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 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.



In association with:


YOTY and YSOTY awards 2017

Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year Awards

 Round the world tenacity is rewarded

Tottenham schoolboy clinches Young Sailor trophy

click on pictures to download hi-res files
Round the world solo yachtsman Alex Thomson has clinched the premier sailing award, the YJA’s Yachtsman of the Year. . Photo Jari Salo


Tottenham schoolboy, Montel Fagan-Jordan, aged 17 has won the Young Sailor of the Year trophy. Photo: Cliff Webb


Montel at the helm

To View a BBC News video

The magnificent Yachtsman of the Year trophy. photo: Sam Kurtul


Alex Thomson, left and Montel Fagan-Jordan, right,  receive yachting’s coveted trophies from YJA chairman Barry Pickthall, centre


Dateline: Trinity House, London. 

British round the world sailor Alex Thomson returned to the UK to be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year trophy  at the London Boat Show for his remarkable performance in last year’s Vendée Globe solo round the world race.

The 43-year-old Welshman from Hampshire, not only set the fastest times from the start at Les Sables d’Olonne, France to the Equator  (9 days 7hrs 2mins) and the Cape of Good Hope (17 days 22hrs 58 mins) but a 24 hour solo monohull record of 537 nautical miles – an average of 22.4 knots.


Joining an elite group of yachtsman that includes Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie, Thomson’s tenacity shone through on Day 13 of the race in overcoming a near-terminal setback when his Open 60 yacht Hugo Boss hit an unidentified object, snapping off the yacht’s starboard foil. The damage severely hampered his progress over the rest of the 27,000 mile course, but despite this and continued problems with his autopilot, Thomson still finished the race with the second fastest time on record – 74 days 19 h 35 min 15 sec – just 16 hours behind French winner Armel Le Cléac’h, setting a new British record for an East/west solo circumnavigation.


Voted on by members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association, Alex Thomson’s nomination beat two other great performances last year:  World No 1 ranked 49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell won gold in a history-making feat at the class World Championships in Porto, Portugal, and Paul Goodison winner of the Moth World Championships for the second year in succession.


This was Thomson’s 4th attempt at winning the Vendée Globe and he said at the presentation that he had promised his wife that this would be his last .  “The first two ended in retirement, and I finished 3rd in the 2012/13 race, and 24 hours before I returned completing this last one in 2nd, I rang my wife and said ‘The first question I will be asked is whether I will do the race again.” and she agreed that having finished 3rd and 2nd it would be criminal to not try one more to win the race.  So we start building a new boat in late Spring. There are three elements needed to win a race like this: Time, money…and the right people around you. We are putting those building blocks together now for a final attempt to win.”


Thomson had a few words of encouragement for 18-year-old Montel Fagan-Jordon, winner of the YJA’s Young Sailor of the Year award who appeared on BBC Breakfast Time TV yesterday to talk about his ambitions to follow in Thomson’s footsteps. The student from the Greig Academy  in Tottenham, London won his award for his leadership in first raising the money to restore the 1980s classic American Admiral’s Cup yacht Scaramouche, then leading a crew of fellow students to compete in last year’s 605 mile Fastnet Race.


Nominated by his school teacher, Jon Holt says of Montel: “This was unique yachting project in which a multi-cultural crew spent three years undertaking more than 50 fund-raising talks to buy and restore the famous Gérman Frers designed yacht.  Montel is able to helm almost any yacht. Not only was he the driving force behind Scaramouche — raising most of the money himself, but then developed as the helmsman, after receiving tuition from David Beford and Lawrie Smith. In 2017 he entered the Etchells 22 class Gertrude Cup and finished 4th overall before steering the Lloyds X55 class yacht during Cowes Week.  He steered Scaramouche for most of the Fastnet Race


Given that Scaramouche is an old yacht, which rolls madly, his ability to hold a course for four hours in the dark, surfing down wind without broaching was amazing. Scaramouche may have finished 142 out of 368, but as a school team in an old yacht, they more than proved their point.”

