Double gold Olympic star turned Extreme 40 tactician Sarah Ayton could add another award to her growing list of accolades after being named as a semi-finalist for The Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Awards.
The 36-year-old from Birdham was nominated by Chichester Yacht Club for her outstanding sailing achievements and is one of 30 national semi-finalists selected from many deserving entries from across the UK.
The annual awards are now in their fifth year after being founded by Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky to reward the outstanding passion, commitment and achievements demonstrated within Britain’s maritime communities at local and national level.
UK sailing clubs were invited to nominate members they felt deserved recognition within one three categories: club service, bravery or sailing achievement.
Nominated within the sailing achievement category, Ayton achieved success at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, winning gold at both.
Last year, she was awarded the Female ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award and has since become the only female to compete and coach in the Extreme Sailing Series.
If Ayton makes it to the final three, she will win a prize of £1,000 for Chichester Yacht Club, with the eventual winner earning themselves a personal £1,000 prize.
The overall winner also receives a bottle of Old Pulteney 21-year-old, voted World Whisky of the Year in 2012.
Margaret Mary Clarke, senior brand manager of Old Pulteney, said: “Old Pulteney is very proud to name Sarah Ayton as one of our 2016 Maritime Heroes finalists and we wish her the very best of luck for the next stage of the competition.
“This year’s awards have uncovered some truly outstanding stories of club service, sailing achievement and incredible bravery and it has been a tough field to judge.”
The Old Pultneney Single Malt Scotch Whiskey distillery was established in 1826 and has won awards across the globe.
Ayton will find out whether she has made the final three on December 29, with the eventual winner announced on January 16.
So enthusiastic are Dell Quay SC’s Frostbite Series competitors that they were determined to race in their penultimate 2016 event, despite a fast-running tide and a mirror finish on the creek indicating barely a breath of breeze.
The race officer set a course northwards with the tide and reiedy on Father Christmas and his helpful elves aboard their reindeer-nose-red inflatable to finish the race before the current pushed everyone into the Fishbourne mud.
A fleet of 13 set off, though two who had crossed the start line too soon couldn’t make their way back against the tide. The remaining 11 enjoyed the sunshine, if not the frustrations of seeing positions go from good to bad and sometimes back again as whispers of wind tracked across the water.
First to reach Santa’s waterborne grotto was Mike Dicker in his Aero. But Carol Andrews, heading a trio of Solos who finished next, was a comfortable winner on handicap, followed by class-mates Richard Bridgmont and Mike Shaw, leaving Dicker in fourth.
The scheduled second race looked out of the question until race officer Jean Sagues felt a light breeze from the south west and decided he could set a short triangular course close to the club.
Though the breeze dropped away on the second lap, with slacker water there was enough for slightly more rewarding racing, and Santa was required only for his safety-patrol duties.
Again, Solos took the top three places on corrected time, with first boat home, the RS400 of Peter King and Jamie Prescott, dropping to fourth. Winner was Fred Hilgers, with Andrews second and third Simon Verrall, who sensibly sailed close to the quay to avoid the ebbing tide as he approached the finish.
Verrall currently leads overall, with Hilgers second and Andrews third, but eight races remain before the winner is decided.
The open series (free entry) continues on December 31, first start 11.30am. For details see www.dellquaysc.co.uk
A very light north-westerly was just enough for a race when the latest round of Frozen Toe races were held at Chichester Yacht Club.
A wind shadow settled over the first mark as the fleet approached. Sailors skillfully managing to round the mark were frustratingly pushed back with the tide. After ten minutes of patiently waiting and retrodrifting, a light breeze set.
The fast fleet elected to do a second lap, allowing the RS 400 to sail away in fickle winds to establish a 13-minute lead at the gun.
The Frozen Toe series for the most part was blessed with favourable winds and blue skies, in contrast to the final day’s sombre ambience and glassy seas.
After the racing was finished, and the boats were packed away, the competitors enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies before the prizegiving.
Results: Overall winner - Guy Mayger (Felpham SC). Fast fleet - 1 Sophie Mackley & Tom Jeffcoate (Shoreham SC); 2 William Warren & Ben Clarke (Shoreham SC); 3 Ben Jones & Helen Hilditch (Shoreham SC); 4 Nick & Roger Elliman (Chichester YC); 5 Ross Fisher (Felpham SC). Medium fleet - 1 Guy Mayger (Felpham SC); 2 Nick & Biddy Colbourne (Chichester YC); 3 Ian Lissamore (Chichester YC); 4 Mark Harper (Chichester YC); 5 Paul Kameen (Bosham SC); 6 Ian Payne (Chichester YC); Slow fleet - 1 Samuel Brackley (Felpham SC); 2 Jo Andrews (Felpham SC); 3 Robin Stein (CMYC/Queen Mary).
CYC’s next big event is Snowflake racing on January 15.
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