British Yachtsman of the Year


Ian Walker was named YJA Yachtsman of the Year by the Yachting Journalists’ Association at an awards ceremony on Jan. 12, 2016. Eleanor Poole was named YJA Young Sailor of the Year and famous yachting cartoonist Mike Peyton was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Yachtsman of the Year Award is one of Britain’s most coveted sporting trophies and 2015 marks its Diamond Jubilee. Previous winners include Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Sir Ben Ainslie. It’s reportedly regarded by many in the U.K. as “the knighthood of yachting.” 

Ian Walker, from Warsash in Hampshire, became the first British skipper to win the Volvo Ocean Race in the event’s 37-year history when he led Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to victory in the 2014-15 event. Ian and his team also won the in-port race series and set a 24-hour distance record of 550.82 nautical miles.

The Young Sailor of the Year Award was first awarded in 1993 and recognizes endeavor and achievement by Britain’s upcoming young sailors. Eleanor Poole, from Dunsford in Devon, impressed members of the YJA with a string of firsts to win the 2015 Topper National championships at the age of 14, as well as securing an impressive seventh-place finish at the 2015 Topper World Championship on Lake Garda, Italy.

Mike Peyton, who has been described as “the world’s foremost yachting cartoonist,” was named as the recipient of a special YJA Diamond Jubilee Lifetime Achievement Award. Peyton, who celebrated his 95th birthday on Jan. 8, has been a unique commentator on the sailing scene for more than 60 years.


Mike Peyton, the artist at work.


Young Sailor of the Year, Eleanor Poole, British Topper National champion at age 14.



Patrick Roach/YJA


By Ocean Navigator