Shortlist and Trophy revealed for the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’

Shortlist and Trophy revealed for the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’


The Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) and MS Amlin Boat Insurance are delighted to announce the Shortlist for the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’.

Over the past decade we have seen a cohort of exciting personalities rise on the international stage, with the established ‘household’ names continuing to enjoy sailing and meet the challenges being thrown down by the younger generation. Alongside the racing performers, we have seen others influence participation in sailing, inspiring more people to enjoy being out on the water.

The YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ aims to recognise the achievements of those who have had the greatest positive impact on our great sport and pastime.

The YJA chose to commission Jo Munford of Seaview Studio, and asked her to create a unique trophy to celebrate the award, which the recipient will keep.

Jo said about creating the trophy: “I was really excited to be asked to make the trophy, as I love creating sculptural pieces using stained glass and driftwood.  The brief was perfectly aligned with my style, including the use of salvaged materials.  The finished piece is meant to evoke the feeling of the sea and yachting, with the end impression in the eye of the beholder; a spinnaker and main sail or a cresting wave with sea spray in the sea glass detail?”

Mark Jardine, Vice Chairman of the YJA said: “Throughout the design and construction process I could see that Jo understood exactly the idea we had for the award. The driftwood mainsail reminds me of the Organ Pipes at Cape Raoul, Tasman Island which the Sydney Hobart fleet pass on their way to the finish in Tasmania. The YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ trophy is a striking sculpture which we hope the winner will cherish and have on display for years to come.”

With many names put forward by people around the world, these are the shortlisted sailors:

Dee Caffari – A constant feature in major races as well as pushing boundaries in terms of female equality. Chair World Sailing Trust, helping teach Omani women to sail, Turn the Tide on Plastic, and a long list of achievements, notwithstanding sailing around the world six times.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston – His personal achievements and world records have inspired many thousands to take up the sport, not just through the Clipper Race he founded. He has advised all aspects of the maritime industry from being involved with Trinity House as an advisor, to the Cutty Sark Trust and more. Recognised around the world for his successes.

Jon Holt – The founder of the Scaramouche Sailing Trust, which really has broken down barriers, allowing people of all backgrounds to sail and race successfully. A shining beacon in sailing.

Sir Ben Ainslie – During the last decade he became the most successful Olympic sailor in history with medals at five consecutive Olympics including his 4th gold medal in 2012. In 2013 he was pivotal in helping the BMW Oracle Racing Team retain the America’s Cup, joining the boat as tactician when rivals Emirates Team New Zealand were one race from victory.

Andrew Bart” Simpson – An Olympic Gold medallist at Qingdao 2008, Silver medallist at London 2012 with Iain Percy in the Star class, then tragically killed in training for the 2013 America’s Cup. After his death the Andrew Simpson Foundation was established, as well as events such as Bart’s Bash, to encourage future generations out on to the water and discover a love for sailing.  An already hugely successful quest.

MS Amlin Boat Insurance Business Development Manager, Paul Knox-Johnston said, “Wow, what an amazing line up of talent we have been presented with! Not only a true reflection of what these great sporting ambassadors have achieved in sailing, but also how they have also made a huge imprint on the world around them across the spectrum. I do not envy the YJA members having to make their decision – this is an extremely hard list to pick a winner from.”

Yachting Journalists’ Association Chairman, Cliff Webb added, “Fittingly, we received nominations from all around the world for this award, one designed to recognise the remarkable contribution and achievements of the nominees. These 5 final nominees were selected due to the impact and influence they have made on the sport in this time. Now it is down to our YJA members to select the winner later this month.”

The awards will be streamed worldwide via social media and on the major sailing news platforms in late November.

A link for YJA members to cast their votes will be circulated shortly.


New Work from YJA Member Cathy Shelbourne

Monumental Maritimers

We are always keen to hear about new works produced by our members around the world and promote their efforts, but here is an unusual new one created by YJA member Cathy Shelbourne, of Sea Shell Communications marketing consultancy.

