The Westerly Owners’ Association, thought to be the world’s biggest boat owner group, has appointed George Pickburn from Southampton as its new Commodore. He will serve for the next two years.

Mary Buchanan from Glasgow has been appointed Vice-Commodore.

George has been sailing yachts and dinghies for more than 30 years, starting in the early 1970’s. He subsequently became the proud owner of a 33ft Westerly Storm: “solid, British and good value”, in which he and his wife Jill have since gathered a growing number of sea-miles between their home berth in Portsmouth harbour and destinations around the English Channel and Brittany.

George holds the RYA’s Yachtmaster Offshore and Advanced Power Boat tickets and joined the Association 10 years ago. Becoming part of the association’s committee three years later, he went on to manage WOA’s presence at UK boat shows and stepped up to the role of Vice-Commodore in 2014.

He has run Warsash Sailing Club’s cadet programme and has also taught sailing for his local Scout group.

‘This year is the Association’s 50th anniversary,’ said George, ‘and I’m looking forward to leading the celebrations we’ve been planning for the past year. I’ve also begun a project to locate the many Westerly boats and their owners who are not yet Association members.’

For the past four years Mary has been chairperson of the Association’s Scotland Group which has gone from strength to strength during her watch.

Mary learned to sail as a schoolgirl at Inverclyde, Largs and went on to crew and helm the family folkboat and others.

After long admiring Westerly boats, in 2000 with her husband Ian she bought a 38ft Oceanranger on the Hamble and two years later sailed her back to Kip marina, Inverkip via the Isles of Scilly and Ireland’s east coast.

Mary said: ‘When we first joined WOA soon after buying the boat, I never dreamt I’d become their first flag officer to not hail from the south coast of England. Now, I’m looking forward to bringing a slightly different perspective to the position.

‘I was delighted by the appointment which I see as a privilege, to help sustain the reputation of the UK’s most prolific builder of boats for the leisure sailor – and what fine, durable boats they built.’