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British sailor receives top yachting honor

Robin Knox-Johnston (center), the British yachtsman of the year, is shown with Boats.com president Ian Atkins (left) and Yachting Journalists Association chairman Bob Fisher.

Robin Knox-Johnston (center), the British yachtsman of the year, is shown with Boats.com president Ian Atkins (left) and Yachting Journalists Association chairman Bob Fisher.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, was named British yachtsman of the year Tuesday by the Yachting Journalists Association.

The awards ceremony was sponsored for the first time by Boats.com and the awards were presented by Boats.com president Ian Atkins and Yachting Journalists Association chairman Bob Fisher at Trinity House in London.

Association members voted Knox-Johnston the winner from a closely contested shortlist that included International Sailing Federation sailing world champion Giles Scott, of Weymouth, and Hamble-based solo transatlantic sailor Miranda Merron.

Knox-Johnston’s achievements last year culminated in a third-in-class finish in the Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race. The Portsmouth-based sailor has been named Yachtsman of the Year four times. The first honor dates from 1969, when he became the first person to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation.

“At last I've caught up with Sir Ben Ainslie, having now won my fourth award,” Knox-Johnston said. “The other two nominees have performed fantastically and both deserved to win, so I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.”

Windsurfer Emma Wilson, of Christchurch in Dorset, the current youth world champion, was named the Boats.com YJA Young Sailor of the Year at the awards ceremony. She topped a shortlist that included under-16 Topper Sailing world champion Calum Rosie, of Helensburgh, Scotland, and national Honda RYA Youth RIB champion Kamila Czartolomna, of Wolverhampton.

There also was a special Lifetime Achievement Award for Iain Percy, recognizing his contribution to the Bart’s Bash charity initiative to raise funds for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.

“We announced our involvement with this highly prestigious award just recently, and are very proud to be a part of today’s celebration to honor the worthy winners and all those shortlisted,” Atkins said in a statement. “As a longtime competitive sailor myself, I felt strongly about being involved in a framework that rewards the most deserving yachtsmen. This new partnership with the YJA represents a perfect fit for Boats.com and I’m delighted that we are now part of these historic awards.”

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