Q. Where is the first column to commemorate Nelson located?
Q. Who was the first woman to circumnavigate the world?
Q. Which fearsome pirate was killed on the deck of his own ship in 1718?

If you’re a regular viewer of the television series Who wants to be a millionaire, you might have responded correctly to the last question. (It was Blackbeard!).

But for the rest of us, all these, and many more fascinating answers, lie in the cards! The cards in question are the Monumental Maritime Heroes pack
In normal times, she travels the world as an enrichment speaker on board cruise ships, giving talks on maritime heroes and brazen buccaneers.

During the coronavirus pandemic, she has put her knowledge, and monumental collection of photos of maritime characters, to good use. Her newly-launched pack of cards is illustrated by major players in the Age of Sail (1400s – mid 1800s), with maritime heroes as hearts, explorers and navigators as clubs, pirates and privateers as spades, and ships as diamonds.

“On board ship, passengers would ask how they could find out more, and where these characters fitted into the greater scheme of things,” says Cathy. “So as well as giving facts and figures and their exploits on each card, I’ve included an information leaflet and time chart in the presentation box.

“During the compilation, I felt like I was on a colossal treasure hunt, tracking down these monuments to past adventurers, still all around us if we just keep our eyes open. They range from statues and columns, to plaques and pub signs, and even weathervanes and village signs.

“And one discovery would lead to another. Visiting Lowestoft on the Suffolk coast to photograph the mosaic of Columbus’ ships on an office building, I noticed a colossal statue of Triton, the son of Neptune, on the promenade. Perfect for the Joker!

“While at Bucklers Hard to look round a modern HMS Pickle, I chatted to a couple in the car park. It turned out her father had made a model of HMS Pickle, which her son had presented to the museum there the day before. Her married name was Trim, the same name as Captain Matthew Flinders’ cat who accompanied him on his voyages charting Australia (and was included by sculptor Mark Richards in his monument to Flinders at Euston station)!”

The packs are now available for sale, but for those who prefer to have all their cards in a row, upon the wall, there’s a limited edition poster too. The presentation box, containing a pack of cards and information leaflet with timeline, is available for £10 plus p+p; the poster is £15 plus p+p; both from

For further information see the video at , or contact

YJA members welcomed to the 60th edition of the Genoa Boat Show – 1st to 6th October 2020

From 1st to 6th October The Genoa International Boat Show Will Welcome Boating Professionals and Enthusiasts for its 60th Anniversary Edition

The 60th Genoa International Boat Show will welcome industry professionals and boating enthusiasts alike, from 1st to 6th October, to experience the very best the industry has to offer.

The organizers are working to bring an event that will combine the highest standards of health and safety with an effective approach worthy of the Made in Italy brand and a world-class showcase. Requests for display space have been greater than expected, a sign that the event remains an essential tool for companies worldwide who recognize the value in taking part.

Exhibitors this year will see the return of the major yards in Italy and worldwide who were present last year, in addition to a number of new brands. As of today, these include a selection of industry-leading names: for motorboats Amer Yachts, Arcadia, Azimut-Benetti, Ferretti Group through FSD – Ferretti Security Division, Fipa Group, Pardo, Princess, Sanlorenzo, Sunseeker, VanDutch; for sailing boats, Beneteau, Dufour, Hanse, Jeanneau, Nautor’s Swan, Mylius Yachts, Solaris and Vismara. This year a brand new area will be dedicated exclusively to Superboats. A full roster for outboards as well, along with an already substantial number of equipment and services-related companies.

The 2020 edition will see the implementation of a key plan of action aimed at creating a flexible layout that can adapt to a variety of scenarios. Supporting the organisers in this endeavour will be a Task Force made up of experts in engineering and legal practice. Plans are already in place to ensure the best organizational conditions, in line with the parameters defined by the World Health Organisation. This is only possible due to key innovations in relation to logistics, remote management and controlled access, all within an entirely new vision based on the large open-air spaces available.

