HRH Princess Anne presents top award to Alexander Tilleray

The RYA has chosen its Yachtmaster of the Year 2009. HRH The Princess Royal was on hand to present the award to Alexander Tilleray from Esher, Surrey at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show.

Alex, 27, was selected for the top award despite fierce competition from almost 2,800 Yachtmaster candidates worldwide who qualified last year. Alex took his Yachtmaster exam on 20 February 2009 and passed with flying colours. 

The award winner has to rise to the top from a raft of nominees who all show outstanding skills and knowledge as a skipper. Candidates were entered by the RYA’s worldwide team of Yachtmaster examiners.

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.’

The RYA Yachtmaster of the Year trophy was donated by the Royal Institute of Navigation and Alex also received a Spinlock Deckvest. 

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.’

RYA Training Manager James Stevens said: ‘Alex was an outstanding Yachtmaster candidate. He has exceptional ability as a skipper, capable not only of managing yacht and crew to the highest standards but doing so under the eye of an examiner. He was quite simply the best of the 2800 candidates we examined in 2009.’

It was in his gap year before university that Alex first starting sailing 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.

The Yachtmaster qualification itself is highly respected across the globe, and is a great entry ticket to the marine trade.

To find out more about the Yachtmaster exam visit