Sponsor Nick Davis, of Apollo Boats, has gone to ground without paying for last year’s YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards

Nick Davis, who had entered a three-year deal to sponsor the YJA Yachtsman of the Year Awards through his company Apollo Boats, has gone to ground without paying for last year’s bash.

Last year’s awards were won by The Reverend Bob Shepton and young sailor Natasha Lambert.

The defaulting entrepreneur has left a huge hole in the finances of the Yachting Journalists’s Association, organisers of the awards, and the annual lunch at Trinity House, where the winners are traditionally announced, may have to be cancelled this January unless a new sponsor can be found.

June Hamilton, Secretary of the YJA reports that Nick Davis, through his Enterprises and associated companies, maritime security specialist, GoAgt, the franchised Local Letter Box, and boatbuilders Apollo Boats Ltd – have all collapsed in spectacular fashion.

June said: ‘This guy purported to be a millionaire but turned out to be a man of straw.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever been so comprehensively hoodwinked.’

She added: ‘The sponsorship of the 2015 awards is still in doubt.

‘If we can’t find a sponsor it would mean that all the YJA members who wanted to come would have to pay for their own lunch.

‘The prestige would go right down as it wouldn’t be held at Trinity House and wouldn’t have the television coverage, and it would be very sad for the industry.’

GoAgt has left hundreds of ex-military personnel based in the Middle and Far East unpaid with no way to get home.

It was through his Cowes based company, Apollo Boats Ltd that Davis signed up to three years of sponsorship of the prestigious YJA Yachtsman of the Year and Young Sailor of the Year Awards but reneged on his contract without paying what he owed after receiving all the benefits of the first year.

The awards were founded by the late Sir Max Aitken, a wartime Spitfire pilot, highly skilled yachtsman in both sail and power and co-founder of the London International Boat Show which he sponsored through his Express Newspaper empire. Sir Max Aitken bequeathed the exquisite silver Yachtsman of the Year trophy to the YJA in 1979 so that the awards would continue after his death.

Previous sponsors of the Awards include Pantaenius Yacht Insurance, Raymarine, MDL Marinas, and British Telecom.

Report from Barry Pickthall


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