Yacht Racing Forum 2019

Six months to go to Yacht Racing Forum 2019 in Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao is a flamboyant city in northern Spain, with a growing passion for the sport of sailing

The 12th edition of the Yacht Racing Forum (November 25-26) promises to be exciting. It will bring together some of the most prominent players in the nautical world, and will offer a unique commercial platform to companies active in competitive sailing.

27 May 2019 – Members of the yacht racing community and sailing industry from all over the world will meet in six months’ time in the town of Bilbao, in the Basque Country, for the 12th edition of the Yacht Racing Forum.

The event will feature a subtle mix of lectures and presentations, and will provide the 350 participants from all over the world the opportunity to meet and do business under optimal conditions.

The sports’ most dynamic and innovative brands in the professional sailing world have already booked their exhibition stands.

Start-ups and companies that have recently developed a new product will also have, for the first time, the opportunity to present their innovations to the main global players in the boating industry as part of the “Business Speed Presentations” ; a new, and free service provided by the Yacht Racing Forum.

Organized in Spain for the second time after Barcelona in 2015, the Forum will reassemble the sports’ key personalities: event organisers, sponsors, designers, professional sailors, boat builders, media as well as insurance and finance companies, and provide a unique opportunity to network, debate the future of the sport and do business.

The Forum will take place in the beautiful Euskalduna Conference Centre, right next to the events’ official hotel, the Melia, and the famous Guggenheim Museum. Bilbao is a flamboyant city in northern Spain, the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country. Along with the Biscay region, its development has been historically linked to the ocean and the industrial revolution. Ever-changing, in the past few decades Bilbao underwent a profound renovation, turning into one of the most innovative cities in Europe.

You can already book your room with a preferential rate:

Sailing writers’ opportunity

Online boat marketing company boatsandoutboards is looking for regular writers for its blog and and have work published across all its platforms.

The website’s Tom Wilson tells the YJA he is currently taking informal applications to have a chat and find some passionate people who don’t necessarily need to have any writing experience. 

“Anyone who might be interested can email me directly with a bit about themselves, their areas of interest/knowledge and we can discuss further what we can provide for each other and go from there.”

Interested? Contact Tom Wilson direct on tom.wilson@boatsandoutboards.co.uk


Cruising Association links


YJA members are being offered a 25 percent discount on first year’s membership of The Cruising Association, giving access to a great information source and technical services, huge range of discounts and accommodation overlooking The Thames in the heart of London’s trendy Limehouse at very, very old-fashioned prices.

 This is the first of a range of new YJA membership benefits we aim to add over the coming year to make your membership really work for you.

 The CA, whose patron is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, was founded in 1908 and has grown to be the authoritative voice on cruising matters, with 6000 members worldwide. It consults to government and is a powerful campaigning voice for all leisure sailors with a formidable team of experts and advisors keeping on top of all the issues of concern to re-creational water users, both nationally and internationally.

 Here’s are some of the reasons we think CA membership is really worthwhile for YJA members.

Information and News Source: From Brexit to lobster pots, VAT, visas and import tariffs, the CA is on the case; membership provides working journalists with access to a great news resource, through the CA’s Regulations and Technical Services, the quarterly Cruising magazine and a body of expert sources at your fingertips. The CA’s 10,000-volume maritime library is the largest in private hands.
Discounts: These are too many to mention but include marina fees (all over the world), chandlery, clothing, accommodation, holidays/charter, villas, boatyards, insurance and electronics. Frankly, these are worth more than the price of membership.
Accommodation: Stay in an en-suite B&B cabin in Limehouse, London from £52 per night for a single, £67 for two (includes a household member).

Here’s the deal for YJA members. When paid by direct debit the first year’s membership is £99 instead of £132. Below are links to an information brochure and membership form. Write YJA at top if you use the paper form. If joining on-line at www.theca.org.uk insert the code YJA.

