The Royal Southern Yacht Club celebrates an outstanding year

Report: Peta Stuart-Hunt
All photos: Chris Gillingham
Hamble, Hampshire, UK 
Plaudits & a stunning array of trophies were awarded – including the ‘Champion of Champions’ prize – at the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s annual Prizegiving held on Saturday 14th November.
The Royal Southern Yacht Club and its membership have enjoyed a truly outstanding year of success both in UK waters and on the world’s sailing stage. The Club’s packed on-water programme has combined top quality racing and superb cruising for sailing and motor boating members, with some terrific results being gained across the board.
Added to this intoxicating mix was the commissioning of the Prince Philip Yacht Haven by its Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in June, providing a first-class facility and lasting legacy for members, visiting yachtsmen and the Hamble community.
Following a sumptuous three course dinner provided courtesy of the Club and enjoyed by 145 guests, the annual Prizegiving commenced under the stewardship of the Rear Commodore Sailing Graham Nixon, accompanied by the evening’s special guest, Libby Greenhalgh, the navigator on Team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race, handing out the prizes.
There are over 100 trophies and awards and in a fitting opener to the presentations, it was Cadet, Youth and Academy members being recognised first. Trophies went to Ben Childerley, Charles Handley, Finlay Craigen and Chris James.
Finlay Craigen

Finlay Craigen with Libby Greenhalgh.

The Junior Cadet and Optimist sailor Isabelle Waha was the recipient of the inaugural Richard Cann Trophy, presented by Richard’s parents in his memory. Richard was a member of the Club from the age of 12, but very sadly passed away last year.
Kate & Chris Cann with Chris James

Kate & Chris Cann with Chris James collecting the Trophy on behalf of Isabelle Waha.

British Sailing Team member Hannah Diamond was awarded the Morning Flight Trophy for an outstanding performance in double-handed racing in the Nacra 17. Hannah is currently in Rio preparing for December’s Copa do Brasil, the last regatta in the Olympic venue before the games next year.
Special prizes also went to Annabel Vose and Nikki Curwen.  Annabel’s in recognition of her outstanding performance this year, winning the Women’s World Youth Match Racing championship, the Student Yachting Worlds; she was a semi-finalist at the Eurosaf & ISAF Youth Worlds, as well as being a member of the first all-female crew in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, sailing Concise 2 in the Fast 40 class.  Nikki qualified for this year’s Mini Transat and is currently mid-Atlantic, en-route to Guadeloupe in her Classe Mini 6.5m. Both are products of the Royal Southern’s youth development and Academy programmes.
Hotly contested ‘Champion of Champions’
The Royal Southern’s Summer Series Regattas are perhaps the most hotly contested of all the Club events and the prestigious ‘Champion of Champions’ title was once again up for grabs this year. The ‘Champion of Champions’ award honours performance and consistency across all the classes of yacht that compete in the Royal Southern Yacht Club Summer Series.
The wonderful prize, donated by Barbados Tourism Marketing, comprises flights and hotel accommodation in Barbados for two people for one week in January giving them the opportunity to take part in Barbados Week, enjoy all the legendary Bajan hospitality that surrounds race week on the Island, including the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race.
Annie Kelly & Andy Howe, with David Mead

Annie Kelly & Andy Howe, with David Mead

In presenting the Award to an ecstatic Annie Kelly and Andy Howe with Black Jack II, winner of the hotly contested IRC 3 fleet, former Past Commodore David Mead stood in for Cheryl Carter, the UK Director of Barbados Tourism Marketing, who was regrettably unable to attend owing to ill health.
David Mead said: “A huge vote of thanks must go to Barbados Tourism Marketing for once again donating such a superb prize to the best performing sailors in our Summer Series regattas.”

Annie and Andy’s win was greeted with cheers and applause as the couple were clearly completely taken by surprise as they became engaged only three weeks ago and are planning to get married next September.

Annie said: “We have entered the Royal Southern Summer Series for ten years and had mixed results. This year we had a wonderful crew on board Black Jack II and it was truly a corinthian team.”
Andy agreed, commenting: “Every year we’ve improved on the water but we didn’t compromise in the off-water activities either with an emphasis on mixing great fun with great competition. It’s all about creating and maintaining a strong team spirit.”
A large team of volunteers and their boats help make these high profile events run smoothly and awards were presented in recognition of that commitment. As Graham Nixon pointed out:
Committee Boats and RIBs don’t grow on trees, but arrive in a timely manner at the appointed place and time in the Solent and elsewhere because their owners are prepared to help. This year we have recognised the contribution of individual members and their yachts and RIBs that have fulfilled these roles.”
The full list of Awards and their highly deserving winners will be published alongside a gallery of images on the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s website:
Notes to Editors:
  • The Club celebrated its 175th Anniversary in 2012. The Royal Southern, whose Patron is HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh K.G. K.T., is one of Europe’s premier yacht racing organisers, excelling at all levels of competition and enjoying the practical experience of internationally qualified race officers amongst its members.  Many of the Club’s sailing members have achieved notable successes on the international stage, from world champions in dinghies and keelboats to the twice winner of the classic Rolex Fastnet Race.
  • Quadruple Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist, & America’s Cup winning sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, and single-handed circumnavigators, Samantha Davies, Sir Chay Blyth and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston are all Honorary Members as is disabled yachtsman and disability sports ambassador Geoff Holt and Paralympic medallist Helena Lucas. The latest name to be added to this distinguished Honorary Membership list is that of Ian Williams, 5 x World Match Racing Champion.
  • The Prince Philip Yacht Haven was commissioned by the Club’s Patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, on 4th June 2015.  This was the culmination of a project that started 14 years ago.
  • The Club has a proud and illustrious history in the sport and an active membership in excess of 1700 adults and 140 Academy members.

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