Qualifying regatta announced for Ian Atkins Keelboat Award

Opportunity is knocking for a team of sailors to compete for the chance to race an SB20 at Cowes Week.

The John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), the charity set up in memory of 1996 Olympic Silver medallist John Merricks, has opened applications for the second edition of the Ian Atkins Keelboat Award.

This award is open to any sailors, aged between 18 and 22, who seek to transition their sailing ambitions from dinghies to small keelboats. For 2021 the award will be a sponsored and supported entry to compete at the world’s most famous regatta – Cowes Week.

To ensure many young dinghy racers have the opportunity to access this award, JMST has teamed up with the SB20 class members and Sportsboat World to run a free-to-enter selection event at the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s July regatta, with up to ten races over the weekend of the 10/11th July.

Applications are invited from mixed gender teams of three young dinghy sailors wishing to take part. Applications will be judged on track record, commitment, future potential, and the scope and ambition of future sailing plans.

“We have some really competitive sportsboat racing at the Royal Southern and we hosted the SB20 National Championships last year,” says Paul Ward, from the Royal Southern Yacht Club. “Encouraging youth sailors to join keelboat fleets is great for the club and gives the sailors an opportunity to experience some fast and exciting Solent racing and to enjoy our summer regatta party ashore.”

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