For editorial enquiries, contact the CA’s Press & PR Manager, Peta Stuart-Hunt, here:publicity@theca.org.uk or mob: +44 (0)7711 477707.

Peta said: “We need the benefits of this new and highly logical relationship to work for all parties and from my perspective as the CA’s Press & PR Manager, I would like to encourage more contact with lifestyle and leisure writers who might be interested in reporting on CA campaigns – for example to get better marking of static fishing gear and lobster pots to help avoid more catastrophic boating accidents through dangerous entanglements .”

CA membership brochure – ONLINE VIEW

CA membership form

Death of former Chairman

Former chairman of the YJA, Paul Gelder, retired editor of Yachting Monthly has died, aged 71.

Although no longer a YJA member, Paul was a strong supporter of the Association over many years, having first joined the YJA in 2005.  He was chairman in 2015-2016.

He edited Yachting Monthly magazine for ten years and in that time was the inspiration behind a campaign to restore Gypsy Moth 1V. He first joined the magazine as features editor in 1990, later becoming  editor.

His early journalistic career was in local newspapers and he had previously been editor of the West Sussex Gazette.

He was also author of various books including The Loneliest Race and Gipsy Moth 1V: A Legend Sails Again, Editor of Total Loss and Sunk Without Trace, anthologies of true-life stories of yachts lost at sea, plus Yachting Monthly Confessions anthologies.

The funeral will be Monday, March 18 at 1pm at  the  The Oaks Havant Crematorium ( PO9 5NA) located on the outskirts of Havant, adjacent to the Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


Paul Gelder, centre, pictured at a lunchtime meeting with treasurer Mike Ford and former secretary Gael Pawson at the renowned waterside pub on the Hamble River, The Jolly Sailor

Photo by Patrick Roach, former deputy chairman

All-female winners recognised in YJA Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year Awards


Two firsts marked the 2018 Yachting Journalists’ Association Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year Awards: all-female winners and a tie for the YJA Yachtsman of the Year trophy. The awards were held today on the 45th floor of the iconic Leadenhall Building and hosted by MS Amlin Yacht after a breakfast reception celebrating Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s 80th birthday.

Sir Robin, himself a four-time winner of the YJA Yachtsman of the Year trophy, was kind enough to present the awards. The event was also live-streamed which you can replay via this link.

The YJA Young Sailor of the Year was announced first, with 15-year-old Emily Mueller collecting the award for winning the Volvo Gill Optimist British National Championship – only the third ever girl to win the national title.

Emily said on winning the award: “It is just such an honour. I never really expected to go this far in sailing; I just did it for fun at first, but now I love the competitive element. It was all such a surprise because I didn’t even know I was nominated. Thank you all so much!”

Next up was presentation of the YJA Yachtsman of the Year voted by its membership. In over 60’s years of the YJA Awards, it was an unprecedented result, with a tie, and so the 2018 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award was presented to joint winners, Tracy Edwards and Nikki Henderson.

Nikki Henderson made history when at 24 she was the youngest ever skipper to compete in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. By finishing in second place to Australian Wendy Tuck, she secured an all-female one-two.

Nikki mentioned the recognition of female sailors: “It is a step in the right direction. I think it is important to recognise that the Clipper Race aspect isn’t just about the female skippers winning, but also the fact that almost half the crews are women. It is a really good example that the sport should not be all male; it should – and can be – a 50:50 mixed sport. I think that is what we really need to push for.”

Tracy Edwards, who inspired a generation of women as the skipper of the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1988/89, has now extensively restored the yacht Maiden to play the central role in the Maiden Factor campaign to raise awareness of the education of girls worldwide.

A new generation of highly talented all-female crew members, including Nikki Henderson, are sailing Maiden on a world tour with over 23 destinations in 13 countries, flying the flag for girls’ education, working with local charities and supporting community-led educational projects.

