HRH The Princess Royal crowns Alexander Tilleray RYA Yachtmaster® of the Year at the London Boat Show

Alexander Tilleray from Esher, Surrey is RYA Yachtmaster® of the Year 2009. He was presented with his award by HRH The Princess Royal at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show yesterday.

Alex, 27, was selected for the top award despite fierce competition from almost 2,800 Yachtmaster® candidates worldwide who qualified last year. His examiner, Peter Hart, said: “It is not often that I come across a Yachtmaster® candidate that I cannot fault in some way but Alex is one of those rare candidates”.

A delighted Alex said: “I felt shock mostly when I found out that I had won the award and I feel very proud and honoured. To be named the best out of over 2,800 candidates worldwide is very rewarding, not just for myself but to all those who have helped me along the way. The award goes to show that anybody is capable of winning. These days I believe sailing has become more available to the public and more people are taking the opportunity to try something new, which is great for the sport.”

Alex first starting sailing in his gap year, and after completing an economics degree at Newcastle University he spent a year working in Australia. In his first six months he worked on a dive yacht in the Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, taking charters out to the Great Barrier Reef. He then moved to Sydney where he became involved with the racing circuit and was racing three times a week on various boats.

After realising that sailing was what he wanted to do in life, Alex moved to the South of France and took part in a classic yacht regatta circuit which involved 12 weeks of racing in the Mediterranean. He then took a job on classic yacht Blue Peter on which he has been working for the past three years. He has also recently completed a five month Atlantic crossing to Antigua.

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