Nominations open for YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the Young Sailor of the Year 2019

The coveted Yachtsman of the Year trophy

Nominations are now open for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019. These awards are, without doubt, the most prestigious in UK yachting, having been established in 1955 and awarded to many of the great names in boating, including Sir Ben Ainslie, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Steve Curtis, Dee Caffari, Rodney Pattisson, Chay Blyth and Tracy Edwards.

Anyone can make a nomination for these awards and are actively encouraged to do so. It is not just championship and major event wins which are recognised, but great acts of seamanship too, such as Clipper Race crew member Gavin Read’s heroics during the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race earning him the trophy in 2016.

To qualify for the awards, the nominee must be the holder of a British passport. For the Young Sailor award, the nominee must be under the age of 19 on December 31, 2019.

The nomination period lasts for the month of August, so ensure you make your submission as soon as possible.

Please CLICK HERE to Make your nomination.

Clifford Webb, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association said, “This is your opportunity to nominate people who you feel deserve the recognition their achievements merit. The main award has been established for over 60 years and is known throughout the world of sailing and boating, with a list of luminaries that is unparalleled. It will be fascinating to see who will be receiving these magnificent awards in September.”

The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year Awards will be presented during a Gala Dinner at the Grand Café Southampton on  September 13, following on from Press Day at the Southampton International Boat Show. This will be a spectacular occasion, drawing together the great and good of the marine world, distinguished guests and many previous winners of the awards.

The Yachting Journalists’ Association is hugely appreciative of MS Amlin Yacht, the boat insurance specialists, title sponsorship of the awards. Their support enables the presentation to be held during an event which befits the stature of these historic trophies.

Limited tickets are available for this not-to-be-missed event and anyone may join the celebrations on the night. If you would like to attend then please contact the YJA Secretary, Chris English via email at who will send you the full range of options.

Find out more about the Yachting Journalists’ Association via

South Western House, home of the Grand Cafe

Etchells World Championship for Cowes

The Royal Yacht Squadron is to host the International Etchells World Championship in 2021.

Over 70 boats from the UK and overseas are expected to compete including a youth challenge from the UK, USA and Australia.

Cowes has previously hosted the world championship in 1996, 2007 and 2016 and the boats will be based at Cowes Yacht Haven.

Nominations for YJA Committee Closing

As a reminder, the YJA AGM will take place on July 31 this year at The Cruising Association, 1, Northey Street, Limehouse Basin, London E14 8BT on Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 6.00pm.

As the meeting will be followed by Dinner in The Cruising Association’s highly rated restaurant, why not come along and meet your fellow Members over a meal and a drink ?

Nominations for members wishing to join the Committee and support the YJA’s broader activities need to be proposed by close of business today, Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

Submit nominations to

YJA MS Amlin Gala Awards Dinner

South Western House, Southampton



September 13, 2019

If you have not yet reserved your tickets – you should!

Don’t miss out – we have limited spaces left.

Taking place on Press Day of the Southampton International Boat Show, you may be there anyway and this is going to be a huge event.

Dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of sailing, the list of awards this year includes the YJA MS Amlin Young Blogger of the Year, YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year Awards. These awards have been won by yachting luminaries including Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Sir Ben Ainslie, Alex Thompson, Dee Caffari and in 2018 we had joint winners –  Tracy Edwards and Nikki Henderson.

This is a black tie gala dinner being held at The Grand Café in Southampton.
The event will start at 1900hrs with a welcome drinks reception hosted by MS Amlin in the magnificent Grand Lobby of Great Western House before being called through for the formal dinner at 2000hrs. It is a three-course dinner, and includes a half bottle of wine with a cash bar.

Round the world sailor and presenter Conrad Humphreys will host the evening, with speeches, videos, presentations and the awards, mingling with the stars and personalities of the yachting and boating world. After dinner, you are then invited to the Grand Café Nightclub for dancing through to the early hours on a night to remember.

As previously advised, we hope you will understand that given the scale and stature of this event, the YJA Committee has opted to ask members for a £25 ticket contribution per person. Tickets for Members partners are £75.00, while ‘Non-members’ tickets are available at £165.00 per person. Corporate tables of ten are also available.

No bookings are confirmed until payment is received.


All bookings and enquiries to


Please click here for more information about the venue


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

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 insert the code YJA.

For editorial enquiries, contact the CA’s Press & PR Manager, Peta Stuart-Hunt, 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 and MS Amlin Yacht at


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.