Tracy said on receiving the award for the second time: “It’s very surreal. The first time I won the trophy I didn’t know what it was as I wasn’t really part of the racing or sailing world! It was amazing, and I thought at the time that it was very forward-thinking, very visionary, of the Yachting Journalists’ Association to award it, considering the flak they had given us getting to the start line. To win it again is extraordinary, because amazing women like Nikki and other fantastic female sailors are out there, but I think Maiden did play a part in that, so we’ve come full circle. I think that what Nikki, Wendy [Tuck] and Dee [Caffari], and other girls like Emily here, are doing – it is the future, and it is really important so that means a lot to me.”

We asked Sir Robin whether the unprecedented three female winners reflected the recognition of gender equality in sailing, to which he answered in typically forthright fashion:

“No, I don’t think it does. What is reflects is that this year, it happens the three best people to win this award are ladies – a very different thing. In any year, whether they be ladies or blokes, what they have achieved has put them where they should be; deservedly winning this trophy. It simply recognises excellence in sailing.

“The YJA Yachtsman of the Year has always been the top of the tree. It is the one that everyone strives for, that everyone would like to win and have their name on. It is a historic trophy. If anyone says, ‘what have you won?’ the YJA Yachtsman of the Year trophy is the one that matters.”

MS Amlin also announced their sponsorship of the 2019 YJA Yachtsman of the Year, Young Sailor of the Year and Young Blogger of the Year Awards, which will be presented at a Gala Dinner on Friday 13th September in Southampton, on the Press Day of the Southampton Boat Show.

Paul Knox-Johnston of MS Amlin Yacht said of their support:

“The main attraction was for us was getting people into boating through inspiration. That is what the award ‘says’ to us – it is inspiring the next generation. You go back to when Sir Robin sailed around the world 50 years ago; he inspired a generation to not only get involved in sailing as a sport, but to get involved in the marine industry itself. Therefore it self-generates people coming into the industry.”

On the 2018 winners Paul said:

“Going back to when Tracy Edwards first sailed around the world, with the first all-women crew, all that hype – we are now beginning to properly celebrate the skills, achievements and what women are bringing to the sport.”

Cliff Webb, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association said on MS Amlin’s sponsorship of the award:”

“I think it is an extraordinary achievement to have become involved with a company like MS Amlin Yacht. We are absolutely delighted at the decision they have made to join us. We think it will be a mutually-beneficial journey as we try to expand what the YJA does, and how we can bring in future generations. For example, we would love to provide a scholarship in the future for somebody to study journalism. We’re going to be working very hard on expanding our range of operations and working with MS Amlin Yacht to develop their exposure and publicity, which we are in a perfect place to maximise.”


Announcements on voting for the MS Amlin Yacht 2019 YJA Yachtsman of the Year, Young Sailor of the Year and Young Blogger of the Year Awards will be made in due course. Huge congratulations to our 2018 winners.

Find out more on the Yachting Journalists’ Association at https://www.yja.world and MS Amlin Yacht at http://www.boatinsure.co.uk/


MS Amlin Yacht announced as title sponsor of the YJA Yachting Awards 2019

MS Amlin Yacht, the boat insurance specialists have agreed to become the title sponsor of the YJA Yachtsman of the Year, Young Sailor of the Year and Young Blogger of the Year awards 2019.

In a change to previous years, the 2019 Awards will be presented at a black tie gala dinner on Friday, September 13 during the Southampton Boat Show, where members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association will meet with a vast array of sailing talent and key figures from the marine industry to reward the most outstanding accomplishments during 2019

Paul Knox-Johnston, MS Amlin Yacht Business Development Manager said, “MS Amlin Yacht are proud to support the yacht industry and all journalists involved in writing about and promoting boating, whether they are freelance or attached to a publication, through the YJA Awards.  These are the primary independent awards for our industry and we hope our support allows them to remain so for the foreseeable future.  The open approach allowing anyone to nominate a sailor they believe deserves to win, followed by the expert YJA members vote means that any sailor with an interesting 2019 diary has a chance of winning.

