Youngest ever winner of Yachtsman of the Year award revealed
The 2022 YJA Yachtsman of the Year and YJA Young Sailor of the Year trophies were awarded on the main stage at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show on Saturday (25 February 2023).
The Yachting Journalists’ Association chairman Clifford Webb, vice-chairman Mark Jardine and committee member Lou Johnson were joined on stage by Mike McIntyre, gold medallist in the Star class at the 1988 Olympics, as well as daughter Eilidh, gold medallist in the Women’s 470 class at the 2020 Olympics, to present the awards.
First up was the YJA Young Sailor of the Year award, with Eilidh McIntyre opening the envelope to announce the winner as 17-year-old Charlie Dixon, who dominated the Youth Worlds in the Hague in the iQFoil windsurfing discipline with eight wins from eleven races, as well as wins at the International Games on Lake Garda, and the under-19 Worlds at Lake Silvaplana.
The other shortlisted nominees were 15-year-old Joe Rowe, who won the Topper World Championship on Lake Garda, and the Scaramouche Sailing Trust’s ILCA and Etchells sailor Kai Hockley.
Next up was the YJA Yachtsman of the Year, with Mike McIntyre presenting the trophy, which was first awarded in 1955. The crowd cheered as he announced Hattie Rogers as the youngest ever winner of the trophy. Rogers, described as “the face of the foiling generation” by esteemed sailing journalist Magnus Wheatley, won the SailGP Waszp Inspire Grand Final in San Francisco and is an integral part of the Athena Pathway programme in the ETF26 Series.
Fellow shortlisted nominees were sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race winner Richard Palmer, fireball, merlin rocket, scorpion, solo and streaker dinghy supremo Tom Gillard and international moth world champion Dylan Fletcher-Scott.
On winning the trophy Rogers says: “I didn’t even expect to be nominated let alone win. To be alongside Dylan, Richard and Tom – who have had fantastic years – it’s just mad. Winning this award in the year that my Grandpa died, because he won it for his One Ton Cup win in 1974, makes it really special not only to me but the whole family. A really proud moment for the Rogers family.”