Chips Howarth was presented with a special award on Saturday at Bloody Mary

On Saturday 7 January at Queen Mary Sailing Club, the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) hijacked the prize giving to make a special presentation.

The YJA – representing almost 300 writers, TV and radio people, and photographers involved in sailing and power boating in all its forms – is perhaps best known for its two big awards, the Raymarine Yachtsman of the Year and The Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year, but the YJA also makes special awards to personalities in the sport.

YJA Chairman Dick Johnson went to QMSC to honour a sailor who has probably the most comprehensive sailing CV of anyone in Britain and who is universally admired for his self-effacing attitude and willingness to help even the lowliest newcomer to go faster.

The 2005 winner of the YJA Special Award has been described as having done so much for dinghy and small boat sailing in so many different ways. He is one of those all-rounders who seems to be good at everything, but who remains popular and friends with everyone.

Among his credits he lists, as crew, Enterprise World Champion, Endeavour Trophy winner and National 12 champion.

As a helmsman he won the Laser 4000 Nationals and Europeans, the RS 200 Nationals, the RS800 Nationals, the Musto Skiff Europeans and B14s.

In addition, in his spare time presumably, was a personal coach to Nick Rodgers and Jo Glandfield in the run up to their Silver medal at the Athens Olympics, and coached the UK 29er squad to victory in the Worlds. He was also a key component of the late John Merricks’ Melges 24 team and Lawrie Smith’s Ultra 40.

In one class in particular he has an amazing record, National Champion in 2002, World Champion in 2003 and then against 176 boats at Teign Corinthian Yacht Club he won the Fireball World Championships last year. He also won the Bloody Mary last year and has to be probably the best all round small boat sailor in Britain if not the world.

There can’t be many people who have had this type of success as both helmsman and crew, in boats as diverse as two handed hiking boats through to trapezing skiffs. And all the time holding down a day job. In fact there can be only one – Chips Howarth.