Recognising the achievements of both experienced yachtsman and younger sailors will hopefully provide inspiration for a new generation to get out on the water and follow in the award’s winner’s wake.”

As the original Yachtsman of the Year Award, first presented in 1955 to Eric Hiscock, for his achievement sailing around the world in Wanderer III, the award has been bestowed upon many UK sailing legends for all manner of feats undertaken on the water.  With names such as Ben Ainslie, Ellen MacArthur, Robin Knox-Johnston, Dee Caffari and Alex Thompson engraved on its base, to win it is the highest recognition of sailing talent.

The Young Sailor of the Year is a more recent addition to the awards, starting in 1993.  Handed out annually, several winners have gone on to win the Yachtsman award.  This coupled with the Young Blogger of the Year, encourage future generations to get involved in sailing and to strive to reach ever greater heights in the world of sailing.

Clifford Webb, YJA Chairman said, “I’d like to thank the MS Amlin Yacht management team for their commitment to The Yachting Journalists’ Association membership with this sponsorship, which we feel will be a significant and mutually beneficial one, creating what should be a glittering evening of celebration in September.”

MS Amlin insure all types of craft enabling everyone who loves being out on the water to have peace of mind and enjoy their boating lifestyle.  We thrive from getting involved and giving something back to all areas of the industry.  From exhibiting at Crick Boat Show on the inland waterways, to sponsoring sailing events such as the YJA Awards and the Round the Island Race, we hope that we enable everyone to live their unique boating lifestyle to the full.




LIVE STREAM – YOTY and Young Sailor winners to be announced at Noon today

Don’t forget to tune in to the Live Stream of the YJA Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year Awards tomorrow, Wednesday.

Yacht insurer MS Amlin will be hosting the live streamed presentation of the awards for the 2018 at Noon on Wednesday

The awards will be made during a special event at the London offices of MS Amlin, the yacht insurance specialists.  

It is the first time, the awards presentation will be professionally live streamed around the world via social media and on  YachtsandYachting.com.

Watch it also via: www.youtube.com/c/msamlinyacht 

Drone magic clinches YJA Young Blogger award

James Tomlinson (middle) wins a £100 Musto voucher and British Sailing Team branded kit from Nick Houchin of Musto (left) and Mark Jardine from the Yachting Journalists’ Association (right) – photo YJA.

James Tomlinson, 19, is the latest Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) Young Blogger of the Year for his swish drone footage from last season.

James, a first year student at Solent University, Southampton, where he’s studying Yacht Design and Production, edited drone shots to music from three projects, including a blast on a racing maxi and a holiday in the fjords.

“There’s a good link between designing boats and using media,” said James, receiving the award at the RYA Dinghy Show on Sunday. “We use photos in design with an emphasis on looking at structure, but in my own sailing recently I’ve been doing more media work on board than sailing, and I feel I’m stronger in that role. It’s great to be winning an award from an organisation like the YJA and seeing my video content recognised.”

This is the second year of the YJA’s Young Blogger award, and Digby Fox, Vice-Chairman of the YJA, said: “We really liked James’s use of DJI drones. He’s on the money because drones are making such a difference to the coverage of sailing. That three-quarter angle down is made for our sport.”

Nick Houchin, Musto’s Head of Sailing Marketing, presented James with a voucher for £100 plus a pick of Musto’s classy  British Sailing Team merchandise collectioncheck it out here.

“The excellent sailing coverage we see in the media is important to us,” said Nick, “so we’re happy to encourage young people to get involved and create a fresh take on things.”

As the top marine media professionals’ network, recognised worldwide, the YJA is opening its doors, plus valuable media contacts, to the next generation. “If you’re under 21,” said Digby, “have a think about sending us an entry this season. It can be in any media or format – print, online, written, visual, podcast, GoPro onboard, you name it – just share your passion. We’ll give shortlisted entries a 2020 photo ID Press Card for free access to boat shows, plus a vote on the YJA Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year awards.”

