PYD Skipper Andrew Wood has been in the news a lot recently.

On 12 January on the RYA Stand at the Schroders London International Boat Show. RYA President HRH The Princess Royal presented him with the prestigious RYA Yachtmaster of the Year award after impressing his examiner with his capabilities proven during his exam.

James Stevens, RYA Training Manager, commented: 'He was an outstanding and truly exceptional candidate in every respect. He has not only sailed as skipper from the UK to New Zealand in his 42ft steel cutter, but on the return trip went from NZ to Alaska and through the Northwest passage to Greenland and home.'

At the time of making this passage Andrew was only qualified as Coastal Skipper, but prior to undertaking his Skipper assessment and joining the PYD Skipper team Andrew needed to have the qualification to back up his exceptional experience.

Andrew's examiner Michael Stratton said, 'Andrew is one of the most competent seafarers I have ever examined for the RYA Yachtmaster®. His seamanship and navigation is outstanding, exceeded only by his modesty.'

A few days earlier at the same show Andrew, his father and his girlfriend Zoë Birchenough won the Musto International Cruising Award 2003-2004

Chatting at the show 'Woody' said: "We had a few scary moments but there was one in particular when we got stuck in the ice for 10 days and very nearly ended up there for the winter. Fortunately a storm came though and pulled the ice offshore enough for us to get off. It piped up to about 40kts and it was our only chance to get off. We count ourselves as very lucky. It was tough crashing though the growlers and bergs in a 40kt breeze but it was our only choice." Zoë added: "We were sort of preparing ourselves but weren't looking forward to the 1,000 or so tins of baked beans we had stashed away."
To read the account of the Woods' epic voyage watch out for the February issue of Yachting World.

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