George Ford from Walton and Frinton Yacht Club is a finalist in the 2020 Panerai Challenger Trophy

George Ford, from Walton and Frinton Yacht Club, is one of three young OnBoard (OB) sailors to have been shortlisted for the 2020 Panerai Challenger Trophy, an award which promotes the power of sailing in positively impacting young people’s lives.
03 Aug 20

Hooked on sailing ever since his mum found a sailing course for himself and his brother during the summer holidays, George continued to sail through the RYA’s OnBoard programme and achieved his RYA Stage 2, 3 and 4. 

Sadly, three years ago George's mum was diagnosed with cancer and passed away last summer. George continued to get on the water and his club invited him to start assisting with the Club's OB sessions. He successfully achieved his Seamanship Skills and Assistant Instructor certificates and is now a valued member of the instructor team. He can start his Dinghy Instructor course when he turns 16 next October.

George said of his achievement: “I feel honoured to be even considered for such a special award and for it to be in sailing, something I am so passionate about is truly amazing.”

The Panerai Challenger Trophy

Now in its third year, the Panerai Challenger Trophy recognises outstanding individuals who have embraced the power of sailing or windsurfing to achieve a personal triumph that inspires us all. It also recognises and rewards the OnBoard clubs or centres which have made this possible.

No fewer than 31 nominations were received from OnBoard clubs and centres sharing the incredible achievements of their young sailors, and outlining how winning the award would help the sailor continue their development and enable the club/centre invest in supporting other young sailors to thrive on the water.

As a finalist, George will receive £2,500 to further his understanding, enjoyment or participation in sailing, along with £5,000 to further the OnBoard aims and work of Walton and Frinton Yacht Club.

Heidi Wright, who runs the OnBoard programme at Walton and Frinton Yacht Club said: “I enjoy instructing but when it not only gives a lifelong passion but improves the mental well-being of individuals it is even more worth it. We are such a small but growing operation it is nice to be recognised.”

On Friday 30 October,one of these inspiring young people will be revealed as the overall Panerai Challenge Trophy winner for 2020 and be awarded £5,000 for their own sailing and £10,000 for their clubs.

Find more information about the Panerai Challenger Trophy

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres. 

The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit