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YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year & YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 shortlists chosen

by Yachting Journalists' Association 3 Sep 2019 13:16 BST
The coveted YJA Yachtsman of the Year trophy © Sam Kurtul / www.worldofthelens.co.uk

The Yachting Journalists' Association Committee met on Monday evening on the 45th floor of the Leadenhall building in London, hosted by MS Amlin Boat Insurance, to choose the shortlists for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019.

Encouragingly there were a record number of nominations for the YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the entries were representative of the diversity of sailing.

YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 Shortlist

  • Vita Heathcote - Winner of the 420 Women's World Championship in Vilamoura, Portugal together with crew Milly Boyle in July and also finishing 2nd mixed team at the 470 Junior European Championship in Vilagarcia de Arousa, Spain with crew Ryan Orr.

  • Matilda Nicholls - Winner of the Women's Laser Radial Youth World Championship at Kingston, Canada by a margin of 13 points while also dominating the UK Qualifying Series, winning the national youth title in the class and also representing the British Youth Sailing Team at the Youth World Championships for the second time, finishing fifth.

  • Azat Ulutas - A sailor from the Greig City Academy and key part of the inspiring Project Scaramouche team, Azat has most recently been sailing on 'Eros' to become one of the youngest teams ever to take part in the Round the Island Race and also competing in the Etchells European Championship amongst other events.

YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year Shortlist

  • Dylan Fletcher & Stuart Bithell - Winners of the 49er European Championship, held at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy and also key members of the Great Britain SailGP Team who were the first to break the 50-knot barrier in the class ahead of the Cowes SailGP event in August.

  • Lucy MacGregor - four-time winner of the Women's Match Racing World Championship after her victory at the Lysekil Women's Match in August. 'Team Mac' took the final 3-0 against French skipper Claire Leroy.

  • Will Hodshon & Rich Mitchel - successfully sailed a Wayfarer dinghy unaided around the 1,390-nautical mile coast of mainland Britain in just over 15 days, beating the previous open dinghy record of 28 days set in 2006.

Having selected the shortlisted candidates, YJA members have until 9am on Sunday 8th September to vote for their choice of YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year 2019 via the YJA website with the winners to be revealed on 13th September.

MS Amlin's Keith Lovett said of the shortlist, "We've been absolutely delighted to be involved in the process and seeing how it has moved forward - it's been enlightening. What's really interesting is we've ended up with shortlists from a completely diverse range of activities in the marine environment, from someone sailing a Wayfarer around Britain to our four-time Women's Match Racing Champion, having them all on the same platform is really reflective of the wide range that the YJA awards cover."

YJA Chairman Clifford Webb added, "It's a very exciting point in the evolution of the Yachting Journalists' Association. We're on board with MS Amlin who have been incredibly supportive as a sponsor of the entire process. The nominations showed the diversity of boating of all kinds and with the Gala Dinner coming up, the shortlist gives YJA members the opportunity to express their voice and vote for their YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year."

The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year Awards will be presented during a Gala Dinner at the Grand Café Southampton on the 13th September, following on from Press Day at the Southampton Boat Show. This will be a spectacular occasion, drawing together the great and good of the marine world, distinguished guests and many previous winners of the awards.

Of the Gala Dinner, Keith Lovett said, "This is going to be something that we haven't seen in the UK for a very long time - a real highlight of the Southampton International Boat Show, star-studded and just the audience alone is going to be fascinating. I can't wait to be there!"

The final few tickets for this not-to-be-missed event are available and anyone may join the celebrations on the night. The YJA has decided to open up to the public, what has traditionally been a members only exclusive event. Hurry as YJA members and non-members must reserve by the 7th September or miss this special occasion. If you would like to attend then please contact the YJA Secretary, Chris English via email at who will send you the full range of options.

The Yachting Journalists' Association is hugely appreciative of MS Amlin Boat Insurance, title sponsorship of the awards. Their support enables the presentation to be held during an event which befits the stature of these historic trophies.

Find out more about the Yachting Journalists' Association via yja.world

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