The famous trophy was inaugurated back in 1955 by Sir Max Aitken, and past holders include the biggest and most successful names in the sport. Eric Hiscock,  Francis Chichester, Olympic medalists Keith Musto, Rodney Pattisson and Iain Macdonald-Smith, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (4 time winner) Sir Chay Blyth, Eric Tabarly, Pete Goss, Dame Ellen MacArthur (twice) and of course Sir Ben Ainslie (also 4 times)

YJA Young Sailor of the Year, 2017

The 2017 YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award goes to 17-year-old Montel Fagan-Jordan from Tottenham, London in recognition of his leadership in first raising the money to restore the 1980s classic American Admiral’s Cup yacht Scarmouche, then leading a crew of fellow students from the Greig Academy in Tottenham to compete in last year’s 605-mile Fastnet Race.

Nominated by his school teacher, Jon Holt says of Montel: “This was unique yachting project in which a multi-cultural crew spent three years undertaking more than 50 fund-raising talks to buy and restore the famous Gérman Frers designed yacht.  Montel is able to helm almost any yacht. Not only was he the driving force behind Scaramouche — raising most of the money himself, but then developed as the helmsman, after receiving tuition from David Beford and Lawrie Smith. In 2017 he entered the Etchells 22 class Gertrude Cup and finished 4th overall before steering the Lloyds X55 class yacht Lutine during Cowes Week.  He steered Scaramouche for most of the Fastnet Race

Given that Scarmaouche is an old yacht, which rolls madly, his ability to hold a course for four hours in the dark, surfing down wind without broaching was amazing. Scaramouche may have finished 142 out of 368, but as a school team in an old yacht, they more than proved their point.”

Other worthy performances short-listed for the YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award were:

Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling (19)
Crispin and Tom won gold at the Youth Sailing World Championships sailing a 29er class dinghy at the event held in Auckland, New Zealand in December 2016. in December 2016. The two from Hayling Island and Birmingham also won a number of 29er domestic and international events including the 29er Inland Championships, a Grand Prix event and Eurocup. Beaumont and Darling have since transitioned to the Olympic 470 class and now part of the British Sailing Team’s Podium Potential Pathway squad.

Matilda Nicholls (16)
Winner of the Laser Radial Girls under 17 World Championships. Matilda, who started sailing in Bermuda in an Optimist when she was eight, has forged herself a reputation as one of the brightest young British sailing stars having also captured Laser 4.7 under-16 European Championship gold last year. She ended the season by scooping the Women’s Laser Radial Inland National Championship at Rutland Water.

The Portsmouth based sailor also competed in her first RYA Youth Nationals at Hayling Island, competing in the girls’ Laser Radial class where she finished runner-up in the under-19 category and fourth in the under-21s age group.

The success of this Portsmouth High School student was crowned when became the Under-17 Champion at the Laser Radial Youth Worlds in Nieuwpoort, Belgium in August. She went on to compete at the senior National Championships later in the summer where she finished eighth overall and first youth girl



17 year old Montel Fagan-Jordan from the Greig Academy in Tottenham; London is presented with the YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award by former Olympic Silver medalist and Yachtsman of the Year winner Keith Musto MBE; and Barry Pickthall; Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Photo: Cliff Webb


Barry Pickthall, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association addressing the annual Yachtsman of the Year Awards Ceremony at Trinity House, London. Photo: Cliff Webb


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Six Bells

Six Bells

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of two of our media family in December — Television sports editor Neil Mallard, a long-standing YJA committee member, and BBC broadcaster Dennis Skillicorn, long time friend of the YJA.

NEIL MALLARDA personal tribute by Bob Fisher
Neil Mallard died three days short of his 87th Birthday.  A career in journalism began with the Wembley News in 1946 and was interrupted by National Service two years later. Demobbed, he went to the Paddington Mercury, and from there to the Press Office in Wembley Stadium. At this time he moved frequently but always with personal promotion in mind. Fleet Street was an obvious aim.  It came with a move to the Sports Desk of the News Chronicle.

