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.”