Gongs for racing youths

Phil Sparks from Muddiford and Ben Gratton from Guildford were presented with the prestigious YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year Award 2009 at the Tullet Prebon London International Boat Show. The award was presented by sailing legend Ben Ainslie CBE, a previous winner himself.
Phil and Ben were voted RYA Southern Regional Young Sailors of the Year 2009 last autumn. They won Gold in their 420 on the final day of the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Brazil. They also won first place in the Kiel Week regatta and third place in the 420 Class Worlds at Lake Garda.
Phil and Ben were amongst thirteen RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year winners who are voted for by RYA affiliated sailing clubs. 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 2009 YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year will be announced on Tuesday 12th January, at an awards ceremony to be held at Trinity House, London.

Finalists for this prestigious title are Paul Goodison, World Laser champion, Olympic Gold medal and five times European champion. Paul is the only sailor worldwide to hold all three awards at the same time and was nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.

Sam Davies, first placed Briton in the Vendee Globe 2008/09. Sam competed in the Transat Jacque Vabre race which finished last 2009 and was also nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award. Finally, Ian Williams. Two times World Match Race champion. Ian became the first British National to be crowned Match Racing World champion in the event’s 19 year history.

The award will be presented by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston a previous winner himself.