Beneteau partners with Yacht Racing Forum

September 17, 2018 – The Yacht Racing Forum has announced a partnership with Groupe Beneteau, the market leader for motorboats and leading sailboats producer. The exciting new Figaro Beneteau 3 will be exhibited in front of the Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly. This boat is the latest incarnation of what Beneteau believes a cutting-edge competition sailboat should be, with a new radical foiling system that not only generates lift but also reduces drag and stabilizes while heeling.

“We are proud to welcome Beneteau as a partner & exhibitor”, says Bernard Schopfer, the organiser of the Yacht Racing Forum. “The Figaro Beneteau 3  is a cutting edge race boat that has the potential to become an Olympic offshore Class; a project that is dear to most Yacht Racing Forum participants and that will be debated next month. Beneteau’s involvement in the Forum also opens up new perspectives for the Forum, confirming our mission to address the elite of sailing as well as a wider and less specialised audience. ”

Gianguido Girotti, General Manager at Beneteau, will introduce the Figaro Beneteau 3 and discuss its potential Olympic future on October 22. “Joining the Yacht Racing Forum is a great opportunity for Beneteau to reach out to the sports leading personalities from all over the world, and to share our vision for the future of the sport. It is important for us, as a leading brand, to be part of the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing.”

The Yacht Racing Forum will take place on October 22-23, 2018 in Brittany, in the town of Lorient, at the heart of the mythical Sailing Valley, one of the world’s most dynamic venues for the sport and the industry of sailing and yacht racing.


For more information and registration:

Nominations open for Awards

YJA launches 2018 Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year Award Nominations

Dateline: Sir Max Aitken Museum, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK 
The Yachting Journalists’ Association has announced that 2018 nominations are now open for these annual awards, the Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year.
These are unique and highly prestigious awards, which recognise the incredible achievements of the UK’s sports stars on the global stage. This is the oldest yachtsman of the year trophy in the world, and the list of winners engraved upon its base is the envy of every other similar trophy.

Established in 1955, the recipients of this award have varied from prime ministers (Edward Heath) to humble adventurers (Ewen Southby-Tailyour), who rose to the occasion at a time of need. The dedication to the task of high achieving competitors, and the bravery of rescuers at a time of crisis, are amongst the stories recognised in the list of winners. Some notable people are serial winners, Sir Ben Ainslie (5 times) and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (4 times), and Dame Ellen MacArthur (3 times). The present holder is Alex Thomson, awarded for his remarkable performance in last year’s Vendée Globe solo round the world race

There are also those who started young by winning the junior award, the Young Sailor of the Year Trophy which was initiated in 1993, then going on to win the main event later in life. Last year’s winner was Montel Fagan-Jordon, aged 18, a student from the Greig Academy in Tottenham, London, who raised money to restore the 1980’s classic American Admiral’s Cup yacht Scaramouche, then led a crew of fellow students, sailing the fully restored yacht in last year’s Fastnet Race.
Nominations for these awards are open to the public, but it is the members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association who make the final decision as to whose names will grace these trophies. Over the years the members of the Association have had some difficult choices to make, but the list of winners as it stands, is a testament to the huge achievements of the British boating community. The nominations will remain open until midnight on Sunday, October 14, 2018.
Nominations may be made by email to or online:  CLICK HERE and anyone may make a nomination for consideration. Please mention which award the nomination is being made for, and include a brief description as to why you are making this nomination. Please also include your own contact details so we can request additional information if required. The winners will be announced towards the end of this year and there are sure to be many notable contenders after an incredible year of sailing achievements.
The YJA is also accepting entries for your YJA Young Blogger of the Year Awards, open for anyone under the age of 21 on  December 31, 2018. Full details available at

Cowes Honour for RSYC Young Sailor


Jake presents the trophy to Gladiator owner and skipper Tony Langley. In the picture, l to r: Tony Knight, RSYC Commodore, Lynne Chandler, Jake’s mum, Jake, Tony Langley, and Henry Porter, Gladiator crew member


A 14-year-old Hampshire schoolboy who has been learning to sail with the Royal Southampton Yacht Club has had the honour of meeting Cowes Week racing contender and international yachtsman Tony Langley in an informal but exclusive ceremony at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.

Jake was selected to present one of the principal yacht racing trophies  at Lendy Cowes Week Regatta, thanks to an innovative move by the Royal Southampton Yacht Club.

