YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award presentationYJA trophies
at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show 2023
Saturday 25th February 2023

13th February 2023
see information for YJA Member invitation below.

The prestigious and long-running YJA Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year awards will be presented on the Suzuki Main Stage at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show on Saturday, 25 February. These awards have recognised the greatest names in sailing over the years since the first presentation in 1955, and there will be new first-time winners on this occasion for both awards.

Previous recipients of this include Sir Ben Ainslie, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Alex Thomson, and Dee Caffari to name but a few, as the list is truly remarkable. The last four winners of the historic YJA Yachtsman of the Year are all women, including the first joint winners, Nikki Henderson and Tracey Edwards in 2018, while in 2019 it was won by Lucy Macgregor, and in 2021 Pip Hare, the current holder.

This year’s nominees include Richard Palmer, for his extraordinary success in winning numerous events through 2022 including the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, and becoming the first double handed winner in the Rolex Middle Sea race.  Tom Gillard was nominated for his exceptional performances in the dinghy racing scene, winning 23 of 25 events he entered, including the Fireball national, inland & world championships. Team GB sailor and Olympic Gold Medallist Dylan Fletcher-Scott is nominated, after winning the Moth World Championships, competing against many America’s Cup sailors, winning the world title in style. The final nominee is Hattie Rogers, after her win at the SailGP Grand Final in the Waszp class, she has become an integral part of the Athena Pathway Programme in the ETF26 Series.

The YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award recognises rising talent, and many previous winners have gone on to win the main award later in their careers. There are three nominees for the 2022 awards – 15-year old Joe Rowe is nominated after winning the Topper World Championships held on Lake Garda in Italy, with 144 competitors. He qualified for the gold fleet racing, then scored 2nd, 24th and 1st which took him to second overall, then on the final day, only one race was possible and his 13th place bought him to equal first on points, but his previous day’s first place gave him the win on countback.

17-year-old Charlie Dixon is nominated for his achievements in the IQFoil windsurfing class after an astonishing year. After winning the RYA Youth National Championships, he competed in his first ever international event, at the Youth Worlds in The Hague, scoring eight wins from eleven races to take the title, then added both European and world titles in the class. He went on to win the iQFoil International Games in Lake Garda, Italy, and was also crowned iQFoil U19 male World Champion in Lake Silvaplana.

Kai Hockley is the third nominee, for his determination and skills while competing in the ILCA Nationals in his Laser dinghy, and also helmed a Etchells at the World Championships in Cowes, all with the equipment available funded by the Scaramouche Sailing Trust charity.

Looking forward to the awards, which will take place on the Suzuki Main Stage at 15:40, RYA CEO Sara Sutcliffe MBE said: “We are delighted to be hosting the presentation of these prestigious YJA awards on the Suzuki Main Stage at this year’s RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show. The history of the Yachtsman of the Year Award in particular is truly remarkable, having been awarded to many of the great names in sailing and boating since 1955. We look forward to finding out who will have their name added to this extraordinary roll of honour at the Show.”

Tickets for the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show are on sale now and RYA Members can take advantage of a free two-day ticket worth £21. YJA MEMBERS MAY REGISTER AS PRESS.

YJA MEMBERS  are invited to the awards and also to a drinks reception which begins at 18.00. This is invitation only IN ADVANCE, so if you do wish to join us to celebrate the awards after the show, please can you RSVP in advance as tickets are strictly limited.


For further information: 
Find out more about the Yachting Journalists’ Association at yja.world
Cliff Webb chairman@yja.world

About the RYA

  • The RYA has over 105,000 personal members and 1,500 affiliated clubs and classes. It is the national body for dinghy, motor and sail cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sportsboats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative body for inland waterways cruising.
  • The RYA also sets and maintains an international standard for recreational boat training through a network of recognised training centres, world-class courses and educational material.
  • It is responsible for one of the UK’s most successful Olympic medal winning sports and its coaching and development schemes actively support our country’s top sailors, from talented juniors to Olympic and World Champions.
  • The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone. For more information please visit www.rya.org.uk

About the YJA

The aim of the Yachting Journalists’ Association is to promote greater awareness of all aspects of leisure boating through the professional services offered by its members. These include the written word – in newspapers, magazines books and websites; the spoken word – on radio, on television and in visual presentations; and illustrations. The YJA represents hundreds of specialist marine journalists, photographers, TV and radio presenters and Web editors across all the major sailing and boating regions in the world.