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1 December 2004, 11:10 am
Finallists Announced
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Raymarine YJA Yachtsman and Young Sailor Of The Year

Celebrating Britain's Olympic sailing success, the medallists dominate the nominations and the shortlist of finalists for this year's Raymarine YJA Yachtsman of the Year award.

Meanwhile, many of the finalists for Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year could be hot contenders for the 2008 Olympic Games. The finalists now go forward to a vote by the members of the 300 strong Yachting Journalists' Association. Winners of the two prestigious titles will be announced on press day, Thursday 6 January 2005, at the Schroders London Boat Show, immediately following the official opening ceremony. Finalists for Raymarine YJA Yachtsman of the Year · 2004 British Olympic sailing medallists - team nomination Britain's Olympic sailing team won five medals in Athens, securing the accolade of top sailing nation at the Games for the second successive time. The team nomination is for medallists:

Ben AINSLIE MBE - Gold medallist in the Finn Singlehander Class

Shirley ROBERTSON MBE, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb - Gold medallists in the Yngling Class

Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANFIELD- Silver medallists in the 470 Class

Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS - Bronze medallists in the 49er Class

Nick DEMPSEY- Bronze medallist in the Mistral Windsurfing Class

Britain's Olympic sailing Gold medallists - joint nomination

Ben Ainslie MBE: capped off a remarkable year by winning the Finn Gold Cup (world championship) for the third successive time, before going on to overcome a disqualification on the first day of the Olympic regatta to win the Gold medal and equal Rodney Pattisson's Olympic haul of two Gold medals and a Silver.

Shirley Robertson MBE, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb: won the Women's Yngling Keelboat Class in the most emphatic manner - with a day to spare. This is the second time Shirley has won an Olympic Gold medal.

Mike Golding, winner of the 2004 Transat solo Transatlantic Race

By all accounts, this year's Solo Transatlantic race from Plymouth to Boston was the severest test for both the skippers and their boats. Mike Golding's Open 60 monohull Ecover was one of the first to suffer gear failure when the pump used to power his yacht's keel from one side to the other, failed within 24 hours of the start, and he was left to pump the canting keel manually each time he tacked - leaving him with arms like Popeye by the finish! Golding displayed supreme seamanship to keep Ecover racing competitively through four deep weather depressions to take monohull honours with a time of 12 days 15hours 18mins 8secs - 2 days faster than the previous record set by Yves Parlier 12 years earlier.

Finalists for Raymarine Young Sailor of the Year

Tom PHIPPS (16yrs) and Jonathan COOK (16yrs)

The pair, who were nominated last year, have had an even better sailing season during 2004 by winning in Poland. Throughout the season they have consistently beaten their rivals, and the majority of adults despite being only 16 years old. They are the leading youth catamaran sailors and having been selected by the RYA as Olympic transitional sailors now have the Olympics firmly in their sights. Accolades include Gold medal winners at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2004 in the Hobie 16 Class (H16); 1st H16 European Championships; 1st RYA Youth Championships, Pwhelli; 2nd French National H16 Championships; 3rd U19 H16 World Championships, Mexico; RYA Olympic transitional sailors; starting an F18 campaign as well as continuing with the H16.

Nick THOMPSON (18yrs)

Nick's performance this year has made him a contender for the 2008 Olympic Games. He is one of the youngest sailors in the RYA Olympic Development Squad (having been a RYA Olympic transitional sailor until October). He has proven that he can compete with the best Laser sailors in the world after sailing in a succession of grade 1 events throughout Europe in the gold fleet during 2004, when he surpassed all expectations. His many accolades include: Gold medallist at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2004, Poland in the Laser Class; youngest male member of the RYA Olympic Development Squad; 5th RYA Olympic Trials racing against seniors where he won the last race beating Athens 2004 Olympian, Paul Goodison (Fleet of 45 Invite only); 2nd Europa Cup 2004, Hoorne, Holland (Senior Olympic fleet of 62 boats); Gold fleet at Kiel Olympic Week (Grade 1 Regatta) 29th overall (184 boat fleet); 6th Laser Nationals (1st youth in the Senior Olympic fleet);1st BUSA National Championship; 1st Inland National Championship; 1st RYA National Youth Championship; Sports Scholarship to Exeter University; RYA Marlow Award winner; Michael Austin Harlick Award Winner (Outstanding sports person in Hampshire); Nominated for BBC South 2004 Young Sportsman of the Year; a training partner to Athens Olympian, Paul Goodison before the Olympic Games in Athens.

Tristan JAQUES (18yrs) and Alain SIGN (18yrs)

The first time a crew has gained a clean sweep in all events in the same year, achieving 1st in the 29er class National Championship (winning for the second year) and in the 29er Class Inland Championship, RYA Youth Championships, the 29er World Championship, the 29er Eurocup Series, and the J105 National Championship (part of the crew). Additionally, they are RYA transitional sailors in the 470 and were members of the RYA 29er Class Youth Squad.

RYA Regional Winners

· East: Sam Honours

· East Midlands: William Twemlow

· Northern Ireland: John Beatty

· North West: Jonathon McGovern and Stuart Bithell

· Scotland: Charlotte Dobson

· South: Nick Thompson

· South East: Collette Blair

· South West: Tom Phipps and Jon Cook

· Thames Valley: Justin Visser

· Wales: Eifon Mon

· West Midlands: Alison Young

· Yorkshire and Humberside: Chris Duffin

The awards recognise British sporting excellence in power or sail and acknowledge achievement of any sort - such as breaking a world record, a phenomenal win, overcoming adversity, or showing exceptional courage.

RYA/YJA
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