The Club’s Armitage Challenge cup was presented to Tony Langley as winner of Class Zero racing by some of the biggest yachts at the regatta on Saturday, the opening day of the Cowes regatta, and which  is always the scene of some of the most competitive action on the water by international yachtsmen in a quest for honours.

On the water at Cowes, Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator, led  the IRC Class Zero  and took line honours and first place on corrected time ahead of Igor Yakunin’s Ker 46 Lady Mariposa.

By contrast, newcomer Jake Mitchener, from Romsey, Hampshire has been learning to sail with the Royal Southampton Yacht Club under a special programme through the charitable RSYC Trust to widen opportunities for sailing and focussing on young carers who have taken up the challenge of looking after parents or siblin

The prizegiving took place on the lawn of the Royal Yacht Squadron on Saturday, the opening day of the regatta, and Jake was accompanied by his mother, Lynne Chandler for whom he has been helping to provide care, during health problems she has suffered, along with family members,  members of the Romsey Carers and RSYC Trust trustees Captain Martin Phipps MBE, and Graham Tracey

The Royal Southampton Yacht Club is one of the nine Solent clubs that run the annual Cowes Week Regatta in partnership and for many years has made a major contribution to the organisation of the event and this year is fielding a larger and stronger team of race officers than ever.

On the water at Cowes, leading IRC Class Zero boat, Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator,  took line honours and first place on corrected time ahead of Igor Yakunin’s Ker 46 Lady Mariposa.

Teenager Jake has thrived learning to sail through the Royal Southampton Yacht Club Trust which is sponsoring him at the RYA On Board club at Southampton Water Activities Centre over the summer.

The RSYC Trust’s aim is to provide opportunities for all to experience sailing. A major focus is on Young Carers and is working closely with Young Carer organisations in Southampton,  and much of Hampshire in the New Forest, Romsey, Eastleigh, Winchester, Gosport, Fareham and Princess Royal Trust for Carers.


Gladiator in action in the Class Zero competition at Cowes. Photo: Paul Wyeth/CWL


Tony Langley at the helm of Gladiator. Photo: Paul Wyeth/CWL

Royal Southampton’s Armitage Challenge Cup

Fiftieth Southampton Boat Show to aid marine conservation

British Marine, organisers of Southampton Boat Show 2018, has announced a long-term commitment to marine conservation .

Celebrating their 50th Show this year, British Marine is taking steps to minimise the environmental impact of the event and raise awareness of the plight of the world’s oceans among its thousands of visitors and exhibitors. Working with the Marine Conservation Society, the organisers have launched a dynamic three-year pledge which includes moving away from single use plastics, serving only sustainable fish, continuing to recycle waste wherever possible and encouraging environmentally responsible behaviour by visitors, exhibitors, staff and other stakeholders

By 2020, British Marine aims to have the individual engagement and signed commitment to marine conservation from of all exhibitors and contractors through its Exhibitor & Contractor Environment Charter.

Greg Munford, British Marine President, comments: “As an industry which lives for being on the seas, we see first-hand the effects humanity is having on our waters. It is important that this wonderful and unique resource which we rely on is protected.

“As Britain’s biggest festival of boating, attracting an international audience of over 106,000 visitors and 500 marine businesses, Southampton Boat Show provides an ideal platform to drive change and get sailing enthusiasts and boatbuilders alike to take notice.” Southampton Boat Show takes place at Mayflower Park/Town Quay, Southampton from September 14-23, 2018. Early Bird tickets are now on sale, with two children under the age of 15 going free with each adult. For more information visit:

This is a first . . . and really very special — Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

Liverpool arrival. Photo credit:

History has been made as Australian Sailor Wendy Tuck becomes the first woman to ever win a round the world yacht race after clinching the overall victory in the Clipper 2017-18 Race.

And in an additional win for women’s sport, second place went to British Sailor Skipper Nikki Henderson, 25, the Skipper of Visit Seattle.

Wendy and her Sanya Serenity Coast team went into the thirteenth and final race of the Clipper 2017-18 Race on top of the overall standings and have done enough to put the result out of reach for the other ten teams ahead of the sprint finish up the Mersey to Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, UK.

Wendy, 53, from Sydney, said: “I can’t believe it. It hasn’t really sunk in really but I am just so happy. It is so, so special.

“I don’t think it’s about being a woman. It’s just do what I do. But I am very proud and even prouder of my team. They are the ones that did all the work and considering many had never sailed before, what they have accomplished is incredible.”