Having made up his mind that the future of sporting coverage lay in film and television, he moved to Paramount Newsreels.  Paramount moved out of Britain without Neil who stayed at the studios to assist in the formation of a new consortium.  The BBC, together with ABC Australia, CBC Canada, NBC of the United States, the Rank Organisation and shortly after, Reuters, formed the British Commonwealth International News Agency (subsequently Visnews, the largest of its type in the world.) Neil’s part in this was to establish bureau throughout the world with camera crews working with local broadcasters.  These now form part of Reuters Television and are a lasting tribute to Neil, who became the first Sports Editor of the agency.
He covered every sport, none more so than football, and it was this sport in 1970 that brought me close to Neil. I was sent to Mexico by the BBC to gather promotion material for the forthcoming World Cup.  England were the holders and my job was to counter the general feeling that it was going to happen in Wembley.  My first need was a film crew and my contact for this was Neil, who, at the time, was busier than a flea on a new dog. I found him (or was it the other way around?) when I was in a police cell reporting the theft of some stills cameras.  Neil helped me successfully in that situation and also provided me with a film crew for a week.
The cameraman was one Antonio Halik, who Neil chose because of his wide-ranging contacts (starting with the President of Mexico!) With Halik, I only had to suggest a move and it happened – Neil’s choice of man-for-the-job proved perfect. And I was only one of a multitude of short-term film producers with similar needs.  Little wonder that Neil had no time to communicate with home – my call to his wife, Ros, when I returned was the first she had had for some time.
Neil and I kept in contact for years after as his career continued to blossom in sports in which I was directly, or indirectly connected.  He was into sailing with events ranging from the Whitbread Round the World Race – his Chilean contacts resulting in film of boat rounding Cape Horn — and that in the 1973/4 race – to the Admiral’s Cup (and with it the 1979 Fastnet disaster) and the America’s Cup, where, in 2013, we met with Stan Honey who explained clearly what the graphics he had devised could do for the television coverage of the Cup. Neil listened carefully and relayed the opportunities to television stations all over the world — the coverage was sensational. He was at it again in Bermuda last year.
Neil’s own love of motor racing quickly put him in touch with Bernie Ecclestone and began a friendship and working partnership that lasted until his death. FOCA TV was the result of this liaison — possibly the most watched television sport today.
His first involvement with coverage of the Olympic Games was at Wembley in 1948 and he never missed another together with the spin-offs like the Commonwealth Games, or the Paralympic Games, whose television coverage he pioneered when there was no international interest.  That may sound strange today, but Neil had a deliberate campaigning spirit throughout his 73 years in the business.
When Neil said: “Leave it to me.” he meant it and one could do just that knowing that an answer would be forthcoming very shortly.
Neil Mallard is survived by his wife Ros and three sons, Tim, Duncan and Giles who all followed their Father into broadcasting.

Dennis Skillicorn.  Born 24.1.32  died 21. 12. 17 aged 85  Tribute by Barry Pickthall

