Nominations Open for 2016 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award

by | Sep 16, 2016 |, News, Press Release

Southampton Boat Show: Public nominations for the 2016 YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards open today to start the selection process of finding Britain’s top Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year. The announcement came at a reception hosted by Premier Marinas at the Southampton Boat Show attended by past Award winners, members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) and Team GB’s Olympic medallists.

Tracey Clarke (Master of Ceremonies), Ian Atkins (President , Pete Bradshaw (CEO Premier Marinas) & Barry Pickthall (YJA Chairman)

Tracey Clarke (Master of Ceremonies), Ian Atkins (President , Pete Bradshaw (CEO Premier Marinas) & Barry Pickthall (YJA Chairman)

Nominations for these two prestigious awards are welcomed from the public and anyone within the UK yachting community and can include those involved in dinghy sailing, windsurfing, offshore and ocean racing, short-handed and long distance cruising and from the world of powerboating.

The Awards provide an opportunity for the public to put forward their yachting heroes and celebrate the achievements of up-and-coming talent. Barry Pickthall, Chairman of the YJA encourages the yachting community to make their nominations, “Don’t rely on someone else to name your yachting hero or rising star to be considered for the 2016 YJA Awards. Nominating couldn’t be simpler.”

Nominations can be made online at or by posting back one of nomination cards being distributed throughout the boat show, to Yacht Clubs across the country, and from any Premier Marinas site across the south of England.

This year’s Awards are expected to attract a particularly high calibre of nominations following Team GB’s success at the Rio Olympics, where they finished at the top of the sailing medals table. Other popular nominees will undoubtedly include Sir Ben Ainslie and his Land Rover BAR America’s Cup crew who lead the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series, and Richard Carr, Steve Curtis MBE and Paul Sinclair following their victory in the Annual Cowes-Torquay powerboat race.

Ian Atkins, President

Ian Atkins

Ian Atkins, President of added, “Today is a great day. It’s the day we start the process of selecting the winners of the 2016 Yachtsman of the Year Awards. There have been some incredible feats in yachting throughout the year; we’ve watched speed records tumble and our national teams top podiums not just in Rio, but around the world. Every sport needs its heroes to inspire future generations and we are delighted to support the yachting community in the selection of theirs.”

Team GB’s four times gold medal winning cyclist Laura Trott was originally inspired to aim for the top at Olympic level after Sir Bradley Wiggins hung his Athens Olympic gold medal around her neck twelve years ago. Past winners of the Young Sailor of the Year Award have been similarly inspired and have gone on to achieve success at the highest level of yachting, including Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, a four-time winner of the Yachtsman or the Year Award says: “These are yachting’s top accolades, and quite apart from recognising the successes achieved by British yachtsmen and women under sail and power, the Young Sailor of the Year Award gives enormous inspiration and encouragement to tomorrow’s World Champions.”

Ian Walker, the current holder of the Yachtsman of the Year Award said, “I first made the shortlist as an individual nominee for the Yachtsman of the Year Award in 1994, so I was delighted and privileged to have finally won it in January 2016. As a nation, Britain consistently produces performance excellence in yachting which makes this award so coveted. To make the final shortlist is an achievement in itself; I’ll be watching this year’s nominations unfold with great interest.”

Nominations are welcomed until Sunday 16th October 2016. The winners of each Award will be announced at a gala lunch on Tuesday 10th January 2017 at Trinity House, London.

This year’s Awards mark the third year of’s sponsorship of the YJA’s prestigious Yachtsman of the Year Awards and the team 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.

About the Yachtsman of the Year Awards
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 medalist Sir Ben Ainslie. The Young Sailor of the Year Award was first awarded in 1993.

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About the YJA

The Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) represents more than 260 specialist marine journalists, photographers, TV and radio presenters across the major sailing and boating regions in the world. It aims to promote greater awareness of all aspects of leisure boating through the professional services of its members.

Press Contacts:
Katie Jackson, Brand Manager,
+44 (0)7919 915641 /

Barry Pickthall, YJA Chairman
+44 (0)7768 395719 /

Mike Ford, Secretary & YJA Web Editor
+44 (0) 7727 164 959 /