Girls clean up
It was a night of considerable surprises at last night's British Nautical Awards, not least because your favourite website won the coveted media award.
Centre stage at the awards ceremony this year it was always going to be Ellen MacArthur. Ellen not only picked up the e-peopleserve YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award but also the Challenge Business Offshore Yachtsman of the Year Award. This, it was announced, came as a result of "her outstanding performance in the Vendee Globe which captured not only the sailing world's imagination, but also the international public with her inspirational achievement."
This is the second time Ellen has been made Yachtsman of the Year and comes in the wake of being runner up to England football team captain David Beckham in the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year awards, incredibly, ahead of England and Liverpool striker Michael Owen. "It's wonderful to be recognised again with the BNA's premier award. However, I accept it on behalf of my team at Offshore Challenges, our title sponsor Kingfisher, and so many people from inside the sailing world who have helped me on my way," said a grateful MacArthur, more composed than she was two years ago.
Ellen added that the accolade she was most proud of this year and one which has received little publicity in the UK was winning the FICO Lacoste Offshore World Championships. This was an aggregate of her incredible race results over the past months - second in the Vendee, first in the Europe 1 New Man STAR, first in the Challenge Mondial Assistance, second in the Transat Jacques Vabre, etc. - placing her ahead of all the top French sailors.
Runners up for the e-peopleserve YJA Yachtsman of the Year Award were Mini Transat sailor Simon Curwen and power boaters Ian Sanderson and Peter Dredge. Jo Burchell and Lorna Graham, who competed two handed in the Rolex Fastnet Race and Helen Tew, the 89 year old who recently sailed across the Atlantic with her son, were runners up for the Challenge Business Offshore Yachtsman of the Year Award.
We felt that although Ellen was unquestionably top Offshore Yachtsman of the Year, in light of her receiving the main prize, Simon Curwen, the 'amateur sailor' who finished second in the highly competitive Mini Transat, ahead of pros like Brian Thompson and Sam Davies, should have won this award.
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