Broadcaster Dennis Skillicorn was the first journalist to be embedded on round the world race yacht, bringing alive the trials, triumphs and tribulations of watch routines and rushing downwind through plumes of spray.  He joined the crew of Creighton’s Naturally in the 1985/6 Whitbread round the World Race and later aboard the British Steel Challenge yacht Commercial Union Assurance.
Creighton’s Naturally was one of the last to finish, but with Dennis reporting live from the Needles all the way to the finish line in Southampton Water, the yacht received the biggest welcome home. After that, the potential for embedding a journalist within the crew was fully appreciated and led to the video feeds that now reach our computers every day from the current Volvo Ocean Race yachts.
Ali McKichan, a crew member on Commercial Union Assurance during the 1992/3 British Steel Challenge, recalls the warm, kind-hearted side of Dennis Skillicorn’s character. “He always had an amusing story to get us through the long night watches.  I particularly loved it when it was his role to wake the ongoing watch. Unlike others, Dennis would say softly. “Good morning Ma’am. The sun is shining, the wind is fair and I have a wonderful cooked breakfast ready for you in the saloon” – all delivered in that beautiful lilting voice of his. We all knew none of it was true, but it definitely made it easier getting out of our bunks!”
Born in 1932, Dennis grew up the Northwest shipbuilding town of Burrow-in-Furness and began an apprenticeship there until called up to do his National Service in the Royal Navy. Much of his time was spent working in Portsmouth Dockyard and he stayed rooted in the South of England for the rest of his life.
A born optimist and opportunist — he never turned down the chance of reporting live aboard a yacht however far it would take him — and treated life in exactly the same way. In 1953 when working as a salesman peddling gaskets to the big liners coming in and out of Southampton, he met his wife Marie at a friend’s wedding and proposed the same weekend. They were married a year later and enjoyed a fulfilled life together.
Their daughter Jane, who followed in her mother’s foot-steps as a teacher, recalls the day her dad decided he wanted to become a broadcaster. “He had read about plans the BBC had to start a series of regional radio stations and came home to tell us that he was going to become a journalist with BBC Radio Solent. We didn’t think too much of it at the time but he began volunteering on local hospital radio before starting to submit stories to the BBC. He was lucky to have a really understanding boss who allowed him time off to develop his broadcasting skills.”
At the start of this career change, the family relied on Marie’s wages as a teacher to make ends meet, while Dennis carved out a niche within the BBC reporting on the unusual, often zany characters and their achievements rather than hard news. Starting with Radio Solent, he soon became a regular on BBC 4, Radio 5 Live and later on BBC South TV.
During the 1960s and ‘70s Dennis became the voice of Cowes Week, reporting directly from the decks of the 1930s J Class yacht Velsheda and anything else he could hitch a ride on. His first regular programme on BBC TV was ‘Country Diary’, followed by the sailing programme ‘Open Waters’.
He travelled widely and enjoyed a lifetime of wonderfully risky and exhilarating experiences. He flew in a Harrier jump jet, lived in a snow hole with the SAS, did a parachute jump into the sea with the Parachute Regiment and stood atop every Needle at the western end of the Isle of Wight suspended from a helicopter.
In later years, Dennis took up rowing his 9ft inflatable dinghy, going out with the first lock opening at Hythe Marina each morning in an effort to keep fit. He ventured as far as Portsmouth and Lymington, before announcing in 2001 at the age of 69 while suffering a double hernia that he would attempt to row around the Isle of Wight. He did so that August, completing the 60 miles in 19 hours.  He did it without fanfare or publicity simply to prove to himself that he could, but was rewarded at the following Boat Show in London when Avon presented him with a new replacement for his aging Redstart dinghy.
Dennis had a knack for getting on with people from any social group. His warm-hearted broadcasts turned Theo the tramp into something of a local celebrity, and he recorded the moving accounts of those who survived the sinking of the Titanic and D-Day landings. He made a TV series driving a horse-drawn gipsy caravan along the Pilgrim Way from Winchester to Canterbury recording the memories of travellers past, and built up a great personal relationship with Lord Mountbatten, often sharing a whisky and a few tales at his Lordship’s stately home at Broadlands near Southampton.
When the BBC tried to introduce a retirement policy at the age of 75, Dennis joined a group of fellow pensioners to form ‘The Zimmers’ to voice the feelings of isolation and imprisonment suffered by the elderly. They recorded a cover version of the Who’s  ‘My Generation’ at the famous Abby Road studios in London and the record climbed to No 26 in the UK Singles Chart in May 2007 Go to:
His last interview, conducted at the age of 80, was with the Duke of Edinburgh. The two got on so well that Dennis ended up helping Prince Philip mend ornaments while they chatted.
Sailing TV broadcaster Matt Sheahan says of Dennis. “He was an absolute gentleman and a great reporter. He had a gentle but informed style that kept me thinking about the intelligent side of journalism.”
Dennis supported his two children Roger and Jane in achieving their dreams and goals. Jane became a teacher of disabled children and he took a keen interest not only in her vocation but supported other disability organisations including the Solent Dolphin charity, for which he skippered the MV Allision McGregor, catamaran based close to his home in Hythe Marina, Southampton, providing trips for people with disabilities. He was just as supportive for Roger’s desire to reach for the skies and equally proud when he rose to the ranks of Senior Pilot with British Airways.
Dennis Skillicorn’s extensive library of radio interviews and broadcasts has been saved for posterity and will be archived at the Wessex Film and Sound Archive based in Winchester.
Dennis is survived by his two children Roger and Jane and two grandchildren. He died peacefully on December 21stsurrounded by his family and close friends. His funeral will take place at Romsey Crematorium at 16:00 on Wednesday, January 10.

Seeking Britain


Finalists announced for
YJA Yachtsman of the Year 2017
and YJA Young Sailor of the Year 2017

 November 22.

Racing duo Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, the World Number One ranked 49er pair, Paul Goodison, who won back-to-back world titles in the Moth World Championships and round the world yachtsman Alex Thompson who gained a hard won second place in the latest Vendée Globe race are shortlisted for the coveted 2017 YJA Yachtsman of the Year award.

