YACHTSMAN OF THE YEAR: Award Nominations Open Until Friday


My good friend Paul Gelder, formerly editor-in-chief of Yachting Monthly in the U.K., one of my favorite print sailing comics, writes to remind me that interested parties have until the end of this work week to make nominations (these can be made by any member of the public, mind you) for the 2015 Yachtsman of the Year Award, presented by the U.K.-based Yachting Journalists Association. The award was first established in 1955 and the inaugural recipient was a cruiser, Eric Hiscock (see photo up top), in recognition of his three-year circumnavigation with his wife Susan aboard their 30-foot sloop, Wanderer III.

To give an idea of the company Eric has kept since then, here’s the complete list of winners over the years:

1955: Eric Hiscock – round the world in ‘Wanderer’

1956: Colonel ‘Stug’ Perry – Olympic silver medallist, Melbourne

1957: Adlard Coles – winner Class III, heavy weather Fastnet Race

1958: Owen Aisher – ‘Evaine’ racing successes and services to yachting

1959: Bobby Lowein – ‘Danegeld’ racing successes

1960: Francis Chichester – winner, first singlehanded trans-Atlantic race

1961: Stewart Morris – International Fourteen class victories

1962: Nigel Warrington Smythe – RYA Vice President and designer

1963: Max Aitken, Ron Amey, Derek Boyer and Dennis Miller – winning British Admiral’s Cup team

1964: Keith Musto and Tony Morgan – Olympic silver medalists, Tokyo

1965: Ian Proctor – selection of his Tempest design by IYRU

1966: Reg White – Little America’s Cup victory in ‘Lady Helmsman’

1967: Charles Gardner – Cowes-Torquay powerboat victory

1968: Rodney Pattisson and Iain Macdonald-Smith – Olympic gold medallists, Acapulco

1969: Robin Knox-Johnston – first non-stop solo circumnavigation

1970: Edward Heath – winner Sydney-Hobart race

1971: Chay Blyth – solo westbound circumnavigation in ‘British Steel’

1972: Ted Hicks – first non-USA winner of Newport-Bermuda Race

1973: Alan Paul – RORC secretary and services to yachting

1974: Jeremy Rogers – winner of One Ton Cup

1975: Robin Aisher – Captain, winning British Admiral’s Cup team

1976: Reg White and John Osborn – Olympic gold medallists, Kingston

1977: Sir Max Aitken – services to yachting

1978: Not awarded

1979: Alain Catherineau – rescue of ‘Griffin’ crew in the Fastnet Race

1980: Eric Tabarly – West-East Atlantic record

1981: Les Powles – round the world non-stop alone

1982: Ewen Southby-Tailyour – cruising guide to the Falklands

1983: Richard Broadhead – Southern Ocean BOC Race rescue

1984: RYA Youth Squad – World Youth Champions
Special Award to Michael Richey for services to ocean racing and small craft navigation

1985: Tony Bullimore and Nigel Irens – ‘Apricot’ racing successes.
Special Award to Bernard Hayman for services to yachting

1986: Harold Cudmore – winner Congressional Cup

1987: James Hatfield – hole-in-the-heart round the world sailor

1988: Mike McIntyre and Bryn Vaile – Olympic gold medallists, Pusan
Special Award to Bill Anderson – for services to yachting as RYA Training Manager

1989: Tracy Edwards – achievement in skippering ‘Maiden’ with first all-women crew in Whitbread Round the World Race

1990: David Cowper – for his three-year singlehanded voyage through the North-west Passage in a converted lifeboat.
Special Award to Major Peter Snowden for services to yachting on his retirement after 18 years as secretary to Cowes Combined Clubs

1991: Penny Way – for her remarkable achievements in windsurfing, including the World Championship

1992: Kevin Curtis – winner of gold and bronze medals in Handicapped World Sailing Championship, Barcelona
Special Award to David Thomas, designer of many successful offshore racing classes

