The finalists for the prestigious award are Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott, Round the Island Race record setter Brian Thompson and Clipper Race crewman Gavin Reid.

The three finalists for the boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year have been announced.

They are Olympic Finn Class Gold Medallist Giles Scott, Round the Island Race record setter Brian Thompson, and Clipper Race crewman Gavin Reid.

The accolade is regarded by many as “the knighthood of yachting”.

Previous winners of the prestigious award have included Volvo Ocean Race winner, Ian WalkerSir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Dee Caffari and Sir Ben Ainslie.

Finalists for the 2016 boats.com Young Sailor of the Year Award have also been revealed.

They are 15-year-old 2016 Topper world champion Elliott Kuzyk, Tom Darling (18) and Crispin Beaumont (18), Bronze medalists at the 2016 29er World Championships, and powerboat racer Thomas Mantripp (15), who won this year’s GP RYA British GT15 and British Sprint Championship titles.

The winners of these awards will be announced at a gala luncheon on 10 January, 2017 at Trinity House, London following a vote among members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA).

boats.com YJA Yachtsman of the Year finalists

Giles Scott from Portsmouth capped a remarkable three-year unbeaten record in the Finn singlehander class by winning Gold at the Rio Olympics.

Giles Scott

Giles Scott takes gold in Rio. Credit: Richard Langdon

In doing so, he also retained his Finn Gold Cup world champion title for the third successive year, and also played a significant role as bowman and tactician aboard Britain’s LandRover BAR America’s Cup challenge.

Brian Thompson from Southampton, one of Britain’s leading multihull skippers, stormed round the Isle of Wight to break this year’s JP Morgan Round the Island Race record, completing the 50 mile distance in 2 hours 23 minutes 23 seconds in the MOD 70 trimaran Phaedo 3.

Then in August, Thompson and his eight-strong Phaedo 3 crew repeated the performance to break the outright record with a time of 2 hours, 4 minutes 14 seconds – an average of 24.15 knots.

Gavin Reid from Cambridge, was crewing the Clipper Round the World race yacht Mission Performance when an SOS was picked up off the New South Wales coast of Australia from a yacht returning from the Sydney Hobart Race which had a crewman stuck at the top of the mast.

Gavin Reid Clipper Round the World sailor

Gavin Reid, who also received the 2015-16 Henri Lloyd Seamanship Award, for his actions

Mission Performance was competing in the Henri-Lloyd Hobart to Whitsunday’s leg of the Clipper Race and was nearest to the stricken vessel.

Gavin, 27, who is profoundly deaf and had zero sailing experience prior to signing up for the Clipper Race, volunteered to swim between the two yachts and found four other crew onboard all incapacitated and unable to help their crewmate who had been tangled in halyards at the top of the mast for several hours.

Using the one remaining staysail halyard, he was able to hoist himself two thirds of the way up the swinging mast, then climbed the rest of the way hand-over-hand to reach the crewman, untangle the lines and help to lower him down safely.

 

boats.com YJA Young Sailor of the Year finalists

Thomas Mantripp, 15, from Lowestoft, won this year’s GP RYA British powerboat GT15 and British Sprint Championship titles.

He also secured a bronze medal at this year’s GT15 UIM European championships, and competing in his first full season in the GT30 class, also collected double bronze in this division too.

Elliott Kuzyk, 15, from Parkestone Yacht Club won this year’s Topper class World championship. In Ireland, Elliott eventually took the title after a seven-way battle for top spot. He also broke UK regional records by winning the Topper national championships for an impressive fifth year in a row.

Racing duo, 18-year-old Tom Darling, from Kettering and Crispin Beaumont, 18, from Halesowen, finished 3rd in a 200 strong fleet at this year’s 29er World championship in Medemblik, Holland.

They are the first British pair to gain a medal in this very competitive class since 2008.

They also won the 2016 British youth and national championships, and will be representing Britain at the 2016 Youth World championships in Auckland, New Zealand in December.

 

Eric and Susan Hiscock

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