Public nominations for the 2016 boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards open today, and once again the search is on to find Britain’s top Yachtsman and Young Sailor of the Year. Nominations are open to the public and all votes are welcome, giving the boating community and beyond the chance to promote their favorites and celebrate the talent of newcomers to the yachting scene. This year marks the third year of boats.com’s sponsorship of the prestigious awards.
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 boats.com YJA Awards. Nominating couldn’t be simpler."
Nominations can be made online at www.boats.com/nominate, by posting back one of the nomination cards being distributed throughout the Southampton Boat Show to yacht clubs across the country, or 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 of boats.com said, "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, including Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie, have been similarly inspired and have gone on to achieve success at the highest level of yachting.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, a four time winner of the Yachtsman or the Year Award, commented that: "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 short list is an achievement in itself; I’ll be watching this year’s nominations unfold with great interest."
The boats.com team will be working closely with the YJA over the coming months to deliver both awards. The winners will be announced at a gala lunch on Tuesday January 10th, 2017 at Trinity House, London.
Nominations are welcomed until Sunday October 16th, 2016.