British Nautical Awards have announced the 12 regional winners of this year’s MDL (Marina Developments Limited) YJA (Yachting Journalists’ Association) Young Sailor of the Year Award.

In a year of astounding nautical achievements amongst Britain’s sailing youths, the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) regional winners for the MDL YJA Young Sailor of the Year Award are:RYA Southern Region – Mark Powell (18) from Hayling Island in Hampshire
Mark started competing in 1995 and since then has won an impressive string of sailing accolades. Most notably he won the ISAF Youth World Championships in Crozon Morgat, France, in his Laser.

In 2001 Mark was ranked first in the Youth Nationals, held in Largs, Scotland, first at the ISAF Youth Worlds, and was first Youth in the Qualifier Tenby, the National Championships in Paignton, the Senior Worlds in Cork and the Qualifier in Swanage. During 2001, Mark was also a member of the National Youth Squad and has been recently invited to join the Olympic Development Squad.

RYA Southwest Region – Thomas Mallindine (14) from Whitley in Melksham, Wiltshire
Thomas started sailing at the age of seven in an Optimist and by the following year he had won the beginners section at the Optimist Nationals. Just last year he attended The Worlds in Spain and was Britain’s top sailor, finishing thirtieth, and was beaten on only three occasions in that year by other British sailors. Thomas finished off a great year by becoming the British National Optimist Champion, Inland Champion and was ranked as number one.

This year, Thomas was busy winning three national titles in just three weeks. He regained his title in the British National Championships – a feat not achieved in almost thirty years, and then he went on to win the Belgian Nationals and the Irish National Championships. Most recently, Thomas achieved first place at the Optimist End of Seasons Championship in Poole, Dorset.

RYA Southeast Region – Mark Heather (15) from Wilmington in Kent
Mark sailed in his first open meeting in a Topper in 1998, aged 11, and his first National competition was in 1999. The year 2000 proved to be action-packed and successful as Mark went on to win the Topper World Championships in Ireland and was a member of the winning Kent team at the 2000 National Schools Sailing Association (NSSA) Team Racing Championships. In 2001, Mark consolidated his performance in the Topper Class with 1st place in the Topper Class at the NSSA Regatta, the Irish Topper Nationals, the Topper Southeast Zone Volvo Championships, the Topper Southern Area Championships and the London and Southeast Area Traveller. He was also placed 2nd in the GBR Topper Nationals.

RYA Wales Region – Hannah Mills (13) from Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan
Hannah, who started sailing at the age of eight at the Llanishen Sailing Centre, was asked to join the team selection for the World and European Championships in 2000, and despite being one of the lowest ranking sailors, she finished the event as second girl and represented GBR in Lake Garda, Italy, in July.

Hannah later sailed in the British Optimist National Championships where she finished third junior and first junior girl, and by the end of the three major ranking events Hannah ranked 11th overall and top girl in the UK – leading to her place into the British National Squad in 2001.

RYA Scotland Region – Campbell Davidson (14) from Fairlie in Ayrshire, Scotland
Campbell has had an eventful year sailing his topper, achieving many successes on the water. Most notably in 2001 he achieved first position in the Volvo RYA Regional Youth Championships, The Scottish Area Championships Traveller and Nationwide, The Scottish Traveller (four times throughout the year), and the North West Area Championships Traveller Nationwide and GBR Squad selector.