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: www.yachtracingforum.com


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

Major investment for propellor manufacturer

The floating pontoon for workboats

Seawork International, the marine industry’s dedicated showcase for the commercial marine and workboat markets., closed its doors this evening on a high note with confirmation of one of the marine industry’s largest single investments of the year.

The exhibition  provided a unique combination of undercover exhibition space, open air demonstrations and floating displays, all occurring in the waterfront atmosphere of Southampton’s Mayflower Park.

The investment was confirmed by exhibitor, Southampton=based CJR Propulsion by announcing the installation of £4million of new manufacturing equipment at its Southampton facility.

Representing one of the marine industry’s largest single investments of 2018, the newly commissioned apparatus, and related software, will integrate seamlessly with CJR’s existing computational fluid dynamics department and according to the firm will create an end-to-end, data-driven design and manufacturing process, boasting high levels of automation.

The company hopes the new equipment will help position the company as one of the world’s most technically advanced propulsion experts and, over time, help improve quality and efficiency standards across the industry, as CJR Propulsion’s managing director, Mark Russell, explaineds:

“On a recent project, the customer estimated they will save ten percent on their annual fuel bill because of our props, so there are real, tangible benefits for boat builder or end user. We also know we can cut the time from initial contact to delivery by over 60 percent on new projects, without adding anything to the final cost so, across the board, this is great news for all our clients.”

To house the new equipment, CJR Propulsion has acquired an adjacent facility to its Southampton works, increasing its manufacturing space by more than 50 percent. The company is also providing existing staff with the opportunity to retrain to ensure the increased levels of automation doesn’t result in job losses.

The exhibition itself was opened by UK Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani. and covered 18,000m² of undercover space spread over two purpose-built exhibition halls, purpose built pontoons for more than 70 vessels and floating exhibits, providing demonstrations out on the water, quayside area for trailers, large exhibits and outdoor demonstrations and conference and meeting facilities.

Dee Caffari’s joy in final Volvo in port race

An overjoyed Dee Caffari after The Hague stopover. Brunel in-Port Race.  Photo: Marina Garcia/Volvo Ocean Race



It took until the final In-Port Race, but Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic moved off the bottom of the race leaderboard on Saturday, after securing sixth place in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The day started with SHK/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic with equal points on the overall race leaderboard. The tie-break mechanism is the finishing position in the In-Port Race Series and there, David Witt’s Scallywags held the advantage by a three-point margin.

But if Dee, a former YJA Yachtsman of the Year,  could level the score or get ahead on the In-Port Series leaderboard, then her team would lift themselves into a sixth place finish overall by winning the tie-break.

A lot of things would need to go right for Dee, and incredibly, it all came to pass.

It didn’t look good early when Turn the Tide on Plastic was penalised for not keeping clear of team AkzoNobel on a close cross. But at the next mark rounding, Scallywag hooked onto the mark, and was stopped while the rest of the fleet sailed past.

Eventually they freed themselves from the mark, but by then they were well behind and running out of time to catch up.

The last place result for Scallywag, combined with a hard-fought fourth place finish for Turn the Tide on Plastic, means Dee Caffari’s team sit in sixth place for the first time in the race.

“We had a good race, we even took a penalty today. But we had very good boat speed, made some good calls, and thankfully there were a couple of boats between us and Scallywag,” an overjoyed Dee said.

“It’s the best way to finish the campaign for us. We’ll all go away knowing we made some good finishes and and were able to come back. People didn’t know if we could do it, but we have, and it’s just rounded it all off to finish like this.”

That wasn’t the only scoreboard move on Saturday. Hometown hero Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel had a perfect start and led the race from beginning to end.

That win, combined with a third place finish on Saturday by team AkzoNobel, means the two Dutch skippers finished tied for third in the In-Port Race Series, with Team Brunel taking the tie-break for the final podium spot by virtue of a better finishing position in the final race.

“We are really happy of course, not just for ourselves but also for the Dutch public. To have us winning and team AkzoNoble come in third you can’t ask for much more than that,” Bekking said.

“It’s nice to finish racing here where I started my career sailing offshore. Very happy to finish it this way, and thankful for all the support here.”

