Press Information – 21st December 2023
Immediate release

2023 YJA Yachting Awards – Finalists Revealed Amidst a Thrilling Year of Nominations

The finalists for the most prestigious awards in British yachting – the 2023 YJA Yachtsman of the Year, the YJA Young Sailor of the Year and the YJA Young Journalist of the Year have been decided.

”2023 has been a bumper year for nominations and we had both young and older people put forward from all forms of watersports including sailing, wing foiling, kiting and windsurfing,” comments Clifford Webb, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association. “Selecting the finalists was an extremely difficult task for the YJA Committee given the calibre of the nominees, but after much deliberation, we now have a final shortlist. Thank you to everyone who made such fabulous nominations to be considered.” He continued, ‘’I am also delighted to announce that we now have a new venue for the awards and also a new awards supporter’’.

The YJA Membership will be invited to cast their votes to select the winners between 22nd January and 9th February 2024.

Congratulations to all those who were nominated, and to those who have made the shortlist for the awards.

2023 Nominees for the YJA Yachtsman of the Year

  • Charlie Cumbley – A talented dinghy sailor with many championship titles to his name, Charlie has been nominated for his OK European Championship win on Lake Garda in 2023 off the back of his 2022 OK World Championship title.
  • Ellie Aldridge – An outstanding year in Formula Kite for Ellie, with a silver at the 2023 world championships followed by gold at the European championships, and selection for Team GB for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
  • Emma Wilson – already a Team GB windsurfing bronze medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and in 2023, Emma won Gold at the World Cup, won a European Championship Bronze medal, an Olympic Test Event Silver medal, and Bronze at the 2023 World Championships. In 2024 she will be going for Gold in Marseilles at the 2024 Olympics in France.
  • Lawrie Smith – A household name to many with his experience of sailing, Lawrie has had an exceptional year on the water in 2023, winning the 75th Edinburgh Cup and the prestigious Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup.


2023 Nominees for the YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award

  • Ben Greenhalgh – A rising star and a double world champion in 2023, winning the RS Tera Worlds and the RS Feva Worlds in the same year.
  • Charlie Gran and Sam Webb – who are the 2023 UK 29er National Champions, finished 8th at the Endeavour Trophy, while beating many multiple national and world champions, and were selected to represent Team GB at the Youth Sailing Worlds in December, finishing a hugely creditable 4th.
  • Jess Powell – Jess won the Topper National Championships in 2023, and has made the transition to the ILCA4 class in 2023, dominating with six straight wins at an Autumn qualifier.

The Awards
The awards presentation will take place on Saturday 17th February 2024 at the BoatLife event at the NEC, where the winners will be presented, not only with the coveted trophies, but also with a gift from our awards’ supporter Henri Lloyd.

Graham Allen, CEO, Henri-Lloyd said, “Henri-Lloyd is delighted to be involved as a sponsor for this year’s prestigious YJA Awards.  With over 60 years of experience keeping sailors safe, warm and comfortable, we know how important it is to have the very best technical performance apparel to hand.  In addition to the trophies, each of the three category winners will be presented with some of the latest kit from the Henri-Lloyd range, further enabling them to enjoy fully their time and achievements on and off the water, whatever the conditions.”

Richard Dove, MD BoatLife Events added, “We are honoured to be the hosts for the YJA awards in February and are very excited to be able to support the celebration. BoatLife will provide a great central UK platform to bring together the industry for these prestigious awards, recognising the outstanding achievements and commitments made by all of the nominees.”

For further information: 

Find out more about the Yachting Journalists’ Association
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Contact: Cliff Webb or


Yachting Journalists’ Association
Telephone: +44 0208 7411310