A Glossop youngster has been handed a huge boost in his ambitions to become a top class dinghy sailor thanks to a national scheme helping young talent progress in the sport.
Arlo Turner is one of 11 promising sailors and windsurfers from across the UK who have been awarded exclusive use of their own boat or windsurfing board for the next two years thanks to a partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard.
The 11-year-old, who sails at Glossop Sailing Club, was chosen to receive a new Topper one-person dinghy after demonstrating his enthusiasm, talent and commitment since being introduced to sailing by a school friend three years ago.
Until now Arlo, who has twin younger brothers, has borrowed club kit as he has progressed his skills through Glossop SC’s Friday night junior club and Wednesday evening race training, before, for the first time this year, competing in Derbyshire Youth Series events.
However, it was his debut at the RYA Midlands Zone Championships in September where Arlo, his family and coaches recognised that to kick on he needed his own boat. That is why having the new Topper will make such a difference.
Arlo said: “Having this new boat means I can modify it and take care of it myself. In two years’ time I hope to be attending national class events frequently and I know this wouldn’t be possible in the boats I’ve been borrowing. Thank you so much JMST and OnBoard!”
His dad, Ben, continues: “We’ve been delighted at how well Arlo has taken to sailing, how quickly he has progressed and the ability he has shown. Having access to a more competitive boat during this formative period will help even the playing field with other sailors and boost his confidence.”
RYA OnBoard is the nationwide grassroots programme, run by sailing’s national governing body, giving young people aged 8 to 18 the opportunity to learn to sail at low cost. The JMST, set up in memory of 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks, supports young sailors and youth sailing organisations.
Since 2012, JMST and RYA OnBoard have partnered to donate high-quality junior racing dinghies and boards to promising young sailors who may not ordinarily have had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals. Recipients get two years’ exclusive use of their boat/board before it is goes to their club for other young sailors to continue benefitting from it in the future.
Arlo’s club mate, Johan Kidger, was also the lucky winner of a JMST/OnBoard Bic Techno windsurf board and rig two years ago and he has just enjoyed his most successful season on the water.
With Glossop SC focusing on developing the racing skills of their young dinghy sailors – the club even earning an award for the most entrants at September’s RYA Midlands Zone Championships – the club believes both Arlo and many young sailors to come will benefit from the new Topper.
Viki Packman, club Commodore and RYA Training Principal, added: “Arlo had reached his maximum sailing level with the club equipment, he has great potential and now gifted a new Topper he shows every sign of making great progress throughout 2018 and beyond.
“Arlo receiving this boat is a tremendous incentive for other junior sailors and their families to further encourage participation in club race training and travelling to other events. We are all delighted for him and grateful to the JMST and OnBoard.”
RYA OnBoard offers young people the opportunity to try out sailing and windsurfing through their local club or centre in a safe, structured and fun environment. Since launching in 2005, OnBoard has seen well over half a million young people try out sailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them for life.
“We’re delighted to have once again teamed up with the JMST to be able to help these ambitious youngsters who may not ordinarily have had the opportunity, to progress in the sport,” said RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, Hannah Cockle. “They’ve all shown such enthusiasm and commitment and having the highest quality equipment will really make a difference.”