For Bekking, the race victory puts a stamp on a career that has included eight editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. It was a fantastic day for the Dutch sailing hero to take a win.

The Brunel In-Port Race marks the last competition in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Announcements concerning the next race can be expected shortly.

Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard – Final
1. MAPFRE – 64 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team – 56 points
3. Team Brunel – 50 points
4. team AkzoNobel – 50 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 35 points
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 25 points
7. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 25 points

Volvo Ocean Race Overall Points Leaderboard – Final
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 73 points
2. MAPFRE – 70 points
3. Team Brunel – 69 points
4. team AkzoNobel – 59 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 39 points
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 32 points *
7. SHK / Scallywag – 32 points *

Tracy re-united with her Maiden crew


Reunion. From left to right: Sally Hunter (neé Creaser), Foredeck; Jeni Mundy, Electronics/Foredeck; Dawn Riley, Diver/Sail Trimmer; Tanja Visser, Sailmaker/Photographer; Jo Gooding, Cook; Claire Warren (neé Russell), Doctor; Mikaela Von Koskull, Helm/Sail Trimmer; Angela Heath (neé Farrell), Sail trimmer; Sarah Davies, First Reserve; Mandy Swan Neal, Rigger; Tracy Edwards MBE, Skipper
Photo credit: Michael Chester / The Maiden Factor

Yachtswoman, Tracy Edwards MBE, the first woman to hold theYJA Yachtsman of the Year title, is reuniting her legendary Maiden crew for the first time since 1990 when they became the first all female  team to sail around the World and into the record books

The crew gained acclaim for their successes in the Whitbread Round The World Race in 1989-90,  where they defied expectations and shattered glass ceilings; setting the best result for a British boat since 1977, which has remained unbeaten to this day. Their incredible story is currently being turned into a new documentary, produced by New Black Films. In honour of their reunion, the renowned sailors were treated to a private screening preview of the film currently in production, among family and friends at BAFTA in London. A story about guts, courage and determination, the documentary is set to chronicle the team’s 167-day, 32,018-mile journey around the globe, where they overcame icebergs, a tornado and five days without food. Their achievement shattered stereotypes, broke  records and paved the  way for women in sport and beyond.

Tracy, Maiden’s Skipper, said: “Today, for the first time since the end of the Whitbread, the Maiden crew are reunited.  We spent nine months together during the race and shared a truly unique experience and bond.

It has been wonderful to get back together and share  our stories and enjoy watching a preview of the  forthcoming documentary.

“Back in 1989 many people did not believe that a group of women sailors could take on such a notorious challenge, and many wrote off our chances. We not only completed the race but did so in an impressive time, coming second in our class, ahead of many all -male crews. Our  accomplishment  reached beyond the world of sailing showing that with the right support and  plenty of belief, women can do anything. ”

“Over the past 30 years, the opportunities available to women have been evolving for the better.  However, there is still so much to be done. Thanks to the generous support of  HRH Princess Haya’s  global initiative: ‘Anything is Possible’ , which supports and inspires the best in people, Maiden will set sail again this September, promoting and campaigning for educational equality across the globe.

We hope the next chapter in Maiden’s story will inspire  and empower a new generation of young girls to fulfil their dreams and reach their potential.”

Maiden will set sail later this year from Southampton to Jordan on the first leg of her three year world tour raising awareness for girls’ education. Maiden is  currently still in production stages and is  scheduled for release later this year

Tracy made history in 1989/90 as Skipper of the first all female team to compete in the Whitbread  Round The World Race. Her  accomplishment was recognised by the Queen when she  was awarded the MBE. She also became the first woman to be awarded the YJA’s Yachtsman of the Year Trophy.

She is currently restoring her beloved yacht, Maiden and will be taking her on another tour with a

The foundation’s mission is to empower and educate girls. The charities it supports develop community led sustainable programmes which provide opportunities for girls to meet their potential.

Through funding, it aims to make a significant difference to girls around the world, advocate for equal human rights, and enable girls to access the basic human right to an education.  ‘Anything is Possible’, a global initiative which will support and inspire the best in people. The initiative set up by HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein honours the legacy of her father, HM King Hussein I, who believed that with faith, honour and courage ‘Anything is Possible’. While less than a year old, AIP has already inspired people to realise life-long goals and tackle what they previously believed impossible.

