The 13 young sailors from the 13 RYA regions were nominated by sailing clubs and selected as winners by the regions' committees. Ranging from gold medal wins to outstanding dedication to their club, all of the winners have made a large impact on youth sailing this year.
In January the youngsters will be treated to a VIP day at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show followed by the national YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year Award ceremony where they will receive their Regional Young Sailor trophies.
RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder says: "Winning an RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year Award is a huge achievement and this year we are delighted to see such a broad selection of winners. We have youngsters who have given up their time and shown real dedication to their clubs whilst others have achieved outstanding results out on the race course. All regional winners are a fantastic representation of youth in our sport".
2012 RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year winners:
- Thames Valley and London: Lottie Harland
- Eastern: Peter Cullum
- North East: Christina Coates
- South East: Ruth Oliver
- South West: Saskia Sills
- Scotland: Lorenzo Chiavarini
- North West: Greg Kelly
- Northern Ireland: Robbie Gilmore
- East Midlands: Sarah Gowler
- Southern: Jack Arnell
- Yorkshire and Humberside: Hector Simpson
- West Midlands: Mya Kilpatrick-Wood
- Wales: Ellie Meopham
YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year Award
The three finalists of the 2012 YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year award have also been announced. Finalists include:
Lottie Harland, 16
Lottie who has Asperger's Syndrome has overcome many social difficulties to give other young sailors the benefit of her knowledge and the confidence to get out on the water. She helps out at her club and motivates others wherever she can. Lottie recently set up a junior committee and in the summer, she helps at the club's Sailability sessions one evening each week assisting physically and mentally disabled people to try sailing.
Saskia Sills, 16
Saskia Sills has made a huge impact in her first season in the Youth RS:X class. After winning the 2012 RYA Volvo Youth National Championships in April, she finished third overall in the RS:X Youth European Windsurfing Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, winning the Under 17 category. Saskia quickly followed that up with victory at her first ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland and another gold at the EUROSAF Youth Europeans. She also claimed the under 17 world title in addition to overall silver at the at the RS:X Youth Worlds in October.
Ben Jelf , 12
Ben at just 12 years old, has retained his two British titles in GT15 class, making this the third consecutive year he has held both the Junior Championship and Junior Sprint Championship's. He has also received international recognition of the highest level claiming both a UIM European Powerboat Championship Title in Estonia for the second consecutive year and securing silver against a fleet of over 20 other competitors at the UIM World GT15 Championships in Sweden. At Coniston Records Week (5-9 November) he once again achieved the World and British speed record, boosting it to 44.33mph.
Winners will be voted for by members of the YJA and will be announced at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show on 12 January 2012 at 2:00pm on the Knowledge Box.
For more information visit www.rya.org.uk/go/youngsailor