LAUNCESTON windsurfer Saskia Sills will pick up one of youth sailing's most prestigious awards in the new year.
The RYA South West Regional Young Sailor of the Year Award 2012 has been given in recognition of 16-year-old Saskia's extraordinary achievements in the sport throughout the year.
Saskia has also been selected as one of three finalists for the national award, the YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year.
From a talented windsurfing family (brother Sam won the same award in 2010 and is now a Skandia Team GBR member; twin sister Imogen also competes at high level), Saskia moved up to the RS:X class this year, where she has been successful every step of the way.
At the RS:X European Championship, only her second international regatta, in July, she won under 17 gold and bronze overall.
Less than two weeks later, she achieved a comprehensive victory at the 2012 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, where she was the second-youngest sailor in the fleet.
In October, she gained the under 17 world title in addition to overall silver in the under 19 event at the RS:X Youth Worlds, and she was nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year awards.
Saskia said: "I've had a pretty good year, and I'm really happy with it, so it's amazing to be recognised among all the other sailors – I'm really honoured."
On Saturday January 12 at the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show, Saskia will join 12 other RYA Regional Award winners from all over the UK for a VIP day out at the show including the eagerly anticipated awards ceremony at which they will receive their trophies.
The winner of the YJA Pantaenius Young Sailor of the Year will also be announced. The RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year awards recognise the outstanding impact young people have made to UK boating, whether it's on the race course, at their club, overcoming adversity or through an exceptional achievement.
RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder said: "Winning an RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year Award is a huge achievement and this year we are delighted to see such a broad selection of winners.
"We have youngsters who have given up their time and shown real dedication to their clubs whilst others have achieved outstanding results out on the race course.
"All regional winners are a fantastic representation of youth in our sport."