Gold medal Olympians crowned Raymarine/YJA Yachtsman of the Year


Today, the 2008 Olympic Sailing Gold Medallists – Ben Ainslie CBE (Finn class), Paul Goodison MBE (Laser class), Iain Percy OBE and Andrew Simpson MBE (Star class), and Sarah Ayton OBE, Sarah Webb OBE and Pippa Wilson MBE (Yngling class), notched up another success as they were announced joint winners of the prestigious Raymarine / YJA Yachtsman of the Year title.

Between them, they won four gold medals in Beijing, dominating their opponents and helping gain the highest results seen for Great Britain in yachting history. Their Raymarine YJA Yachtsman of the Year title recognises their sporting excellence and tremendous achievements. They now join many of the greatest achievers in British yachting circles who have won the award over the past five decades.

The announcement was made today during a gala luncheon in The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

Fellow finalists for Raymarine / YJA Yachtsman of the Year were:
? Dag Pike: at 75 years of age, he became the oldest person to win the Round Britain Power Boat Race and the only person to win the event twice.
? Jim Saltonstall MBE: had a major influence on the racing coaching of the Olympic winners in their formative years.

The public put forward the nominations for the Raymarine / YJA Yachtsman of the Year, and the vote for the overall winner was via a secret ballot by members of the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA).

The Raymarine / YJA Yachtsman of the Year award was initiated in 1955 by Sir Max Aitken, and has been sponsored for the last six years by marine electronics manufacturer Raymarine. Previous winners include Eric Hiscock, Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (who won the award last year for a third time), Sir Chay Blyth, Sir Edward Heath, Tracy Edwards MBE, Dame Ellen MacArthur (who has won the award twice) and Ben Ainslie CBE, who has won the award on a record four previous occasions.

The Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year was also announced this week – talented young sailors, brother and sister James and Frances Peters, from Hayling Island scooped the award, to jointly share the prestigious title. During their fantastic 2008 season, they both achieved gold medals at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF Worlds Championship in Denmark, sailing separate 29ers in the men’s and women’s classes with their crews; plus, they were instrumental in helping Britain win the Volvo Trophy for best nation with a medal haul of two golds and a bronze at the event.