THE Yachting Journalists’ Association organises the nominations and elections for the YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award and the Young Sailor of the Year Award, both of which may be sponsored.
The Yachtsman of the Year Award was initiated in 1955 by the late Sir Max Aitken, Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, chairman of Express Newspapers and himself a leading yachtsman in both sail and power. He subsequently won the award in 1977 in recognition of his services to the sport. He commissioned the Yachtsman of the Year trophy which now bears the names of the greatest achievers in British yachting over the past five decades.
For many years, Sir Max organised the selection procedure and presentation ceremony for the Award on the openingday of the annual London Boat Show at Earls Court. In 1979, Sir Max donated the trophy and its management to the YJA which has been responsible for the organisation of the Award ever since. The Award is made to the British person whose attainment in the previous year most justifies such a title. The winner jolds the trophy for a year and is given a replica.
The Young Sailor of the Year award was initiated in 1993 to recognise endeavour and achievement by young sailors. The overall winner is selected from a ballot among members of the YJA.
The Award is open to young sailors who will not have attained their 19th birthday before December 31 and who are in possession of a British passport or are immediately eligible to receive a British passport.
Since its introduction, two winners of the Young Sailor of the Year award have subsequently gone on to win the Yachtsman of the Year trophy in their early twenties.
Nominations for either award may be made by anyone via the YJA website and the closing date is October 31.
From the nominations received for both awards the YJA Committee, with representatives from the RYA, select a short list of mames on which the YJA membership vote to decide the overall winners. Details of those short-listed for both awards are announced at the end of November.
The YJA also makes special swards from time to time to acknowldege services to yachting.