A review of the best sailing events shortlisted for the British Yachting Awards 2020

2020 has been a particularly tricky year for sailing events and sport in general; our usual leisure world was put on hold for months and once the shackles were lifted, events across the globe had to reinvent themselves or risk abandonment. It was no surprise that many took the fall in the hope that 2021 will be kinder.

Our own team in Southampton has been kept busy by the year’s upheaval, with some of your favourite major global sailing events making the most of our complete suite of sailing logistics services. We have relocated freight into storage, diverted event infrastructure to new alternative locations and have provided feasibility studies for future logistics requirements all with the positive mind-set that these events will kick back in soon.

Here in the UK, certain sailing events did happen and six have been shortlisted for the ‘Event of the Year’ category by Yachts and Yachting Magazine and Sailing Today publications for their upcoming British Yachting Awards; an event in itself which has had to rethink proceedings and will be streamed virtually to the sailing community on 1st December.

E-Sailing GBR Nationals

Sticking with the virtual online world we are now living in, the E-Sailing GBR Nationals warrants particular mention. The RYA’s virtual championship was held in partnership with World Sailing and Virtual Regatta and gained over 9000 competitors this year, a record! Certainly there are now lots of young people being attracted into mainstream sailing as a result of the taste gained on a tablet. You can find out more about e-sailing with the RYA here: https://www.rya.org.uk/Pages/virtual-regatta.aspx

RS Aero Nationals

But for me E is on the alphabetical pathway to getting out on the water, proper, and few come close to RS and their RS Aero in making this happen in such a fun way. The RS Aero Nationals saw over 100 sailors of all ages racing at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club. It is thanks to their phenomenal efforts together with the class association and their Covid-safe practices that the event was held to great acclaim by the local community. Read the full report here: https://www.rsaerosailing.org/index.asp?p=results&rid=3716

Falmouth Week

The strength of a solid local community always amazes me but no more so than during these difficult times. The iconic summer regatta of Falmouth Week went ahead with a reduced sailing format thanks to the efforts of the six local presenting clubs. Despite the lack of shore side proceedings, Helford River Sailing Club, Mylor Yacht Club, Restronguet Sailing Club, Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, St Mawes Sailing Club and Flushing Sailing Club, together with the Port of Falmouth Sailing Association, organised some fantastic racing for 120 boats. https://falmouthweek.co.uk/sailing-week/

UK Laser Association International Laser Class Association Nationals

The team at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) must be congratulated for stepping in and saving this year’s UK Laser Association’s (UKLA) ILCA Nationals. Together, the class association and WPNSA have set the benchmark for delivering Covid-safe regattas, splitting the 200 strong fleet and taking a number of pioneering measures to ensure the event went ahead. Watch their video report here: https://youtu.be/Zgoo4gTddWg


The annual regatta exclusively for J Boats went ahead with the support of title sponsor Landsail Tyres with 50 boats and some 200 sailors competing. The 21st birthday of the event also included racing for two national titles, as well as Covid-secure socials in Cowes. https://www.keyyachting.com/j-cup/

Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Race the WightGAC Pindar - Celebrating UK’s 2020 sailing event successes image

The annual offshore racing series presented by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) forms the backbone of many a sailors’ calendar, continually effecting family holiday commitments and annual leave requests. It must have been met with great relief then when RORC announced its return to racing in August this year with an entirely new event. 133 boats took part in the 50 nautical mile race around the Isle of Wight and raised over £5000 for the NHS and Scaramouche Sailing Trust – a charity that I have great respect for and became trustee to this summer. The event certainly put a smile back on the face of MOD70 Powerplay’s owner, Peter Cunningham: https://youtu.be/pQJ4iq_D0Cg

We have all had to embrace change this year, in more ways than one – from shrugging off the prolonged closure of our sailing club changing rooms to zoom bar karate chats after racing – there is no doubt that the sailing community is a stronger one because of it. Congratulations must be extended to all local sailing clubs that hosted racing from club level upwards this year – to meet the demands of the current Covid safety measures is a big task and the sailing community and our mental health has benefitted from their efforts immensely.

Do show your appreciation of these efforts by casting your vote today for the British Yachting Awards ‘Event of the Year’ by going to https://www.britishyachtingawards.com/category/event-of-the-year/

Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your 2021 event planning.

Andrew Pindar OBE DL


Photo credits

Image 1: Aeros 2020 – Copyright RS Sailing

Image 2: Race the Wight – Copyright RORC