“With the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year I have the connection and affinity with it as my uncle has won it four times, and it is the pinnacle, the Oscar of the yachting world – the one everyone wants to win. From MS Amlin’s point of view, this is an event we’re hugely proud to be part of. It’s been great to see everyone here having a good time, enjoying their food and their evening. What a great night!”
Amongst the many past winners who were present was Ian Walker, double Olympic silver medallist and winner of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, who was enthusiastic about the new format for the award ceremony:
“First and foremost, it was great to be invited! I had a great table and was sat with Harold Cudmore, who’s never short of a story or two. When I was 17 he was skippering the British America’s Cup team in Fremantle and everybody believed we could win the America’s Cup because of him. He’s somebody I’ve looked up to, and still do, and what a great opportunity it was to chat with him. These kinds of conversation were going on all over the room and it was good to see the event had the gravitas that it deserves – the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year is the most prestigious award you can win. It was a great evening, great fun and an honour to attend.”
Mike Shepherd of the MAA who produce solutions for marine companies’ PR said of the evening:
“This event showcases the people who work so hard to succeed. You can’t win these awards without doing something pretty amazing, having put a lot of time and effort in. They’ve probably been to hell and back to get where they are now. It’s incredibly special and it was so exciting to be here and see who had won.”
The Yachting Journalists’ Association is hugely appreciative of MS Amlin Boat Insurance for their sponsorship of the awards. Their support has enabled the presentation to be held during an event which befits the stature of these historic trophies.
Find out more about the Yachting Journalists’ Association via https://yja.world/
nnsns Lucy with the prestigious trophy
Lucy MacGregor, four-times winner of the Women’s Match Racing World Championship after her victory at the Lysekil Women’s Match in August, is the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year. ‘
She was named winner of the coveted title at a ceremony in Southampton last evening.
The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the year 2019 trophy was presented during a gala awards dinner at the Grand Cafe in Southampton at the close of opening day of the Southampton International Boat Show.
The YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 is Matilda Nicholls, winner of the Women’s Laser Radial Youth World Championship at Kingston, Canada by a margin of 13 points while also dominating the UK Qualifying Series, winning the national youth title in the class and also representing the British Youth Sailing Team at the Youth World Championships for the second time, finishing fifth.
The YJA MS Amlin Young Blogger of the Year is Alexander Rabbitt, from Manchester.
Highlight of the Southampton International Boat Show for boating sporting enthusiasts is the announcement on opening day this Friday of this year’s British yachtsman of the year, along with the most promising youngster in sailing competition.
The results of an intensive voting campaign by members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association will be revealed at a ticket only gala dinner and awards ceremony supported by MS Amlin, the yacht insurers, at the Grand Café in Southampton at the close of the opening day of the ten day show at Mayflower Park on Southampton’s waterfront.
Until then the prestige titles of the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year remain a closely guarded secret. Also to be named is the YJA and MS Amlin’s Young Blogger which recognises the talent of aspiring yachting journalists, photographers or film makers.
Media and press can register for press passes for the Show by Clicking Here.
The YJA Membership Card is also totally acceptable for admission to the Show.
Yacht Racing Forum in Bilbao: Innovation and Progress
The 12th edition of the Yacht Racing Forum innovates, and proposes new concepts, subjects and speakers, with the Yachting Journalists’ Associaton leading one of the topical debates.
YJA Chairman Cliff Webb and Vice-Chairman Mark Jardine will be on a panel debating whether social media is killing the art of story telling and cheapening the quality of coverage.
The conference will bring together around 350 delegates, including the sports’ main decision-makers from all over the world. The leading events, venues, brands and sponsors will be in Bilbao, Spain, on November 25-26.
The next edition of the Yacht Racing Forum, in Bilbao, will offer an interesting mix of conferences and presentations on current topics related to competitive sailing and the business of the sport. Sailing classes and events, the sports management, rules & regulations will amongst other be discussed, alongside the latest technological developments from the America’s Cup, Ultime or IMOCA classes. The most interesting innovations will also be presented on some of our partners’ exhibition stands.
“Our goal is to cover all aspects of competitive sailing. We do not want to be perceived as elitist; our objective is to cover the sport in its diversity and to assess and value the contribution of competitive sailing to the public and mainstream sailing”, explains Bernard Schopfer, the organiser of the Forum.
More than 60 speakers have already confirmed their participation, including the sports’ leading personalities from all over the world (click here to discover the entire list of speakers). SailGP, the Class 40, the Ocean Race or the next Olympic Games will be presented in great detail by their key promoters, whilst a strong focus will be put on mainstream and youth sailing.
The Yacht Racing Forum will feature many innovations this year, including a session entitled « New talent in sailing technology ». Presented by Dr Ignazio Maria Viola, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, it will offer students involved in academic research on sails & foils the opportunity to present their research to their potential future employers. Students and youngsters will also benefit from a strong discount to access the Forum.