1993: John Chittenden – representing the crew of ‘Nuclear Electric’ – winners of the British Steel Challenge round-the-world race.
Special Awards to Chay Blyth, for services to yachting, and Michael Calvin, for services to yachting journalism

1994: Robin Knox-Johnston and Peter Blake for their record breaking, 74-day, non-stop round the world voyage in ‘Enza’ which captured the Jules Verne Trophy.
Special Awards to George Johns, official photographer on board ‘Enza’, and Tim Severin, the celebrated marine adventurer

1995: The sailors of the RYA Youth Team who won the 1995 IYRU Nautica World Youth Championship.
Special Award to Jim Saltonstall, RYA National Racing Coach who was the team coach and manager

1996: The gold medal winning crew of the 1996 Paralympic World Regatta – Andy Cassell, Kevin Curtis and Tony Downs

1997: Pete Goss – for outstanding seamanship in the Indian Ocean during the 1996/97 Vendee Globe, singlehanded round-the-world race, when he sailed back 160 miles into 60 knot head winds and rescued his fellow competitor, Raphael Dinelli

1998: Ellen MacArthur – for her exceptional performance in the 1998 Route du Rhum Race. At 22 years old she was the youngest ever winner of the trophy

1999: Ben Ainslie for his exceptional performance in the Laser class

2000: The Olympic medallists: Ben Ainslie, Shirley Roberston and Iain Percy – Gold; Ian Walker and Mark Covell and Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks – Silver

2001: Ellen MacArthur – for her record setting performance in the Vendee Globe solo round the world race

2002: Ben Ainslie – for winning the World, Pre-Olympic and European championships in the Finn Class

2003: Steve Curtis – for winning the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 powerboat racing world championship five times

2004: Team GB – The nine medallists from Britain’s victorious 2004 Olympic sailing team

2005: Dame Ellen MacArthur – for smashing the record to be the fastest, non-stop, solo sailor round the world

2006: Dee Caffari – the first woman to sail solo round the world against prevailing winds and tides

2007: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston for completing the Velux5Oceans solo round the world race at age 68

2008: Olympic Gold Medallists at Beijing

2009: Samantha Davies – round the world yachtswoman, and third in 2008 /9 Vendee Globe

2010: Geoff Holt – first quadraplegic yachtsman to sail the Atlantic

2011: Nick Craig – dinghy sailor who won the highly competitive OK World Championship in 2011 and in doing so also became the only person ever to hold the World, UK National and Inland championship titles. He also won the RS400 National championship. To conclude an outstanding year, Nick went on to secure an overall win of the extremely challenging Endeavour Championship for the 5th time

2012: Sir Ben Ainslie – four time Olympic gold medalist

2013: The Rev Bob Shepton, Arctic explorer. Special Lifetime Achievement award – Mike Golding.
Special award – Ben Jelf

2014: Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, aged 75, for completing the transatlantic Route du Rhum to gain third in class.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Iain Percy, OBE, to recognise his contribution to the enormously successful Bart’s Bash charity initiative to raise funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation

The list, you will note, is very heavily biased towards Brits, but we can solve that problem by getting more people from outside the U.K. participating in the nomination process. Which is why I believe Paul, recently elected chairman of the YJA, is pestering me about this in the first place.

YOTY Award

The vaunted piece of tin at stake here

To make your nominations, follow this link here.

Me personally, my top choices for sailing achievements in the past year or so would be Loick Peyron (French, of course) for hopping onboard Banque Populaire on short notice and finally winning the Route du Rhum last year. Also Lloyd Thornburg (an American, yay!) for being the first person to do something really interesting on a MOD 70 trimaran. He sure has been tearing through the record books on Phaedo3!

As for cruising candidates, I’m thinking of Webb Chiles (another American!), for his ongoing solo circumnavigation aboard Gannet, a tiny Moore 24, as well as for all the other intense sailing he’s done over the years, including completing much of a circumnavigation on an open 18-foot Drascombe Lugger back in the 1970s.

What are your ideas???

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