AIP supported a successful summit attempt of Mount Everest and is now championing a three-year global voyage by Maiden, a boat famed for carrying the first  all female team to sail around the world  and into the record books.

Sir Robin relives Golden Globe

RKJ arrives
Sir Robin is welcomed to Les Sables d’Olonne

Dateline: Les Sables d’Olonne, France, Monday

The Golden Globe Race village in Les Sables d’Olonne opened with a bang over the weekend as 9,000 visitors welcomed 17 of the GGR skippers into town at the end the SITRaN Challenge Race from Falmouth, UK
The greatest applause was reserved for Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, long time friend of the YJA, and his famous Suhaili yacht, winner of the first Golden Globe Race back in 1968/69, and first man to sail solo non-stop around the Globe. Hundreds gathered on the dockside all vying to catch his lines or eye, and thousands more cheered from vantage points around the marina. Suhaili was escorted the last 25 miles from Ile-d-Yeu by a fleet of yachts representing the French section of the Cruising Association.
“I expected a warm welcome, but nothing this big” said Sir Robin. Answering questions on the dock, he added: “The Golden Globe Race is a great adventure involving ordinary but very seaworthy boats and ordinary people who will grow to be quite extraordinary by the time they return to Les Sables d’Olonne. Mark my words, those who finish will become legends in their own right.”
Asked if he felt a yearning to start with these skippers, the three-time circumnavigator smiled: “Yes – but 50 years ago!”
Did he have any pearls of wisdom to offer this new generation of global skippers? “Yes, my advice to these skippers is to look after your boat – and your boat will look after you.”

Cliff takes the YJA helm

new chairman
Cliff Webb, elected Chairman of the YJA

The Yachting Journalists’ Association has  a new chairman.  Clifford Webb, head of a broadcast production company focussing on sailing, takes over from yachting journalist Barry Pickthall.

Cliff is presently founder and CEO of 1080 Media TV, an award winning broadcast production company established 10 years, which is mid-production with the third edition of  the successful ‘The Race of Their Lives’ TV series.

This is seven  one-hour adventure documentaries about the people taking part in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and which has grown to reach a global audience over the past five years. The company also covers other sports of all types,  and offers audio visual services to its international roster of clients.

Cliff’s earlier career included 12-years as a photo-journalist covering, among other sports, the windsurfing world tour as the official photographer; the same for Wembley Stadium and for other major sporting events. He then became the international media director for the windsurf world tour for a four year period before leaving to establish an events management and TV production company.

This he ran for many successful years, which included covering all of the Rolex international sailing events as their official  broadcast company, and the World Match Racing Tour as host broadcaster, where he was able to innovate with live coverage concepts. The company also covered countless other international events across all aspects of sailing, including the live ‘in-house’ coverage for BMW Oracle during the 2010 America’s Cup in Valencia. He then moved on to help establish Team Korea, South Korea’s first ever entry into the America’s Cup where he took the role of Media Director.

He is married with two children in their late teens.

Looking ahead  . . .

Cliff says:  “The Yachting Journalists’ Association has a long tradition of promoting leisure boating in all its forms, and is internationally recognised for its ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ award that dates back to 1955, so the decision to step up from the Committee to the role of Chairman of this illustrious Association, was not one to be taken lightly. Following in the footsteps of the many eminent chairmen that have gone before, I hope that we as the Committee can help support, encourage and build on the triumphs that our members achieve on a daily basis around the world in their coverage.

“One of the goals we are actively targeting is an increase in membership, especially given the diverse nature in which ‘media’ is now created and consumed by everyone through the extraordinary growth of social media in the past few years. The ‘traditional’ journalists and photographers that I have worked with for many years are still there, but the diversity and ease in being able to reach an eager audience nowadays is possible like never before in history. Anyone with a mobile phone can send an image, a video or a cleverly written ‘tweet’ to a global community, and while some may argue that the market is becoming diluted for our business through this, others have leapt at the opportunity and found a way to grow their income. The YJA has to move with the times too, and opening up membership to those working in sailing and the wider marine industry through PR, advertising and public information services, plus students of journalism was a hugely positive step that we want to encourage and rapidly grow now.

