The accolade is awarded to a young sailor who shows outstanding performance in competition, and William was presented with his award at a ceremony in at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at London’s Alexandra Palace on 05 March 2017 by Helena Lucas, Paralympic Sailing Gold Medallist.     

William, who turns 14 this month, has competed in both the Optimist and Feva classes around Europe and began 2016 by coming second in the Optimist Spring Championships in Cardiff, and then followed this up by qualifying for the Gold fleet in Palamos Spain. At the Optimist selections he qualified for a place in the European Optimist team and competed in Crotone in Italy as part of the British team finishing as second Brit despite a tough start. He was also part of the GB team sailing in Naples, Braassermeermeer, and Monaco. He finished 6th overall in the British Open Optimist Champs and 2nd in the British Optimist Nationals in Largs. He also scored 6th in the Inland Optimist Champs, 2nd in the Late Summer Champs and won the Winter Championships at Datchet.    

At the same time he teamed up with his friend Finley Dickinson and they competed in the Feva Class. They began slowly, finishing 10th at the Spring Champs in their first event and first sail together.  They then won the Inland Championships at Queen Mary Sailing Club and followed this up by winning the 2016 Feva World Championships in Santander, Spain, taking both the open trophy and the junior event.  This victory triggered an unexpected invite to the Endeavour Trophy event at Burnham on Crouch. The boys, although being a little on the small side, sailed extremely well and topped their year off by winning race 4 from Olympian Ben Saxton! They finished the event 18th overall but had their moment in the sun!   

Having described the past year as “incredible”, William is currently in the National Optimist Squad and is focused on trying to go one better than last year and qualify to represent the UK at the Optimist Worlds in Thailand whilst also attempting to defend the Feva World title in Holland.   

Created in 2014, the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards recognise the outstanding achievement and performance of young people across the range of activities the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing and powerboating.    

RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson said: “We’re delighted to recognise the achievements of these sailors and windsurfers who have all shown lots of hard work, sacrifice and determination to the sport.    

“The Awards also help to emphasize the endless support of our many volunteers who work so hard at the club level to give our sailors the best possibly start to their future sailing careers.”    

For more information on the RYA Regional Youth Champion Award visit www.rya.org.uk/go/youthchampion