The online ticketing is playing a central role, allowing visitors to purchase their tickets via the event’s official website The online platform is the only channel for purchasing tickets, which will quickly be assigned to specific visiting days to allow for an effective level of crowd management and to prevent over-selling. Access to the Show area will be strictly monitored and automated.

Press may register at the press area via this link. Advise you are a member of the YJA (they will check our website to verify this so make sure your profile is up to date)

Lara Paoletti is the Press Officer & Communications specialist

YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ announced

For immediate release – 2nd September, 2020

YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ announced!

Who wins is anyone’s guess at this point! Round the Island Race 2019/Mark Jardine

After the huge disappointment of having to cancel the YJA MS Amlin Awards Gala Dinner in September, in addition to taking the decision not to award the ‘Yachtsman of the Year’, ‘Young Sailor of the Year’ or ‘Young Blogger of the Year’ in 2020, both the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) and MS Amlin Boat Insurance are delighted to announce a brand new award, the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ award.

The past decade has seen so much action and development on the water. Boat designs that were unthinkable ten years ago are now a regular part of the sailing landscape and the trickle-down effect is seeing all types of benefit from the advances in technology. Alongside this new era, we have seen a cohort of exciting personalities rise on the international stage, with the household names continuing to enjoy sailing and rising to the challenges being thrown down by the younger generation.

The YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ aims to recognise the achievements of the sailors who have had the greatest positive impact on our great sport and pastime.

Yachting Journalists’ Association Chairman, Cliff Webb said, “We are absolutely delighted that MS Amlin’s support of the YJA will continue with the creation of this new award, one that will honour such fabulous achievements from the world of boating. It is an exciting response to this difficult situation with the pandemic, one that has affected water sports globally. Establishing a new award with a new trophy offers YJA members the opportunity to celebrate the greatest participants in our sport over the last decade.”

MS Amlin Boat Insurance Business Development Manager, Paul Knox-Johnston added, “MS Amlin Boat Insurance are delighted to be supporting this new initiative from the YJA.  As the decade draws to a close in a year which has seen little competitive sailing and so much gloom, we have a great opportunity to celebrate all that has gone before and create a prestigious new award for the sailing fraternity to aim for every ten years. There have been so many great sailing achievements since 2010 and I look forward to a long list of entries from around the world for the YJA to deliberate on.”

Nominations for the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ will be open to all from September 10th until October 23rd 2020 via the YJA website: with the presentation of the award being held during the Yacht Racing Forum on 23rd November.

The awards will be live streamed worldwide via social media and on the major sailing news platforms. The trophy will be unique and striking, details of which will be announced closer to the presentation itself.

2020 is not the year that any of us envisioned, but the past decade of sailing personalities deserves recognition and to be celebrated.

YJA MS Amlin Gala Awards Dinner 2020 Cancelled

PRESS RELEASE 28 August 2020

YJA MS Amlin Gala Awards Dinner 2020 Cancelled

With regret, the YJA MS Amlin Gala Awards dinner 2020 has been cancelled alongside a difficult decision taken not to present the Yachting Journalists’ Association’s Yachtsman of the Year, Young Sailor of the Year or Young Blogger of the Year Awards in September.

With consideration to the fact that Coronavirus is still spreading around communities, as well as the current social distancing guidelines in force, the committee have decided that hosting a dinner with several hundred prominent figures from the leisure marine industry is not possible.  If an event were to have been held, it would not have been the relaxed, jovial and celebratory event intended.

In what should have been a fantastic year for sailing, with the inclusion of the Tokyo Olympics, Coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation.  The postponement and cancellation of so many sailing events has made the 2020 YJA MS Amlin Awards unfeasible.  2021 looks set to be an action packed year with many events already in the calendar and even more rescheduled from 2020 so the competition for the 2021 Awards will be more intense than ever.

