The LDBS are delighted to share in the congratulations of Greig City Academy in Haringey to one of their staff members.

Mr Holt, Head of Sixth Form, discovered on 8 December that he is the winner of the YJA MS Amlin ‘International Sailor of the Decade’ Award.

The aim of this YJA MS Amlin award is to recognise the achievements of those who have had the greatest positive impact on the sport of sailing.  

Mr Holt was one of five sailors shortlisted, a list which also included Sir Ben Ainslie and Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, Dee Caffari, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston – all of whom are well known for their outstanding sailing achievements and were previous winners of the YJA ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ Trophy. 

This new award was presented in a socially distanced surprise event by the historian and TV presenter Dan Snow of ‘History Hit’, the massively popular online channel. Dan is himself a keen sailor.  

Mr Holt said: “It feels absolutely extraordinary because I saw the list of who was on there, and I think that we all do different things within sailing, but they have achieved so much. It’s quite a shock actually. Maybe it shows how big it is what we’re doing with sailing and the young people who we’re taking out sailing at weekends.

Clifford Webb, Chairman of the Yachting Journalists’ Association, said: “It has been fascinating to see the votes arriving over the past month from our members spread around the world. The nominations were made by the public, and the shortlist drawn up was based on the number of nominations each person received. Subsequently, it was the YJA members who considered the five options available to cast their single vote. Voting was close and it may surprise some that the ‘big’ names nominated were not selected, but our well-informed members made their decision one by one, until Jon emerged as the outright winner, and what an achievement it is, absolutely brilliant.” 

From a single yacht, which took a whole summer to make seaworthy, the academy now has a fully fledged sailing programme, after school, at weekends and in the holidays. Determined fundraising produced substantial sponsorship and the school was able to buy and renovate Scaramouche, a 45ft (13.7m) Admiral’s Cup yacht built in 1981.

And it was on Scaramouche that a team of students really made headlines, making Greig City Academy the first comprehensive school ever to enter the gruelling Fastnet race, coming 144th out of 362 starters in 2017. They took part again in 2019.