Sir Ben's coach David 'Sid' Howlett and the late 'Mr Henri' also achieved YJA accolades

Ben Ainslie has been named Yachting Journalists Association (YJA)
Yachtsman of the Year for 2012.

It marks an unprecedented sixth time that the five-time Olympic medallist has won the
prestigious award.

Ben achieved the 2012 title ahead of four-time world match-racing
champion Ian Williams and gold Paralympic medallist and ISAF 2011-12
sailing World Cup champion Helena Lucas MBE, who were also finalists.

awards were presented at a lunch and ceremony at Trinity House in London by Lady
Pippa Blake.

Ben, who was knighted in the New Year honours, was unable to attend the London event in person but managed to join today’s event via a
live television link from the team’s base in California.

He congratulated his fellow finallists Helena and

A video was also shown of Sir Ben receiving the award from YJA chairman Bob Fisher and Lady Pippa Blake at the Royal
Lymington Yacht Club just before he flew to San Francisco to join the Oracle
Team USA, the defender of the America’s Cup.

Sir Ben is also preparing for
the next America’s Cup World
Series regatta at Naples in April with his J P Morgan/Ben Ainslie
Racing Team.

He said 2012 had been quite a year with many highlights,
but the Olympic regatta had been the toughest: ‘I thought I might
have left it too late but it was all down to a match race with Jonas [Hogh-Christensen] in
the medal race, and I seem to enjoy those!’

The 35-year-old has now been at the top of his sport for 20 years, claimed four Olympic
gold medals and one silver medal, nine European titles and 10 world
championships going back to 1993.

Few sportsmen
in any discipline have stayed at the forefront of their careers for
such a sustained period.

Sir Ben, whose successes
peaked with winning his fourth
Olympic gold medal at Weymouth and Portland in the London 2012
Olympics, also won the Finn Gold Cup for a record sixth year, and concluded 2012 by being named ISAF
Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

The sailing star, who lives in Lymington, said
his next goal is to lead a British team for the next America’s Cup series,
wherever that would be held.

He added: ‘It has been a long-held ambition to be
part of the team that returns
the Cup to Britain after more than a 160-year absence.’

awards were sponsored by Pantaenius yacht insurer.

awards presented included a YJA special accolade for Sir Ben’s
coach, David ‘Sid’ Howlett, who won an MBE in the New Year’s honours.

YJA Lifetime Achievement award was posthumously won by the late Henry Strzelecki,
universally known as ‘Mr Henri’, who died on Boxing Day.

1963, Mr Henri founded the clothing company Henri Lloyd with Angus

prize was collected by his son Paul Strzlecki, , the joint chief
executive of Henri-Lloyd.

Guests were welcomed by John McCurdy, OBE, managing director, of Pantaenius UK.

Last Saturday, windsurfer Saskia Sills was named the YJA Pantaenius Young
Sailor of the Year for 2012.

16-year-old from Launceston, Cornwall, was presented with the trophy by Mr Fisher on the preview day of the
Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show.