YJA Pantaenius Young Sailors
Phil Sparks from Mudeford, Christchurch and Ben Gratton from Guildford were presented with the prestigious YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year Award 2009 at the Tullet Prebon London International Boat Show on Saturday, January 9. The award was presented by sailing legend Ben Ainslie CBE, a previous winner himself.
Phil, 17, and a member of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, and Ben, also 17, were voted RYA Southern Regional Young Sailors of the Year 2009 last autumn. Sealing gold on the final day at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Buzios Brazil in July Phil and Ben Gratton became the first British boys ever to win a 420 ISAF Youth Worlds title. They also won first place in the Kiel Week regatta and third place in the 420 Class Worlds at Lake Garda.
They were among 13 RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year winners who are voted for by RYA affiliated sailing clubs. These young sailors have made a significant impact on youth sailing, ranging from gold medal winning achievements and overcoming adversity, to the huge amount of hard work and effort they give back to their clubs.
Ben Ainslie also presented awards to the RYA Regional Winners:
Eastern: Aaron Lowther and Steve Curtis
East Midlands: Alice Kent and Lucy Childs
Northern Ireland: Chris Eames
North East: Gary Rutherford
Scotland: Callum Airlie
South East: Thomas Lambert
South West: Isobel Hamilton
Thames Valley: Sophie Hamilton
Wales: Hannah Tilley
West Midlands: Andrew Bridgman
Yorkshire and Humberside: Emma Labourne
North West: Adam Purcell
The YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year award was first presented in 1993. Early winners include Dame Ellen MacArthur and Ben Ainslie CBE, who both went on to win the Yachtsman of the Year title. In addition to votes from members of the public for the YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year, over 1,700 RYA affiliated clubs have the opportunity to nominate. Plus, the RYA puts forward winners from each of its 13 regions as nominations for the YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year.
The YJA Pantaenius Sailor of the Year Award is to be presented at an awards ceremony at Trinity House on Tuesday at Noon. To see who was in the running, Click Here