Victorious, Wendy Tuck

It was a battle to see who would seal the win – Wendy or Nikki Henderson, the youngest ever Clipper Race Skipper. Despite Visit Seattle playing its Joker Card (a device which double the race points earned) Nikki Henderson fell just short of the overall win but her four podiums over the last year meant she and her team will take second place overall, despite the results of Saturday’s sprint.

Visit Seattle Skipper Nikki Henderson said: “Congratulations to Wendy and her team – you were just too quick for us!

“We didn’t get the win but I am so proud of how my team dug deep and kept fighting right until the end. No matter how hard it got, they turned up on deck ready to work and deserve every bit of this success in coming second.

“It will take a bit for it all to sink in. We still have once last sprint to go on Saturday and we will be sailing with style right until the very end.”

Delighted with the female one-two finish, Clipper Race Founder and Chairman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world, said: “There’s never been a race, a round the world race, where you’ve had the two leading Skipper both be women. This is a first. And when you look at what they are racing against, the experience of the other Clipper Race Skippers, you realise that this is really very special.

Sanya Serenity Photo Credit:onEdition

“The impact of the success of both Wendy and Nikki cannot be underestimated. If this gets even one more girl start sailing and dreaming big, then I’ll consider everything we have done over the last eleven months a huge success.”

The other Chinese Clipper Race entry, Qingdao, won Race 13, the final stage of the Clipper Race from Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool, crossing the line at 10:04:04 UTC on Friday 27 July to finish 28 minutes ahead of the second placed Liverpool 2018, whilst Garmin was third.

Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch says: “It has been a fantastic race and I am extremely happy and proud of the effort my team has put in.

“To be able to not only secure the Race 13 victory but also guarantee our Race Team Partner Qingdao its first ever overall podium is extremely satisfying. The entire team has been working towards this goal for the past year and it is amazing to realise that we have done it.”

This is the fourth podium of the 2017-18 series for Qingdao and the second win after the team previously claimed victory in Race 9 across the mighty North Pacific from Qingdao to Seattle. Qingdao has also been the champion of the Scoring Gate, with the team collecting a fleet high 19 bonus points from Scoring Gates.

Although podium positions have been decided, bonus race points will be awarded to the first three teams that cross the sprint finish line off Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, where they are expected to arrive between 0930 and 1000 tomorrow morning, Saturday 28 July.

The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains non-professionals to be ocean faring sailors. Established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world, 40 per cent of Clipper Race crew have no previous sailing experience before signing up and undergoing the compulsory four weeks of training.

In total, 712 people representing 41 different nationalities and from all walks of life have taken part in the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper 2017-18 Race, the event’s eleventh edition.

Clipper Race finish, Liverpool. Photo credit:

New chief for British Marine

Lesley Robinson
Lesley Robinson, new CEO, British Marine

British Marine has a new chief executive who takes up her position on Monday, July 16.

Lesley Robinson is the newly appointed chief executive officer and joins BMF as a high calibre, proven, chief executive with both UK and international experience in numerous public, non-marine as well as leisure marine sectors. She is a qualified accountant, with financial, commercial and general management roles to her credit.

Her early career has included executive positions of managing director, COO and finance director of numerous companies as well as various non-exec director roles, with an extensive range of business and commercial acumen.

Greg Munford, acting president at British Marine, said: “I am delighted that British Marine has managed to attract a proven senior executive to the post of CEO. I am looking forward to working with Lesley and the Non-Executive Board during the next 12 months as President.”

David Pougher, Interim Managing Director at British Marine, added: “Lesley has the varied and extensive skill set that is needed to lead and guide British Marine forward through its continued navigation of change. I am extremely pleased that we were able to act swiftly in identifying what is required and to appoint someone who can clearly illustrate their capabilities through previous, successful roles. I am also confident that she has what is required and will deliver the drive, commitment and passion to take British Marine further in offering unique and fulfilling solutions, support and satisfaction for our members, staff and partners.”

Lesley, upon her appointment, stated: “I am excited to be taking on this new role and look forward to working for and with British Marine members to help secure a healthy future for our marine industry.”


Yacht Racing Forum partnership with peformance catamarans

Performance catamaran by Gunboat

An expert in performance cruise-racing catamarans, Gunboat will showcase its brand and share ideas and knowledge with delegates from the Yacht Racing Forum in Lorient, France, on October 22-23.

