Photo: Sam Kurtul

By Mark Jardine

Time is running out to make your nominations for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019. Anyone can make a nomination for these awards and you are actively encouraged to do so. It is not just championship and major event wins which are recognised, but great acts of seamanship too.

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 closes at the end August, so ensure you make your submission as soon as possible.

Make your nomination here.

Here is what some of the previous winners of the MS Amlin YJA Yachtsman of the Year had to say about the award:

Harold Cudmore – winner in 1986
“The Award is a Maritime ‘Oscar’ and always prized by its recipients for recognition of many varied contributions.”

Geoff Holt M.B.E – winner in 2010
“When I won the award in 2010 it was one of the proudest moments in my life. I regard the award as the ‘Knighthood of Yachting’ and is the absolute pinnacle of any yachtsman’s career. When you look at the names of previous winners, and to think your name will also appear on that small but hallowed list, it makes you feel very proud indeed.”

Jim Saltonstall M.B.E. Q.P. —winner in 1984 and 1995
“It was a great honour for me, together with the RYA Youth team, to be awarded this prestigious award after winning the World Youth Championships in New Zealand in 1983 and again in Bermuda in 1995. Winning in 1983 was very significant as this guaranteed the future of the RYA’s National Race Training scheme. The scheme was set up in 1977 by the RYA on a five year trial basis, the success of which would be reviewed at the end of the five years, that is why the win in 1983 was so important. Bermuda 1995 saw the RYA UK Youth team win the Nautica Cup with 3 gold and two silver medals making the UK the top youth nation in the world, the beginnings of our future Olympic successes. The rest, as they say, is history, with the UK youth team becoming part of the Olympic team in Atlanta, Sydney, Athen, Bejing, London & Rio de Janeiro. It was an honour for me to be working with all this talent and at the medal ceremony in Sydney I took time out to sit on the steps of the opera house and tell myself that the last 23 years had been worth it because that was how long it took to become the top sailing nation in the world. The YJA Yachtsman of the Year award means a lot, not only to those who are fortunate to be awarded it, but also to all those involved in the most challenging sport in the world. The icing on the cake!”

Nikki Henderson – winner in 2018
“To be awarded the Yachtsman of the Year Award was a total surprise and an absolute honour. To see my name engraved amongst some of the greatest sailing heroes – the greatest sportsmen and women that this country has produced – is just mind blowing. None of us participate in the sport for the recognition – it is our own personal determination, competitiveness and commitment that drives us – but to be celebrated and presented with a trophy really does mean a great deal, and has driven me to continue to push myself further and higher as a role model in the sport. I very much hope that I continue to live up to that plaque in my future career, and I wish the very best and huge congratulations to 2019’s winner.”

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.

  • The last few remaining 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