The great and good of the yachting world descended on the Royal Thames Yacht Club on 30 November to celebrate the 2021 British Yachting Awards.
The awards, organised by Sailing Today with Yachts and Yachting magazine, are an opportunity for the readership to vote and give their verdict on some of the incredible talents within the sailing world. It was also a chance to celebrate the finest new yachts, kit innovations, destinations and much more.
The champagne flowed as the winners were announced, confirming not only what a vintage year this has been for sailing, but also what a diverse and fascinating sport this remains.
Guest speaker was Ian Walker, who after a decorated career afloat as an Olympian, coach and skipper in the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, is now the RYA’s Director of Racing.
Notable winners included the remarkable Katie McCabe, who scooped the Youth Sailor of the Year accolade, which was run in association with BoatLife Live.
There was spontaneous applause for the runner-up Timothy Long, who sailed round Britain solo aged 15 last summer, and also for the 420 crew of Jamie Cook and Will Martin, who were also shortlisted.
Elsewhere, octogenarian Murdoch McGregor beat some of the biggest names in sailing to win Sailor of the Year – an award run in association with Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance. McGregor, aged 82, attended the event and told the audience of his solo round Britain sail earlier this year.
Vendée Globe star Pip Hare was a deserving winner of the Outstanding Achievement of the Year trophy, given her performance in the race, which was a winner in its own right in the Event of the Year category, in association with GAC Pindar.
Each winner received a unique trophy made for the ceremony by the historic chandler Davey & Co.
When it came to yachts and kit, there were worthy winners all round; the exciting Pogo 44 won the Performance Yacht of the Year while the coveted Cruising Yacht of the Year was a tie between the Dufour 470 and Jeanneau 60.
There were also wins for the Lagoon 55 catamaran and Discovery 48.
In the kit section, Musto‘s Flexlite Vapour range won through, as did ePropulsion‘s Spirit 1.0 Evo electric outboard.
Rob Peake, Chelsea Magazines marine group editor, announced a partnership for 2022 with the Disabled Sailors Association, who become Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting’s Charity of the Year. The charity’s chairman and founder Mike Wood spoke to those present about its fundraising campaign for a new boat to take wheelchair users to sea.
The awards finished with a Lifetime Achievement award for Sir Chay Blyth, 50 years on from his pioneering solo voyage around the world, against the winds and currents. Sir Chay was there with Lady Felicity Blyth to receive the award.
The event was live streamed on the Facebook page of Yachts & Yachting magazine and remains available for viewing.
For more information on all the categories, contenders, and of course the winners, visit the British Yachting Awards website and see the February 2022 issue of the magazine, published in the New Year.