Paul Knox-Johnston, Business Development Manager – MS Amlin Boat Insurance said, “It is disappointing that the awards have had to be cancelled in 2020, but the safety of the YJA members and guests has to come first.  Looking at the positives however, despite the curtailment of international sailing events, it has been great to see a resurgence of grass roots sailing and increased participation in wider water sports with the easing of lock down and a population keen to get out of the house to breathe fresh air and get fit.  Hopefully positives can come from this challenging year and we will see future Yachtsmen and women of the Year awarded who took up sailing in this post lock down period.”

Cliff Webb, Chairman of the YJA said, “After the fabulous success of the YJA MS Amlin Gala Dinner last year, it is of course a huge disappointment not to be able to proceed this year, as we expected to build on this further, using the lessons learnt from this ‘new edition’ of these famous awards. Bringing together the ‘great and the good’ of the industry and the top stars from around the world of boating, was without any doubt, a glittering night enjoyed by all, and with MS Amlin’s support, we were looking forward to setting a new standard, but that will just have to wait until next year now given the circumstances’.”

2020 has been a difficult year for so many around the world and our thoughts are with all of those who have suffered due to Coronavirus.  Both the MS Amlin Boat Insurance team and the YJA committee would like to thank everyone working tirelessly to care and protect those who are vulnerable and also those working on cures and vaccines for Coronavirus.  We look forward to the YJA MS Amlin Awards returning in 2021, but stay tuned for a major announcement later this week about a new and exciting initiative from MS Amlin Boat Insurance and the YJA.


About MS Amlin Boat Insurance

MS Amlin Boat Insurance has grown to become one of the UK’s leading boat insurance providers. MS Amlin covers the full spectrum of marine craft from a much loved family dinghy or dayboat, racing yacht, RIB, as well as all types of cruising and motor boats to brand new £multi-million superyachts in the UK, Mediterranean and further afield. With the backing of one of the world’s largest insurance groups, MS Amlin delivers service based on years of experience on the water to be able to genuinely understand our clients’ needs.

About MS Amlin

MS Amlin is a leading global (re)insurer, part of the global top-10 insurance group MS&AD, with operations in the Lloyd’s, UK, Continental European, US, Asia and Bermudian markets. With a 300-year record and c.1,800 people in more than 15 locations worldwide, we deliver a quality service for businesses facing the most complex and demanding risks. Our role places us at the forefront of the Specialty, Domestic and Reinsurance markets.

We are experts in underwriting, with both technical capability and deep knowledge of the areas we insure. Our claims service aims to set the industry reference point for quality, with efficient, fair and timely claims management.

For further information please contact:

Chris English (YJA) – – 07711 717470

Eight Bells – Mike Ford

It is with great regret that we have to announce the passing of Mike Ford, a consummate professional Journalist & Photographer who has been working away in the background to keep the good ship YJA afloat for seemingly more years than any of us can recall. Among the many YJA roles that Mike didn’t just take on, but truly embraced with his every sinew, were at various times, Secretary, Treasurer, Webmaster & Membership Secretary & as a result his knowledge of all things YJA was truly amazing.

In addition to his various roles with the YJA, Mike was also a Member of the Guild of Motoring Writers & a long time Member, Supporter & Editor of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club’s Yachter Magazine. However first & foremost Mike was a family man & on behalf of the hundreds of present & past members of the YJA & the staff of Press Offices around the world, we extend our sincerest condolences to Mike’s Wife Jill & Daughter Michelle. RIP”

Chris English, Secretary

Mike has helped the YJA for many, many years, and supported a long list of Chairmen. His knowledge and experience of all aspects of the YJA was truly impressive, from constitutional matters to membership, and clearly losing such a ‘font of knowledge’ will inevitably have an impact in ways we cannot imagine as yet. It is always sad to hear of members passing, but Mike has been closely involved with the Committee ever since I have been a member, and I have had countless dealings with him since taking over as Chairman. He was as delighted as anyone when MS Amlin stepped up as sponsors last year for our annual awards, and reveled in being able to join the celebrations in Southampton as the YJA began a ‘new’ chapter in it’s evolution.

