HRH The Princess Royal presents RYA Yachtmaster of the Year 2016

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


HRH The Princess Royal presents RYA Yachtmaster of the Year 2016 

Breaking news from the RYA stand at the London Boat Show

Zara Roberts (30) has been awarded the RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year 2016 for her exceptional performance across all aspects of the examination.

Zara, from Scarborough, was presented with the prestigious trophy by HRH The Princess Royal today [Wednesday, 11 January 2017] at the 63rd London Boat Show at ExCeL, London;

She undertook her exam for RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore for power vessels in May 2016 through RYA Training Centre “Quality Time” at Portland on the South Coast

The recipient of the prestigious Yachtmaster™ of the Year annual award must possess outstanding skills and knowledge as a skipper and will have successfully demonstrated their expertise and experience during their exam.  

About Zara

Zara has a strong link to the Navy through her parents and was introduced to sailing from an early age. With Scarborough’s sea cadets she learned to sail, windsurf and powerboat, eventually becoming an instructor at Scotland’s national sailing school.

Her passion for sailing was fuelled further when she participated in Tall Ship Races. Zara explained: “I fell in love with sailing, I just knew I wanted to be at sea. Then I started to look at it as a career.”

Qualifying as a water sports instructor through UKSA (United Kingdom Sailing Academy) then prompted a move to Australia, where Zara worked in Sydney gaining more experience in the marine industry across a range of boats both large and small. “Being paid to sail and introduce others to the sport is an incredibly rewarding experience,” she said.

Her journey

Zara’s return to the UK saw her gain a degree in Nutrition and branch out as a nutritionist and personal trainer, a business she still runs today and which she combines with her career afloat.

But the sea was calling. Zara took her RYA Day Skipper exam, propelling her towards her next goal – the RYA Yachtmaster™ qualification.   

While Zara had plenty of sailing experience under her belt, the time she had spent away from the water made the exam extra tough.

High praise

Still, she dug in and found the strength to perform at the highest level on all counts. David Gray, a long serving RYA examiner was so impressed that he nominated Zara for RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year just a few days after having conducted her practical exam. David said that Zara demonstrated a very well rounded ability, excelling in all aspects of the exam - the theory, practical tasks and soft skills necessary for effective command.

In his report, he summarised: “This is an exceptional candidate in all respects. Her previous experience in both Tall Ships and Superyachts and a close relationship with the Royal Navy through her parents has had a noticeable influence on her outstanding command capabilities. The challenge was with the examiner having difficulty in finding any area of marginal weakness on which to comment.”

Inspiration

Speaking after the presentation on the RYA Stand [C009], Zara said: “Passing the Yachtmaster exam means the world to me. It was a really pivotal moment in my life. I thought I had done well, but the weather was awful and it was mentally taxing, so I had no idea I’d done that well.

“I’m so fortunate to enjoy what I do, and I hope this award will inspire others to get out on the water.”

A huge honour

RYA Chief Examiner and Director of Training and Qualifications, Richard Falk, today said: “The RYA Yachtmaster is undoubtedly the world’s leading yachting qualification. Not only does the RYA Yachtmaster of the Year have to be a first class sailor and navigator, they also have to demonstrate that with an examiner at their shoulder watching their every move. To be the best candidate of the year amongst more than 3,000 people who undertake the certificate of competence exam each year is an outstanding achievement – and one that Zara should feel rightly proud of.” 

Nominations for the highly-respected award were put forward by the RYA’s worldwide team of RYA Yachtmaster™ examiners. In recognition of her achievement, Zara received the RYA Yachtmaster Trophy – donated by the Royal Institute of Navigation. 

To find out how you can learn how to sail, visit www.rya.org.uk/coursestraining or come along to the RYA Stand C009 to find out more.

The RYA Yachtmaster™ qualification itself is highly respected across the globe, and is a great entry ticket to the maritime industry. Click here to find out more about the Yachtmaster™ exam.

For more information contact:

Sara Mills / Loretta Spridgeon

RYA Press Office

Tel: 023 8060 4194 / 07789 556080

Email: sara.mills@rya.org.uk

www.rya.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

About the RYA

The RYA is the national body for all forms of recreational, competitive and professional boating.  It represents dinghy and yacht racing, motor and sail cruising, RIBs and sportsboats, powerboat racing, windsurfing, inland cruising and personal watercraft.

The RYA is recognised by all government offices as being the negotiating body for the activities it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 108,000 personal members, the majority of whom choose to go afloat for purely recreational non-competitive pleasure on coastal and inland waters. There are an estimated further 500,000 boat owners nationally who are members of RYA affiliated clubs and class associations.

The RYA also sets and maintains recognised standards for training for both leisure and commercial boating through a network of more than 2,500 RYA Recognised Training Centres in over 50 countries. More than 220,000 people per year complete RYA training courses

The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone.  For more information please refer to our website www.rya.org.uk

You can find the RYA at RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Southampton, SO31 4YA

ALL ENDS

The Royal Yachting Association is a company limited by guarantee and is registered in England. Registered business number 878357. Registered business address RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4YA. VAT registration number 239281352
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