RYA Cymru Wales board member Stephen Tudor is well known in Wales as one of the driving forces behind the Welsh National Sailing Academy and Event Centre in Pwllheli. 

Stephen was nominated for the prestigious '2016 Irish Sailing Association Sailor of the Year Award' and last September he became the first non-Irishman to win a Sailor of the Month award from Afloat magazine.

He has been secretary of the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association (ISORA) since 2010 and has helped it grow to 54 competing boats last year, a membership of more than a thousand and an organisation seen as being on the cutting edge of offshore race management.

"It is quite an honour to have received an award from ISA for being the sailor of the month but then to be in the line-up of top Irish Sailors,  nominated for the Sailor of the Year, was fantastic and something I will cherish forever" said Pwllheli chartered surveyor Tudor.

He also won the Wolf's Head, ISORA's top award for the challenging series of races across the Irish Sea, as his boat Sgrech came first overall this year. 

This is the third time Tudor has won the ISORA Championship title. "Through ISORA and these awards I hope that the maritime ties between Wales and Ireland will be strengthened. I see this as more than an award for me personally but spreading the word about Pwllheli, Wales and ISORA," he added.

"It was a great team effort over a long campaign, there are 12 races in the series and we competed in most of them with many trips back and fore to Ireland.

"We won it on the last race, which was very pleasing. I was the first person from outside of Ireland to get the Afloat award, which was a great honour, but then it was a shock really when I was nominated for the Sailor of the Year award by the Irish Sailing Association.

"The award ceremony was at the Royal Dublin Showground and the welcome I received was awesome. They also mentioned the work at Pwllheli as part of the reason for the award.

"We are just 70 miles from Ireland so there is huge scope for collaboration between us and the Irish, we have so much in common across the Irish Sea - it is something I am trying to push at every opportunity."

Tudor first took part in races to Ireland in the 1970s, getting a J109 boat in 2011, getting involved in ISORA as secretary and also winning the overall title in 2012 and 2013.

"I became secretary in 2010 and we have developed the communication and promotion of ISORA, now our newsletter goes to more than a thousand people while the tracking of the boats has transformed the visual element," explained Tudor.

"All this has been going on in tandem with the developments in Pwllheli, which has been on the boil since 2003."

Tudor's efforts have also been recognised by RYA Cymru Wales and the RYA nationally, but being recognised in Ireland as well is still something quite special.