British dinghy sailor Nick Craig has won the coveted title for 2011

Dinghy sailor Nick Craig has won the coveted title of YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year for 2011, beating both Ben Ainslie and Dee Caffari. The trophy was presented by Geoff Holt MBE, the 2010 YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year winner.

Nick not only won the highly competitive OK World Championship in 2011 but in doing so also became the only person ever, to hold the World, UK National and Inland championship titles. He also won the RS400 National championship.

To conclude an outstanding year, Nick went on to secure an overall win of the extremely challenging Endeavour Championship for the 5th time. The Endeavour Championship is an annual invitation only event, held at Burnham-on-Crouch, to determine the overall dinghy champion of champions from the UK’s mostpopular dinghy racing classes. Winning the Endeavour Trophy is and always has been recognised as an ultimate dinghy racing achievement. So to win five times, representing different classes throughout the years, puts Nick amongst the most versatile and talented dinghy sailors in the world.

Other finalists
The other finalists for the YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year award were Ben Ainslie CBE and Dee Caffari. Despite having already won three Olympic Gold medals and a Silver, Ben is far from sitting back and basking in the glory of his past successes. In this pre Olympic year he has worked hard to achieve yet more spectacular results including winning the 2011 WeymouthSkandia Sail for Gold Regatta and the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta (Olympic test event). His outstanding performance has once again earned him a place within Team GB to compete at the 2012 London Olympics.

In the 2010/11 two handed Barcelona World Race 38 year old Dee Caffari and her co skipper, Spaniard Anna Corbella finished in 6th place. On completion of this race Dee entered the record books as the only woman to have circumnavigated the globe, non stop,three times.

Young Sailor of the Year

The 2011 YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year was announced at a separate ceremony held on Saturday 7th January at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show. Annabel Vose and Megan Brickwood from Southampton were presented with the award by Skandia Team GBR’s Iain Percy OBE.

Annabel and Megan started 2011 by winning the Ladies World Title in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the 420 World Championships at just 16 years old and despite having a broken mast in one race. They won Silver andwere 1st female crew at the Flanders Youth Regatta and won the Bronze medal at the 2011 Open 420 Junior European Championships.

Annabel and Megan were selected from amongst a strong field of nominees forthis year’s Award, 13 of which were drawn from the RYA Regional YoungSailor of the Year winners who are voted for by RYA affiliated sailing clubs and who were presented with their awards by Peter Cook, President of the YJA. These young sailors have made a significant impact on youth sailing, ranging from Gold medal winning achievements and overcoming adversity, to the huge amount of hard work and effort they give back to their clubs.

The YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year Award is open to any British resident or passport holder who has made an outstanding achievement under sail or power during the year. The YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year awards British youngsters aged 18 and under (as at 31 December), in possession of a British passport (or immediately eligible to receive a British passport), who have made a significant impact on youth sailing.

Click here to see a full list of the award’s previous winners.