A lovely man who will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Cliff Webb, Chairman

Southampton International Boat Show Postponed



THE 52nd edition of Southampton International Boat Show, due to take place in September has been postponed.

Organisers, British Marine said it would be put off until September 2021 in the wake of CONVID-19 and latest government guidelines on staging large scale gatherings.

However, with the government announcement that a timetable for events will be revealed next week, British Marine will be continuing to explore the options to run an alternative, smaller scale outdoor event.

Lesley Robinson, CEO of British Marine said, “The world is in an unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and public health is everyone’s priority. Annually Southampton International Boat Show attracts an attendance of over 100,000, with over 430 exhibitors. An event of this size and format is simply not possible this year and as such, we have made the decision to postpone it until September 2021.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, Southampton City Council, commented: “Southampton is known for its jam-packed events calendar and the Boat Show is one of our biggest and most popular features, attracting tens of thousands of people into our city and putting Southampton on the map. We are keen to revive Southampton’s thriving events offer while working within public health advice and government guidelines. We look forward to welcoming back the Boat Show and celebrating everything our great city has to offer, when it is safe to do so.”

On behalf of the leisure marine industry, British Marine has been working tirelessly with event stakeholders, including Southampton City Council, to consider all options for staging an event.

Lesley Robinson continues; “As government guidance on COVID-19 evolves, British Marine will continue to work with both exhibitors and key event stakeholders to explore all other opportunities, including an alternative smaller scale outdoor event to support the leisure marine industry and its members. British Marine are encouraged by today’s government announcement that they will be setting out a timetable for getting events as COVID-19 secure as possible next week.”

Lesley said, “We’re naturally very disappointed that we cannot run the event this year in its usual magnitude and format, but the Southampton International Boat Show is a key international event, which will be back stronger than ever in 2021.  We will ensure that we make the 52nd edition one to remember.”

Cowes Week Cancelled

Photo: Cowes Week Ltd

Cowes Week Limited organiser of the UK’s largest and best-known sailing event, has today announced the cancellation of the 2020 Cowes Week regatta.

The CWL team say it had hoped that it would be possible to hold the much-loved regatta this summer for the competitors, sponsors and spectators who come together to make it a success. However, despite the encouraging progress that is being made towards the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that running a large event in nine weeks’ time, that will bring many thousands of visitors to the small town of Cowes, will not be possible while sufficiently protecting all those involved.

Laurence Mead, Regatta Director, said “We know that this will be a huge disappointment to many, as indeed it is to the team at Cowes Week. We waited for as long as we realistically could to see how the situation might develop, on the basis that our competitors would want us to run the regatta if it were possible.  We appreciate the patience that everybody has shown while we have worked through different scenarios and would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who have been on stand-by, ready to jump into action if needed.”

Kate Johnson, Commercial and Marketing Director, added,”We’re grateful to our sponsors, who have been understanding while we worked through our plans and have been willing to stand with us during this very difficult time. We know this will be disappointing for them, but also know that they agree that the health and safety of everyone concerned needs to be our primary consideration and that they view this as a responsible decision. We very much look forward to working with all our sponsors on next year’s event.”

Competitors already entered will be contacted in the next few days and will be invited to roll over their 2020 entry to the 2021 regatta, when Cowes Week will be back as the highlight of the UK sailing season on its traditional dates of July 31 to August 7. 

Meanwhile, the Royal London Yacht Club, organisers of Cowes Classics Week, has taken the decision to reschedule this year’s regatta and plan immediately for 2021. 

The safety of competitors, plus the large volunteer team who help organise the regatta, is paramount and, with social distancing still very much in force, the organisers felt they could not continue with their plans to host the regatta in July. Cowes Classics Week, which attracts in excess of 140 entries, is not just about the racing. The wide range of social events bring together all the crews throughout the week and help make the regatta such a success, but with the current restrictions this would not have been possible so the decision had to be taken to cancel rather than try and run a reduced regatta.