“The recently established ‘Young Bloggers Competition’ was the perfect showcase for entrants under 21 years of age, and the winners were delighted with the GoPro camera they won, together with the prestige of being publicly recognised, and we hope that with this encouragement and recognition, they can go on to make a successful career in the business. This too is one of our goals and visions, which is to support, encourage and attract newcomers, being able to give them the benefit of our experience and see them blossom. I have been fortunate to have been able to do this for quite a few years now, having brought in many camera operators, editors and scriptwriters to the amazing world of sailing for the first time. Right now we have a camera operator who had never sailed before, who is on the Clipper Race, documenting everything from her own training through to race finish after 18 months of hard, and continually improving, creative work. Two of the present VOR On Board reporters went through the same process with us on the Clipper Race, and it’s marvellous to enjoy their success and see them continuing to achieve. All of our members can contribute to this goal, and encourage others to join.

“We are also embarking on a new initiative to expand our sphere of benefits for the core of the Association, our members, and we are looking for support from companies involved in all aspects of the marine, sailing and boating industries in this endeavour, the markets that our members are actively involved with. We will be launching a ‘partners’ opportunity very shortly, which will encompass the ‘Yachtsman of the Year Award’, the winners of which are a veritable ‘who’s who’ of sailing, and also the ‘Young Sailor of The Year award’, which has proven extremely successful too. This along with a revised and upgraded website where all of our members can showcase their work and be contacted directly, plus a regular newsletter, and an enhanced social media presence.

“It’s going to take some time to get the YJA into the updated shape that we feel this historic Association merits, but we are determined that with a lot of help and support from everyone involved now, old and young, we can create a modern, thriving and forward looking Yachting Journalists’ Association that can pave the way for future generations in the business, whatever shape that future or ‘business’ may take.”

2017 Blogger winners


Dateline March 5, 2018:  Monique (15) and her brother Ollie Vennis-Ozanne (13) from Fareham, Hampshire, are worthy winners of the first YJA Young Blogger of the Year Competition.   Their video on last year’s Ovington Junior Inland Sailing Championship at Rutland Water was headlined at the Prizegiving held at the RYA Dinghy Show, Alexandra Palace, London on Saturday, March 3.  The judges determined that this young brother and sister team, who are looking to make a first break into sailing journalism. showed remarkable professionalism, mixing drone footage with crew interviews and running commentary

Monique and Ollie Vennis-Ozanne won the latest GoPro video camera presented  by 1080 Media TV, whose managing director, Cliff Webb said:  “The standard of entries for this first YJA Young Blogger Competition  was encouragingly high and we as a company would be very happy to give these two an opportunity to gain work experience within the industry.”

A quartet of talented youngsters were shortlisted from a wide entry encompassing all media skills from video, photography, standard blogs to an e.book and paintings.

Runners up:

Ollie Perkins (16) from Guildford, Surrey, for his widely praised book on weather forcasting titled  The Message of the Clouds

Andrew Shrimpton (16) from Gosport for his interesting video presentation on the 2016 Round The Island Race.

 ‘Highly Commended’ entries

Frances Fox (16) from Bath who wrote an instructive blog titled Top 10 Topper Tips 

Cathal McCahey (21) from Dublin who made an instructional video news presentation profiling Ireland’s 2020 49er Olympic hopefuls;

James Tomlinson (17) from Cowes, Isle of Wight for his illustrated blog on a day of racing in the Solent

Charlie Cadin (15) from Jersey for his video presentation on the 2017 Round the Island

Julius Hornung (19) from Portsmouth for his photographic blog covering a day’s yacht racing in the Solent

Daniel Keenan (15) from Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire for his blog on competing in the RYA Zoning Junior dinghy championships at Rutland Water

Rosa May-Brown (15) from Teignmouth, Devon for her illustrated guide on what to pack for a sea voyage

Yana Skvortsova (16) from Guildford, Surrey for her stylised paintings of Topper dinghies racing.



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