The RYA is delighted to announce that the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) will continue to support the RYA OnBoard programme as the Official Charity Partner for an additional three years.
Launched in 2012, so far the partnership has seen the JMST donating more than 53 junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors who may not have ordinarily had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.
“The JMST have really made a huge difference to all the young sailors and windsurfers who have been awarded use of their own boats and boards. We are absolutely thrilled that the JMST will continue to help us in our mission to introduce youngsters from all backgrounds to the sport” said RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, Cat Ferguson.
One of the youngsters to benefit from the partnership is Katherine Burgess who was awarded her very own brand new Optimist dinghy last year.
“I now feel I have a better chance of doing this thanks to being chosen to get a new boat” she said.
"I’m happy when I am sailing and it is an exhilarating sport. I like being independent, making my own decisions and seeing what happens, experimenting with different aspects of sailing. I am making good friends through sailing at events and training and I love the fact that we are all doing a sport we love whilst building great friendships."
For the next three years, at least one young sailor each year who displays enthusiasm drive, talent and commitment to the sport, will continue to be selected from each of the nine RYA Zones and Home Countries giving them two years of exclusive use of their own boat donated by the Trust.
After which the boats will be returned to the sailor’s original club or centre so other young sailors can continue to benefit in the future and progress into club and regional racing activities.
JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of leading Olympic sailor and 1996 Olympic silver medalist John Merricks.
Ian Walker, John’s sailing partner and JMST Trustee concludes: “The John Merricks Sailing Trust have been thrilled at the success of the RYA OnBoard program over the last 5 years and the Trustees had no hesitation in extending the partnership for a further 3 years. We are proud to have been part of the program’s success and thrilled to see some of the JMST supported sailors now out on the circuit. There is no better way for us to support grass roots youth sailing and we appreciate all the hard work of the RYA and the volunteers that make it all happen"
RYA OnBoard was launched in 2005 and has introduced well over half a million youngsters to sailing and windsurfing, with around 10% taking up the sport on a regular basis.
More information about OnBoard and how you can get involved can be found at www.rya.org.uk/onboard
Follow on Instagram @ryaonboard