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The Royal Yachting Association Scotland Awards are an annual celebration of the people who make a difference across the recreational and competitive boating community in Scotland. The 2019 awards take place at The Falkirk Wheel on Saturday January 25 when the winners will be announced.
Two notable nominations based in Oban include Murray MacDonald of Autism on the Water and the Monday Mayhem team from Oban Sailing Club.
For Murray MacDonald, the autism spectrum which he was diagnosed with has provided an opportunity as he founded Autism on the Water (AOTW) in 2016 to raise awareness of the condition and share his passion for sailing. The idea has now become an official charity which has received international support and enabled others with the condition to experience time on the water. This inclusive approach has gained Murray a nomination for the Elizabeth McKay Award.
A team from Oban Sailing Club who enable the Monday Mayhem sessions is led by Richard Home and has revolutionised sailing opportunities in Oban. In ensuring the night is not all about racing, the team have delivered a regular social sailing night with shoreside activities continuing through the winter to maintain the momentum, cohesion and the fun of the group. Crucially, it engages with local families and brings a breadth of involvement to the club. The distinctiveness of Monday Mayhem has changed perceptions within the community about sailing. Despite being told it would not work, they believed and made it happen.
Ruairidh Scott, originally from Tarbert, Loch Fyne, has been nominated in the Performance of the Year category as he became the J70 World Champion and second at the Dragon World Championships in Freemantle alongside significant victories including the overall winner of the J Cup, the J70 Nationals and the HM King Juan Carlos Trophy. Ruairidh has gone on to become one of the world’s most successful one design sailors and now works for North Sails UK, based in Southampton.
Ruairidh managed the whole 2019 J70 campaign including the J70 Europeans in Lake Garda and the Worlds in Torquay. The team based themselves in Torquay for a total of two and a half weeks for the Worlds and set out a strict regime of training, racing and rest. As a result they felt confident going into the Worlds with a second place at the pre-Worlds ultimately resulting in winning the 2019 World Championships.