Regatta Chairman, David Gower commented: Whilst we know many competitors will be disappointed, it has become clear that we could not deliver a successful regatta this year and the responsible decision is to cancel. As well as having to ensure the safety of both organisers and competitors, we are also conscious that many Isle of Wight residents are uncomfortable with large numbers of visitors at this time. I wish to thank sincerely our valued volunteers, Royal London Yacht Club staff and our steadfast sponsors who, in some cases, have challenges of their own to deal with. We all look forward to a fantastic regatta in 2021


The team at the Royal London will now focus on planning for the regatta in 2021 which will take place 17 to 23 July with the newly introduced Cowes Classics Day being held on Thursday 22 July 2021. Cowes Classics Day will see a display of over 50 classic cars on The Parade plus classic powerboats berthed on the London Landing and the RYS Yacht Haven. The regatta charity, the Classic Boat Museum, will also have a display of historic classic boats along the seafront.

Restart Sailing Media Group

#RestartSailing Survey

The UK government’s easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions has brought relief to many aspects of life and, particularly certain sports. Sailing is one of those fortunate past-times that is now allowed in England, along with all other forms of watersports practiced on open waterways, including windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority).

Sarah Treseder, Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Chief Executive has been quoted as saying: “We are pleased that Government guidance has confirmed that all forms of watersports including sailing, windsurfing and motor-boating are not only permitted, but are being actively encouraged in England.”

She is quoted as adding that: “We are aware that marinas, clubs and other venues are working hard to facilitate a safe return to boating activities, although it will inevitably take a while before the full infrastructure is operational.”

This last remark echoes the concerns raised by Restart Sailing’s recent survey of Sailing Clubs, the marine industry and interested individuals. While the return to the water is welcomed, it will be some time before normal service is resumed. Most worrying is the need to protect institutions and businesses starved of income and at risk of permanent closure leaving sailors unable to practice their sport.

The survey was undertaken prior to the recent easing, but according to Simon Lovesey, founder of Restart Sailing, the results remain relevant and offer a glimpse into the difficulties faced by the sport. “The key takeaways are that individuals, clubs and businesses are desperate to see a return to on the water activity provided it can be done safely and responsibly,” says Lovesey. “However, there is widespread concern that the lockdown will take considerable time to unwind and some clubs and businesses may not survive.”

  • The survey’s Executive Summary highlights a number of issues, many of which are common to other sporting activities:
     The sailing sector (clubs, classes and trade) is facing massive financial struggle with all activity cancelled and drops in membership renewals and other expenditure
     59% of respondents believe that financial concerns will continue into the foreseeable future as Government financial support fails to reach all parts of the sector.
     Real concern exists over the length of time and amount of money that will be required to restart as facilities and equipment have been effectively mothballed
     Advice and guidance from the Government, Local Authorities and the RYA during the period of lockdown has been mixed
     Covid-19 has created a lack of confidence in people and this may inhibit the return to sport
     Equally, if the sport is seen to return to early and irresponsibly there could be real reputational damage

Interestingly, on the positive side, the respondents indicated that Covid-19 could present opportunities to reboot the sport and institute much needed reform. Overwhelmingly, respondents felt that there was a need for better communication from the authorities and that similar situations in the future would be better managed with proper planning, greater agility and acting earlier.

Respondents are hopeful that at the end of the pandemic there will be lasting evidence of change in habits with greater emphasis on local events and support for local clubs and businesses. Reducing costs, improving use of technology and addressing the sport’s environmental impact are priorities.

In the immediate term, respondents are keen to see proper well thought through guidance on measures that will help reduce the risk of contagion. The continued focus on hygiene is seen as critical, as is introducing clear, simple to follow social distancing rules in marinas and boat parks. Sailing events should only be conducted if and so long as protective measures are easy to institute, follow and enforce.

Passing of Basil D’Oliviera

We are saddened to hear of the passing of former YJA member Wing Commander Basil D’Oliveira OBE who died peacefully at home with his family on the May 10, aged 92. Basil, who was Captain of the Queens Flight was also a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and a correspondent for Yachting World. He was also an active member of YJA committee.