Plymouth youth named Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year

Today 12 year old Laurence Greenough was awarded the prestigious title of Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year, following in the footsteps of past winners Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie OBE, and world class yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Laurence, from Plymouth, who is a pupil at Devonport High School for Boys, wins the award for his courage and determination to overcome adversity.

Laurence lost a leg in a boating accident in May 2006 but was back sailing just two months later in an unmodified boat. His commitment to helping others and encouraging potential young sailors is extraordinary for someone of his age. A member of the Plymouth Youth Sailing Club, Laurence took part in the Topper Travellers in the South West Zone in 2007 and also competed in the NSSA National Regatta where he finished 15th Topper out of 76.

Stuart Jones, Secretary of the Plymouth Youth Sailing Club, said: “Laurence is an exceptional young man, with a huge amount of talent. His willpower to not let anything stop him must be admired.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Collins Stewart London Boat Show. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston presented Laurence with his trophy. Sir Robin first made history in 1969 when he took 312 days to become the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in the Sunday Times Golden Globe, sailing Suhaili. He said he entered the Velux 5 Oceans Race, which finished in May 2007, to prove that age is not a barrier to getting out and doing things in life.

Laurence beat off stiff competition from windsurfer Alistair Masters, a member of the RYA Youth Squad who has dominated domestic and international competition in the Techno 293 junior windsurfing class; Holly Scott, a crew member of the winning boat which scooped the Mirror World Championship 2007; Topper World Champion Michael Wood, who devotes hours of his private time to train other youngsters in the RYA West Zone Squad; and Tom Gillard, the first RYA Team GBR sailor to win the 420 European Championships.

Following nominations by the general public and Royal Yachting Association affiliated clubs, the awards were voted for by the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA).

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston also presented awards to the RYA Regional Winners:
Yorks and Humberside Tom Gillard
Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien
North West Rob Partridge
East Katrina Curtis
South Chris West
Wales – Joint Winners Bleddyn Mon
Wales – Joint Winners Tom Humphries
North East Michael Matthews
Scotland Ben Wilcox
East Midlands George Hand
South East Chloe Martin
South West Laurence Greenough
Thames Valley Imogen Stanley

The 2007 Raymarine/YJA Yachtsman of the Year will be announced on Tuesday 15 January, at an awards ceremony to be held at The Painted Hall, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Finalists for this prestigious title disabled sailor Geoff Holt, who achieved his “Personal Everest” in 2007 by sailing around the UK single handed; World and Pre Olympic Champions Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson; Mike Golding who risked his own life to rescue a fellow competitor in the Velux 5 Oceans race; and Sir Robin Knox Johnston who completed the Velux 5 Oceans race at the age of 68, thirty-eight years after his original (the first non-stop) solo circumnavigation of the world.