Nominations Open for 2015 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award

by | Sep 14, 2015 |, News

Ian Atkins launches YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award at Southampton Boat Show

Ian Atkins launches YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award

Diamond Jubilee celebration of yachting accolade

Nominations for the 2015 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards will open during the Southampton Boat Show (11th – 20th September 2015). This will mark 60 years of the highly competitive and prestigious yachting honour.

Already a highly regarded accolade, the 2015 Yachtsman of the Year Award will carry even more significance as it celebrates its Diamond Jubilee year. Established in 1955 by Sir Max Aitken, Battle of Britain pilot, chairman of Express Newspapers and himself a leading yachtsman in both sail and power, the Yachtsman of the Year Award is now established as one of the top yachting honours. Previous winners of the Award include Sir Robin Knox- Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie. The Young Sailor of the Year Award was first awarded in 1993.

This year’s Awards are expected to attract an even higher calibre of nominations following the yachting feats already seen in 2015. Nominations will be invited for two categories, Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year, and will recognise and celebrate the achievements attained this year.

The Awards provide an opportunity for the public to put forward their yachting heroes and celebrate up-and-coming star talent. Nominations open on Friday 11th September 2015 at and are welcomed until Friday 30th October 2015. Nominations can also be made via the YJA’s website. The winners for each Award will be announced at a gala lunch on Tuesday 12th January 2016 at Trinity House, London.

Geoff Holt, a previous winner of the award said, “Winning the YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award in 2010 was the highlight of my yachting career. To know it is the yachting journalists themselves, the people who actually promote our sport, chose me as the winner meant a lot. I call it the “Knighthood of Yachting” and I am humbled to have my name engraved on the trophy alongside so many sailing heroes of mine.”

Ian Atkins, president of, commented: “We are very much looking forward to launching this year’s YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award. We’re pleased to be part of this historic event in its 60th year. As a long-time competitive sailor myself, it is great to see the recognition and reward of the most deserving yachtsman. We look forward to receiving nominations and anticipate they will be of an extremely highly calibre this year.”

Paul Gelder, chairman of The Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA), added: “It is a very exciting year for the YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award as we celebrate 60 years. The Award was first presented to Eric Hiscock in 1955 to recognise his first (of three) circumnavigations. Over the years, we’ve honoured some remarkable yachtsmen, and we’re proud to uphold the tradition of the award initiated by Sir Max Aitken, who donated the trophy and its management to the YJA in 1979.”

This year’s Awards mark the second year of’s three-year sponsorship of the YJA’s prestigious Yachtsman of the Year awards. A division of Boats Group, will work closely with the YJA in the coming months to deliver the YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award and the Young Sailor of the Year Award.

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