Amateur beats Ben Ainslie and Dee Caffari


Endeavour champion Nick Craig has been as named the YJA Yachtsman of the Year.

Craig won his fifth ‘champion of champions’ title at Burnham-on-Crouch in October at the event where national champions from every class face each other.

He also won the OK world championship to become the first person to simultaneously hold the OK world, UK national and inland titles, his fifth RS400 national championship and the D1 nationals at the first attempt.

His 2011 titles take Craig’s total to seven world championships, including four in the OK class, and 22 UK national championships.

Also nominated for the Yachting Journalists’ Association’s award were Ben Ainslie for his successes in the Finn class, which last year included victory in the Olympic test event Sail for Gold at Weymouth, and Dee Caffari, who became the first triple, female and non-stop circumnavigator when placing sixth in the Barcelona World Race.

Ainslie had previously been named Yachtsman of the Year in 1999 and 2002 on his own, in 2004 and 2008 alongside Britain’s other Olympic medallists and in 1995 as part of the RYA Youth Team who won the IYRU Nautica World Youth Championship.

Caffari won the 2006 award after becoming the first woman to sail solo round the world against the prevailing winds and tides.

After being handed his award at the London Boat Show by last year’s recipient, Geoff Holt, Craig hailed ‘grass-roots’ sailing as a wonderful sport, which left always left him ‘itching’ to go sailing again by each Tuesday at work.

Craig’s fifth Endeavour Trophy victory drew him level with Mike Holmes and Geoff Carveth as the most successful sailor in the event’s 50 year-history and, by extension, the most successful British amateur dinghy sailor of all time.

Click here to see a full list of the award’s previous winners.

Geoff Holt is Yachtsman of the Year.

Sam Davies wins Yachtsman of the Year.

Gold medallists win Yachtsmen of the Year.

Dee Caffari named Yachtsman of the Year.

Image: Sailing Scenes