Among other new features, Christian Dumard will give a fascinating presentation on the effects of climate change on the sport of sailing, while Vicky Low will present the World Sailing Trusts’ strategic review on women in sailing. Our sustainability partner 11th Hour Racing will debate the « Business of sport and sustainability ».
The Yacht Racing Forum will be chaired by some of the sports’ best experts and moderators, including Shirley Robertson, Andy Rice and Dobbs Davis, supported by Ken Read, Jeremy Pochman or Luca Rizzotti.
Two conferences will be held in parallel on day one, with the Design & Technology Symposium and the conference dedicated to the organisation, business and marketing of sport. The rest of the conference, on day two, will be held in plenary and will focus on topics of interest for all delegates, whether they are more technical or business oriented. The conference programme is nearing completion (there are still some opportunities; click here to discover the conference programme).
As usual, the Yacht Racing Forum also promises to be a great and friendly social event, with drinks receptions and a gala evening reception provided by our host, Bilbao Bizkaia, Consorcio de aqua, Euskadiko Kirol Portua, Real Federación Española de Vela and Valencia Sports.
If you haven’t registered yet, please do it now to help us organise the event as efficiently as possible.
For more information: www.yachtracingforum.com
To Register, Click Here
The Yachting Journalists’ Association Committee met on Monday evening on the 45th floor of the Leadenhall building in London, hosted by MS Amlin Boat Insurance, to choose the shortlists for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019.
Encouragingly there were a record number of nominations for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the entries were representative of the diversity of sailing.
YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year Finalists
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell — Winners of the 49er European Championship, held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and also key members of the Great Britain SailGP Team who were the first to break the 50-knot barrier in the class ahead of the Cowes SailGP event in August.
Lucy MacGregor — four-time winner of the Women’s Match Racing World Championship after her victory at the Lysekil Women’s Match in August. ‘Team Mac’ took the final 3-0 against French skipper Claire Leroy.
Will Hodshon & Rich Mitchell — successfully sailed a Wayfarer dinghy unaided around the 1,390-nautical mile coast of mainland Britain in just over 15 days, beating the previous open dinghy record of 28 days set in 2006.
YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 Finalists
Vita Heathcote – Winner of the 420 Women’s World Championship in Vilamoura, Portugal together with crew Milly Boyle in July and also finishing 2nd mixed team at the 470 Junior European Championship in Vilagarcia de Arousa, Spain with crew Ryan Orr.
Matilda Nicholls – Winner of the Women’s Laser Radial Youth World Championship at Kingston, Canada by a margin of 13 points while also dominating the UK Qualifying Series, winning the national youth title in the class and also representing the British Youth Sailing Team at the Youth World Championships for the second time, finishing fifth.
Azat Ulutas – A sailor from the Greig City Academy and key part of the inspiring Project Scaramouche team, Azat has most recently been sailing on ‘Eros’ to become one of the youngest teams ever to take part in the Round the Island Race and also competing in the Etchells European Championship amongst other events.
Having selected the shortlisted candidates, YJA members have until 9am on Sunday, September 8 to vote for their choice of YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 via the YJA website at www.yja.world, or below, with the winners to be revealed on September 13.
MS Amlin’s Keith Lovett said of the shortlist, “We’ve been absolutely delighted to be involved in the process and seeing how it has moved forward – it’s been enlightening. What’s really interesting is we’ve ended up with shortlists from a completely diverse range of activities in the marine environment, from someone sailing a Wayfarer around Britain to our four-time Women’s Match Racing Champion, having them all on the same platform is really reflective of the wide range that the YJA awards cover.”
YJA Chairman Clifford Webb added, “It’s a very exciting point in the evolution of the Yachting Journalists’ Association. We’re on board with MS Amlin who have been incredibly supportive as a sponsor of the entire process. The nominations showed the diversity of boating of all kinds and with the Gala Dinner coming up, the shortlist gives YJA members the opportunity to express their voice and vote for their YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year.”
The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year Awards will be presented during a Gala Dinner at the Grand Café Southampton on September 13, following on from Press Day at the Southampton International Boat Show. This will be a spectacular occasion, drawing together the great and good of the marine world, distinguished guests and many previous winners of the awards.
Of the Gala Dinner, Keith Lovett said, “This is going to be something that we haven’t seen in the UK for a very long time – a real highlight of the Southampton International Boat Show, star-studded and just the audience alone is going to be fascinating. I can’t wait to be there!”
The final few tickets for this not-to-be-missed event are available and anyone may join the celebrations on the night. The YJA has decided to open up to the public, what has traditionally been a members only exclusive event. Hurry as YJA members and non-members must reserve by September 7 or miss this special occasion. If you would like to attend then please contact the YJA Secretary, Chris English via email at firstname.lastname@example.org who will send you the full range of options.
The Yachting Journalists’ Association is hugely appreciative of MS Amlin Boat Insurance title sponsorship of the awards. Their support enables the presentation to be held during an event which befits the stature of these historic trophies.