Mark Aitken has been nominated for an RYA Outstanding Contribution Award by his club and has been selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.  Mark will receive his award at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London on 16 November.  

Mark became involved with Youth Sailing at Warsash Sailing Club in 2008 when his eldest son learned to sail. In 2009 he became ‘Kipper King’ organising the sailing sessions for the younger age groups, before also taking responsibility for the older Cadets. By consolidating the two groups into a single Youth entity, he increased the number of participants and decreased the rate of attrition.  

Securing club funding for new boats he organised sessions by Class, basing the criteria on ability and size rather than age, ensuring all the sailors had fun whilst the older sailors also received top coaching. A firm believer in family participation, he persuaded other parents to gain RYA instructor certification and encourages youth sailors to participate in club racing and open events.  

Mark is a great ambassador for the club. He is welcoming to new members and sits on the Club’s Sailing Committee.  He is an active dinghy sailor and his drive and vision over the years have built an exceptional youth section of 150 active sailors.  

“I am grateful and honoured to have been nominated by Warsash Sailing Club for this award,” commented Mark. “I was not aware of the nomination until I received the award letter from the RYA. I am thoroughly looking forward to the day.”