Send entries by the end of December to bloggercomp@yja.world. Find out more on the YJA site: www.yja.world.

To view James’s winning entry, CLICK HERE

YJA Yachtsman and Young Sailor Awards to be streamed live

The coveted YJA Yachtsman of the Year trophy. Photo: Sam Kurtul

MS Amlin will be hosting a live streamed presentation of the awards for the 2018 ‘YJA Yachtsman of the year’ and ‘Young Sailor of the year

The YJA Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year 2018 will both be awarded at 12pm next Wednesday, 6th March, during a special event at the London offices of MS Amlin, the yacht insurance specialists.  

 For the first time, the awards presentation will be professionally live streamed around the world via social media and on  YachtsandYachting.com.

Watch it live via: www.youtube.com/c/msamlinyacht or  www.YachtsandYachting.com 

Select members of the YJA will be gathering at the landmark Leadenhall Building in the city of London to join an 80th birthday breakfast celebration for Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, a brand ambassador for MS Amlin Yacht.  The award winners will be announced as part of this celebration. 

Having been presented annually for over 60 years, the YJA trophy is the original Yachtsman of the Year Award and is an accolade like no other.  Across the decades it has been won by true sailing legends like Dame Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari, Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Ben Ainslie.  It takes a truly great feat of sailing to become a winner and this will be no different for the 2018 winner. The 2017 award was presented to Alex Thompson for his spectacular performance during the Vendée Globe solo round the world race. 

The 2018 winner has been selected by the 260 members of the YJA following public nominations made last year.  Less than a week now remains until the winners are announced, so make sure to put the date in your diary and get online to share the moment with all of us.


YJA Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year Awards, 2018

Shortlisted nominees for the annual prestigious awards are set out below, and which we would urge members to vote now.  We have been able to create a very beneficial environment for the awarding of the trophies, but the timescale is now quite short.

Therefore the closing date for your votes will be 0900 on Thursday, February 28. The nominations for both awards are attached and you will find the voting page on our website at www.yja.world, or by following the link below. Although time is short we do hope you will find time to “tick the box” for your favourite.

We hope that the brief awards ceremony may be “streamed live” and we will circulate information on this nearer to the date.


Paul Goodson, MBE

Paul was born on November 29, 1977 at Brinsworth, Rotherham, South Yorkshire. In March 2005 he was ranked 2nd in the world in the Laser, behind Robert Scheidt of Brazil, and ahead of Michael Blackburn of Australia and Mark Mendelblatt of the United States.

He won the gold medal in the Mens’ Laser class at the 2008 Summer Olympics. In 2009 he won the Laser World Championship in Halifax, Canada. He also competed. In the 2004 Summer Olympics, finishing fourth, and the 2012 Summer Olympics, finishing 7th.

In 2006 he won the Moth World Championship in Hayana, Japan and in 2017 won the title a second time in Makesine, Italy (Lake Garda). Finally in 2018 he won the tile third time back to back.

Paul joined Artemis Racing for their 2017 Louis Vuitton Challenger’s Trophy campaign.

Nominated by Bob Fisher

Tracy Edwards, MBE

Tracy began working on charter yachts in Greece at the age of 17 and learned how to sail. Tracy took part in her first Whitbread Round the World Race as cook aboard Atlantic Privateer in 1985/86 becoming the first woman to race around the world on a Maxi.

She inspired a generation of women as the skipper of the first all-female crew to compete in the notoriously difficult Whitbread Round the World Race in 1988/89.  Defying critics they won two legs of the race to come send overall in their class on the yacht Maiden, breaking a record that remains to this day.

She also made history as the first woman to win the Yachtsman of the Year trophy.

Now, thanks to Anything is Possible, the Maiden yacht has been extensively restored to play the central role in the Maiden Factor campaign to raise awareness of the education of girls

A new generation of highly talented all-female crew members are sailing Maiden on a world tour with over 23 destinations in 13 countries, flying the flag for girls’ education, working with local charities and supporting community-led educational projects.

