Please select your home edition

Harriet Averns named RYA Yachtmaster of the Year

by Becky Gilbert-Wood 13 Jan 20:21 GMT 13 January 2022
Harriet Averns with Richard Falk RYA Director of Training and Qualifications © RYA

25-year-old Kent sailor, Harriet Averns has been named as the recipient of the RYA Yachtmaster® of the Year award for her exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during her RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence exam.

Harriet was presented with the prestigious trophy by Richard Falk, RYA Director of Training and Qualifications today (Thursday 13 January 2022) at Trinity House in London.

She said: "I couldn't believe it when I found out! I really struggled with my confidence and believing in myself in the lead up to the exam, but now that it has sunk in it has given me a massive boost."

Richard Falk added: "In most years more than 3000 people from around the world undertake the exam for the RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence and, as always, the calibre of successful candidates in 2020 was extremely high. To be selected as the best is an incredible achievement and one Harriet should be extremely proud of."

Harriet started sailing with the Ocean Youth Trust when she was at school. An RYA Competent Crew course and taking part in the Tall Ships Race in the Baltic confirmed her love of all things outdoors and on the water.

Having planned to go to university to study International Business, Harriet's plans all changed when she was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and had to leave school early.

She began researching alternative career pathways and once recovered, soon signed up for a 'Zero to Hero' Watersports Instructor course which led her to three summer seasons in the Mediterranean teaching windsurfing, windfoiling, dinghy sailing and powerboating.

With aspirations to take the next steps in her career on the water, Harriet received a grant through UKSA's Milo Hanlon Bursary scheme and completed the RYA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence in 2020.

After completing her exam Harriet volunteered for a non-profit marine conservation organisation. Working alongside her partner Luke, she then returned to the Mediterranean in 2021 to run flotilla holidays in Croatia and is looking forward to progressing further in the marine industry in the future.

She commented: "The marine industry enables you to travel to corners of the world you wouldn't have otherwise known existed and there are so many different avenues you can go down.

"I love the way being on the water brings people confidence, but it is also very humbling with endless learning opportunities and appreciation for the environment."

In the nomination for the award, Harriet's RYA Yachtmaster Examiner, Steve Morgan, said: "Harriet was one of those candidates who was a joy to examine. Her experience as a watersports instructor had obviously taught her a lot about wind awareness and it was a joy to see her doing things that much more experienced sailors don't.

"Her best feature was simply the calm professionalism - everything I gave her to do she did calmly and competently with no fuss."

RYA Yachtmaster of the Year

The RYA Yachtmaster qualification is highly respected across the globe and a recognised entry ticket to the maritime industry.

The RYA Yachtmaster of the Year award is presented each year to an individual who has shown outstanding skills and knowledge as a skipper, and successfully demonstrated their expertise and experience during their certificate of competence exam.

Nominations for the esteemed accolade are put forward by the RYA's worldwide team of RYA Yachtmaster Examiners. In recognition of the achievement, winners receive the RYA Yachtmaster Trophy, donated by the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Previous winners include; four time Paralympian, Hannah Stodel (2017); recreational sailor, Angus Watson (2015); and the youngest winner to date, 18-year-old, George Gillingham (2014).

The 2021 award will be announced later this year.

To start your journey, or to learn more about RYA training courses and qualifications, visit here.

To find out more about the RYA Yachtmaster qualification, visit here.

Related Articles

RYA welcomes new Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe
A new year... and a new CEO at the RYA's helm It's a new year and 'all change' at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) as the team today welcomes Sara Sutcliffe MBE as the organisation's new Chief Executive. Posted on 10 Jan
VAT changes to affect recreational boat owners
Confirmation of a Returned Goods Relief waiver is "outstanding news" The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) reported the Government's intention to waive the three-year condition for Returned Goods Relief (RGR) on the 09 December. Posted on 20 Dec 2021
RYA welcomes returned goods relief waiving intent
The draft legislation will amend reference documents for The Customs Regulations 2020 Following a meeting between the RYA and HMRC on 17 November, we welcome the government's intent to waive the 3-year condition for RGR for pleasure craft that are the personal property of a UK resident which are being returned to the UK for personal use. Posted on 9 Dec 2021
Environment Agency proposed registration charges
Changes made after the Royal Yachting Association concerns are listened to The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) welcomes the final outcome given that it had made clear that an opportunity had been missed to create a strategic and viable financial plan for EA waterways. Posted on 7 Dec 2021
FREE ticket to first ever BoatLife Live boat show
Exclusively for RYA Members The RYA is pleased to announce that all members are now able to take advantage of one FREE ticket to the new BoatLife Live Boat Show taking place from 17 - 20 February 2022 at the NEC Birmingham, in the heart of the midlands. Posted on 5 Dec 2021
RYA welcomes Government assurance
That changes to Immigration Act will not criminalise boaters The Home Office has confirmed to the RYA that the amendments the Government is making to section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971 are only intended to apply to those who unlawfully assist immigration and help asylum seekers to enter the UK. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
RYA Volunteer Awards
HRH The Princess Royal celebrates boating's outstanding volunteers Dedicated volunteers from across the UK were awarded for their exceptional commitment and achievements in boating last week (19 November) by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
RYA renews commitment to reducing carbon emissions
By adopting the United Nations Sports for Climate Action's new target RYA is proud to renew the commitment to reducing carbon emissions by adopting the United Nations Sports for Climate Action's new targets of reducing emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, and of reaching net zero emissions by 2040. Posted on 9 Nov 2021
Sign up for the RYA Affiliated Clubs Conference
The hybrid 2021 edition kicks off on Monday 8th November Following on from the success of the RYA's first-ever virtual Affiliated Clubs Conference last year, the hybrid 2021 edition kicks off on 8th November with a live online evening hosted by double Olympic gold medallist and broadcaster Shirley Robertson. Posted on 3 Nov 2021