BEATING some of the biggest names in the sailing world, an Alloa man has captured the hearts and imagination of people to win a prestigious award.

The town's intrepid and inspiring adventurer Murdoch McGregor was last week named Sailor of the Year 2021 at the British Yachting Awards.

Stunned but immensely proud, the 82-year-old scooped the accolade in a public vote, having been nominated along the likes of the whole British Sailing Team, Vendée Globe round-the-world racers Pip Hare and skipper Tom Kneen.

Murdoch, who only started sailing 10 years ago and has been notching up achievements since, was nominated following his solo sailing trip, which saw him circumnavigate the UK earlier this summer.

As reported in the Advertiser at the time, many believe he may be the oldest to have achieved the feat.

Not only that, Murdoch also raised more than an incredible £10,000 for charity Mental Health UK and was welcomed back to Alloa by a sizeable crowd of family, friends and supporters.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, which took place at the Royal Thames Yacht Club on November 30, Murdoch told the Advertiser: “I could not believe it, I was stunned.

“Then I quickly recovered from my stunning and became so nicely elated.”

Murdoch, who usually anchors at Forth Cruising Club at Limekilns where he was made an honorary member for life just the week before the awards ceremony, could not believe he was picked first from such a talented crowd.

He added: “When I've seen the list I was in – there was me, the club sailor and the rest were all legends of British sailing and some of them world sailors.

“How come I managed to beat them in this public vote?”

Whether it was his age, the fact many could identify with him as he comes from a small club, or just his infectiously inspiring personality, Murdoch has brought the award home to Alloa and is understood to be the first Scot to win the trophy.

The recipe for success was summed up by Rob Peake, group editor of Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting magazine, which organises the British Yachting Awards.

He said: “Murdoch was a very popular winner on the night and he won the votes of thousands of our readers, who clearly admired his remarkable achievement of sailing around Britain solo, in a small yacht.

“Even the most experienced ocean navigators speak of the round-Britain trip as one of the trickiest.

“It’s a serious undertaking that requires a high level of seamanship.

“On top of that, Murdoch has done it at an age when many of us might be expecting to be looking back on our achievements, rather than notching up new ones.

“He’s an inspiration for all ages. It was wonderful to have him at the ceremony.”

Murdoch, who was accompanied to the ceremony by supportive wife Janice, gave thanks to all his supporters and revealed a journey to Norway is next on his list.