Nominated by Chris English

Nikki Henderson

Nikki Henderson made history when at 24 she was the youngest ever skipper to compete in the round the world event. And coming in second place to Australian Wendy Tuck, she secured an all-female one-two on the podium. The Clipper Race is unique in that it trains everyday people to become ocean racers – with 40 per cent of crew having never sailed before. Nikki skippered her non-professional Visit Seattle team as they raced 40,000 nautical mile around the world battling phenomenal sea states with 14 metre high waves, hurricane force winds, boat speeds up to 35 knots (equivalent to 40 mph), extreme heat and freezing conditions.

Anyone over the age of 18 can participate as a crew member in the Clipper Race and the oldest crew member of Nikki’s Visit Seattle team was 71 years old – almost three times her age. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non stop around the globe who founded the Clipper Race, has said of Nikki, “One of her strength is her leadership. She built a happy and cohesive team and made these 50 people, men and women of all ages and from different nations from around the world, buy into her team ethos “sailing with style’ it takes a special kind of person to be a Clipper Race Skipper – part teacher, counsellor and sports coach and so to lead her team to second place (and it was a nail-biting finish) is an amazing achievement.

Over the 11 months of the race, Nikki and her crew on the Visit Seattle yacht finished second overall in the 2017-18 Clipper Race, missing victory by just four points. She was the youngest person to ever skipper a Clipper Race yacht in the history of the race, and led her team to three outright race victories and two second placed finishes in 13 races. She was able to guide her novice crew safety around the world with little damage to the yacht despite surviving the roughest weather of the fleet through mountainous seas in the North Pacific crossing. Her crew could not be prouder of their achievements and the way Nikki coached them – really a quite remarkable feat as such a young age.

Nominated by Karla Graves


Finn Hawkins (aged 15)

The 15-year-old from St Austell, Cornwall secured a bronze medal in the Youth Olympic by finishing third in the 13th and final race of the boys’ windsurfing class.

Great Britain’s first individual medal of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hawkins keep his nerve in the final, showing an ability and attitude well in advance of his years and demonstrated great potential for the future.

Nominated by Gerald New

Emily Mueller (aged 15)

The Volvo Gill Optimist British National and Open championships concluded at Plas Heli, Pwllheli with overall victory for Bermuda’s Christian Ebbin and the British championship win going to Emily Mueller – who becomes only the third ever girl to win the national title.

Emily, of Royal Lymington Yacht Cub, was leading the charge for GBR along with her brother Ben at the mid-way point after two days of qualifying races. Following a further two days of gold fleet racing Emily managed to hold onto her lead to finish fourth overall in the open fleet and claim the British Optimist title.

Emily will now see her name on the trophy as only the third girl to ever win the British Optimist Nationals, along with doubt Olympic Gold Medalist Hannah Mills, and Vita Heathcot, who has just won silver in the girls 420 at the Youth Sailing world Championships in Texas.

“I usually do well within the girls’ fleet but I never thought I would be able to beat all the boys too,” said Emily, aged 15, following her last Optimist event before moving into 29ers. “I have done lots of hard training this past year with a great, fun group of sailors. It is the perfect way to end my seven years sailing the Optimist.”

Having just missed out on a podium finish at the Optimist Europeans in Holland this summer, Emily was able to take forward her experience from that event to achieve success in the nationals. “I learnt from the mistakes I made there and made sure I stayed calm this time around.   I realised that you have to work for every start, you don’t just do well in the next race because that’s how the rest of the event has been going.  I tried to stick to my normal routine, talking to friends and having a normal bedtime, to not make the event more stressful than usual. I wanted to have a really fun last few Oppie days. I had a low score from the qualifying series which meant that in the final series, I just had to maintain my lead by carrying on consistent sailing rather than having to gain firsts, which probably would have added more pressure.”

Nominated by Pauline Gray.