Applications are now open for sailors to apply to the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) for a brand new single-handed junior pathway boat or board. The boats and boards will be gifted to at least one promising youngster from each RYA Region and Home Country who displays enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.
After two years of exclusive use of their own boat or board, which will be donated to their club or centre, they will then be returned to the sailor’s original club so other young sailors can continue to benefit in the future and progress into club and regional racing activities. The range on offer include: Optimist, Topper, Laser 4.7, RS Tera and Bic Techno 293OD.
Since its launch in 2013, JMST have already donated 76 boats and boards to youngsters. One of last year’s lucky recipients was Ben McDiarmid, 12, from Largs sailing Club in Scotland. Ben has a message for young sailors: “Don’t just think about applying, definitely do it. I didn’t think I had a chance of winning the use of a brand new boast but I did! It’s so easy to apply. The boat is amazing: it makes me so happy.”
RYA OnBoard operations officer Hannah Cockle, adds: “OnBoard is all about introducing young people to sailing and windsurfing. We are extremely grateful to JMST for their continued support of OnBoard, and I hope that it will help many youngsters to remain within the sport and of course keep having fun on the water.”
The JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silver medalist John Merricks. As the official charity partner of RYA OnBoard, the JMST will donate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors over eight years, providing them with the opportunity to progress their skills and continue to participate in the sport.
Eligible sailors must be under 15 years of age on the 31st of December 2019. Sailors must enter and compete at the British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships in September 2019. Sailors will then be shortlisted and invited to complete an application form after the event.