It results from a new  three year partnership with Gunboat, a dynamic and innovative company  focusing on high-tech yet comfortable cruise-racing catamarans. Earlier this week, the Forum agreed a partnership with the YJA.

Founded in 2002 and owned by Grand Large Yachting, Gunboat has established itself as the gold standard for cruising catamarans. The brand offers Grand Prix monohull performance with the space, comfort, and volume of a cat, and the seaworthiness to handle the toughest blue water passages. Gunboat leads this specific market, thanks amongst others to the new Gunboat 68 which combines luxury, performance and refinement.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gunboat as a long term partner & exhibitor “, says Bernard Schopfer, the organiser of the Yacht Racing Forum. “This is a truly innovative brand, developed by some of the best specialists from within the yacht racing industry. Gunboat creates a strong link between the yacht racing and cruise / leisure communities”

Benoît Lebizay, partner at Grand Large Yachting Group, explains: “What we do, at Gunboat, is very close to what happens within top-end sailing teams: we share the same state of the art design teams, a great attention to details during the construction process, and a quest for perfection. On top of this, we also attach great importance to the quality of the interior design, and believe that performance can rhyme with comfort and reliability.

Gunboat will showcase their latest productions during the next Yacht Racing Forum, and actively participate in the Design and Technology Symposium, discussing the trickle down effects from the America’s Cup and other top level sailing events on production boats.

The Yacht Racing Forum is the leading annual conference for the business of sailing and yacht racing. The event will take place on October 22-23, 2018 in Brittany, in the town of Lorient, at the heart of the mythical Sailing Valley, one of the world’s most dynamic venues for the sport and the industry of sailing and yacht racing.

For more information and registration:

Howard Pridding joins RYA as interim director of external affairs

Howard Pridding –
Photo: British Marine Federation

The Royal Yachting Association  has  announced the appointment of Howard Pridding in the role of interim Director of External Affairs.

No stranger to recreational boating, Howard previously worked in a variety of roles at British Marine for over 27 years and served as Chief Executive for more than five of those. Having taken the decision to seek new opportunities, Howard is joining the RYA later this month [July 2018] and will head up the Cruising, Legal and Government Affairs division.

Experience and knowledge

Throughout his long career, Howard has built his knowledge and deep understanding of the boating industry and has played a leading role in representing the industry to politicians, government officials and the media. As such, he has a wide network of contacts within parliament, government departments and strategic partner organisations that will stand him in excellent stead to build on the RYA’s lobbying successes as the Brexit negotiations continue.

In his new role, Howard will work closely with the Chief Executive and senior management team to ensure that recreational boating interests are represented effectively and that Government, in all its forms, takes full account of the sector’s activities when balancing competing interests. The role has been appointed for an interim period of six months to enable a review of the existing structure and accountabilities of the Cruising, Legal and Government Affairs team.

The Director of External Affairs role also has an ambassadorial role as spokesperson for the recreational boating industry, the RYA’s 111,000 valued members, and the organisation.

YJA to partner with Yacht Racing Forum


Cliff Webb and Bernard Schopfer have announced a partnership between their respective organisations, the Yachting Journalists’ Association and the Yacht Racing Forum.

The Yachting Journalists’ Association, of which Cliff Webb is chairman, will become an official media partner of the Yacht Racing Forum.

“We are very pleased to welcome the Yachting Journalists’ Association amongst our partners”, said Bernard Schopfer, the organiser of the Forum. “The sport’s key actors from all over the world, the industry members, event organizers, teams or sponsors, need media to develop their activities, whilst the media need them to generate quality content. The Yacht Racing Forum is the ideal location for everyone to meet in a relaxed environment and develop strong and personal relationships”.

Cliff Webb, the newly elected chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association sees the partnership as an important opportunity for members, who come from all over the world.

“The YJA have members who are at the forefront of all branches of the media, together with our corporate members working in PR and other areas from many different countries,” Cliff commented. “To open up this valuable forum to our members is a huge benefit to both sides of this partnership.”

The Yachting Journalists’ Association was founded in 1955, along with the creation of their Yachtsman of the Year award, the oldest such trophy in the world, originally donated by Sir Max Aitken, then proprietor of England’s Daily Express newspaper.

This year’s Yacht Racing Forum will take place in the French port of Lorient on October 22 – 23, with an impressive line-up of speakers representing a wide variety of interests and disciplines within the sport.

On October 24, delegates will have the opportunity to visit the local industries and business active in yacht racing; a unique chance to learn more about the French know-how!

The Forum in session