Princess Anne crowns yachtsman

Rustler Yachts MD Nick Offord, 40 from Falmouth, was crowned RYA Yachtmaster of the Year 2008 today at the London Boat Show when RYA President, Princess Anne presented him with the prestigious trophy on the RYA stand.

Nick said: ‘It’s an absolute honour to be given this award especially by HRH. I’d been meaning to do my Yachtmaster exam for a while as it’s such a great qualification to have professionally but finally decided to get on with it last year! I’m really surprised – at no point did I ever think I would be given this title – I’m over the moon.’

Nominated by his examiner and then selected as the winner by the RYA, Nick beat off stiff competition from candidates put forward by the RYA’s International team of over 420 Yachtmaster examiners.  The winner of the award must possess outstanding skills and knowledge as a skipper and will have demonstrated their expertise and experience during their exam in 2008 standing out against almost 2500 YachtmasterÒ candidates who took their practical exams.

Nick, has been sailing all his life starting off in dinghies on a reservoir in Wales and then cruising with his father at first and now with his friends on his own boats. He also enjoys a bit of racing and this year hopes to take part in the Three Peaks Yacht Race. Along with this Nick does a lot of sailing in his job delivering boats around the world and his experience shone through when he took his exam.

Examiner Tony Ayres said: ‘I have examined over 80 candidates since becoming an examiner and Nick ranks among them as an absolutely outstanding skipper who was a real pleasure to assess. His experience was very evident – he was always in command, enthusiastic, concise and clear in all his actions – he was a real treat to sail with.’

The RYA YachtmasterÒ qualification is recognised and respected throughout the world and is the most widely used skippers certificate. The certificate can be gained by taking an exam in either a sailing or motor yacht. A commercial endorsement can be added to the YachtmasterÒ qualification enabling the holder to skipper a boat commercially.

As well as receiving the coveted trophy donated by the Royal Institute of Navigation, Nick was also presented with a Panasonic shock proof and water resistant S10 camcorder, courtesy of Panasonic.