Finalists for the YJA Young Sailor of the Year 2017 Award are another racing duo, Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling who won gold in the Youth Sailing World Championships in the 29er class,  Montel Fagan-Jordan the driving force behind a multi-cultural yachting project, and  Matilda Nicholls, Laser Radial Girls Under 17 World Champion.

YJA Yachtsman of the Year

•     Dylan Fletcher & Stuart Bithell   
For becoming the World number one ranked 49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell when they won gold in a history-making feat at the class World Championships in Porto, Portugal.In a week of extremes which saw the first two days hampered by light winds and fog, and the penultimate day fraught with too much breeze, the final day’s theatre style racing was replaced by four final gold fleet races for the 49ers.Lining up as overnight leaders, European Champions Fletcher and t Bithell kept the chasing pack at bay to seal gold by four points. With New Zealand having occupied the World title for the past six years, Fletcher-Bithell made history becoming the first Brits to top the podium since 2007 when their Coach Ben Rhodes, along with Stevie Morrison, won the event along the coast in Cascais.

•     Paul Goodison               

YOTY 2017

Britain’s top yachting awards
Search is on to find the YJA Yachtsman of the Year 2017 and YJA Young Sailor of the Year 2017
New Young Bloggers Award

YJA Chairman Barry Pickthall, left and Pete Bradshaw, chief executive of Premier Marinas, launch the awards.
All Photos: Sam Kurtul

Nominations for Yachtsman and Young Sailor now closed

Nominations for the 2017 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards have opened to start the selection process of finding Britain’s top Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the year.

The new YJA Young Bloggers Competition, intended to give young bloggers, journalists,video and photographers and aspiring radio presenters a chance to get their first break in yachting journalism has also been launched.

Nominations for both awards and the Young Bloggers competition were launched at the Southampton Boat Show, and close on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Nominations may be made online via the YJA website as well as the Boat Show and Premier Marinas websites. Nomination forms were also be available on other exhibition stands, and are available at yacht clubs, and all nine Premier Marinas in the South.

The prestigious yachting awards opened at a reception hosted by Premier Marinas, attended by past award winners and members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association.

YJA Chairman Barry Pickthall said: “Our awards represent the pinnacle of sailing achievement and are a measure of the very best skills and prowess among established yachtsmen and women and the stars of the future. The current Yachtsman of the Year also demonstrated extreme bravery.”

Nominations for the two prestigious awards may be made by the public and anyone within the yachting community and can include those invoved in dinghy sailing, windsurfing, offshore and ocean racing, short-handed and long distance cruising and from the world of power boating. Entries for the Young Bloggers competition are expected to attract interest from young journalists and photographers anxious to break into yachting journalism.

The awards provide an opportunity for the public to make their yachting heroes or rising stars and celebrate the achievements of up and coming talent.

Barry Pickthall encourages the yachting community to make their nominations without delay. “Don’t rely on someone else to nominate successes achieved by British yachtsmen and women or the Young Sailor of the Year award which gives enormous inspiration and encuragement to tomorrow’s world champions. Nominating couldn’t be simpler.”

Nominations can be made online at or by posting back one of the nomination cards distributed throughout the Boat Show to yacht clubs across the country and from any Premier Marinas’ site across the south of England.

Nominations for the Yachtsman and Young Sailor awards are welcome until Sunday, October 29, 2017. Entries for the Young Bloggers competition close on November 30. The winners for each award will be announced on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at Trinity House, London.

Established in 1955 by Sir Max Aitken, Battle of Britain pilot, chirman of Express Newspapers and himself a leading yachtsman in both sail and power, the Yachtsman of the Year is now established as one of the top yachting honours. Previous winners include Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and four time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Ben Ainslie. The Young Sailor award was first made in 1983.

The current title holders are Gavin Reid, a 28-year-old adventurer who took part in the 2015-2016 Clipper Round the World Race for amateur sailors, for his heroic mid-ocean rescue of a sailor found trapped at the top of the mast on another yacht with the 2016 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award and Elliott Kuzyk, then 15, from Poole, Dorset who won the 2016 Young Sailor award after winning the 2016 Topper World championship.

Current Yachtsman of the
Year, Gavin Reid Current Young Sailor of the Year, Elliott Kuzyk

Current Yachtsman of the
Year, Gavin Reid
Current Young Sailor of the Year, Elliott Kuzyk

NOMINATIONS may be made for the Yachtsman and Young Sailor awards and the new YJA Blogger competition may be made below.