The Royal Yachting Association has begun the search for the most inspiring young sailors in the country.
The Hamble-based organisation is looking for nominations for the prestigious RYA regional young sailor of the year awards.
The aim of the process is to select a winner in each of the RYA’s 13 regions, all of whom are then automatically put forward for the National YJA Pantaenius young sailor of the year award, with three finalists shortlisted by the Yachting Journalists Association (YJA) from all of the nominees.
Individuals, clubs or other organisations have until October 20 to nominate young sailors in the RYA’s southern region, which stretches from Poole Harbour in the west to Chichester in the east.
The award is open to sailors and powerboaters who do not celebrate their 19th birthday before December 31, 2011.
The RYA’s southern regional committee will decide on the south’s regional young sailor of the year winner from the nominations received.
RYA chief executive Sarah Treseder said: ‘The awards are a fantastic opportunity to recognise the achievements of young people in our sport.
‘This year, more than ever, young people around the country have been showcasing our sport to the nation.
‘These awards would not be possible without your nominations, so please do put forward your winning sailor, windsurfer, powerboater or jet skier.’
The RYA Southern winner – or winners if it is a crew or team – and their families will be treated to a VIP day at the 2013 London Boat Show, where the national winner will be announced.
Previous winners include Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur.
One contender in the southern region is Hill Head’s Billy Vennis-Ozanne – the 12 year-old RS Tera Sport 2012 world champion.
The young racer took the title in a hard-fought regatta on Lake Iseo in Italy, fending off strong competition from a 40-strong international fleet.
Last year’s southern region winners, Annabel Vose and Megan Brickwood from Southampton, went on to win the overall national title.