Launch of first John Merricks Sailing Trust Impact Report

08 Feb 21

Despite the challenges we have all experienced in 2020, and which we continue to experience in 2021, the RYA OnBoard and JMST joint initiative continues to seek to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals.

As the Official Charity Partner of RYA OnBoard since 2013, the JMST aims to support promising youngsters who display enthusiasm and commitment to the sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals. The JMST Scheme provides young sailors across the country with their own equipment, which after two years is given to their supporting organisation.

JMST scheme in numbers

  • £280,000 – total investment – that’s £35,000 a year! (between 2013-2020)
  • 99 winners (between 2013-2020)
  • 69 venues
  • 52% have become club sailors
  • 40% have attained additional RYA qualifications
  • 40% have attained Instructor or Coach qualifications
  • Over 90% or parents believe that JMST has had a positive long-term impact on their child

But JMST is not just about numbers – it’s about positively contributing to young people’s lives and sailing aspirations. The JMST also helps contribute towards:

  • Improving and instilling self-worth in participants
  • Giving confidence to young sailors

Hannah Cockle, OnBoard Operations Officer said: “We are delighted to launch the first-ever RYA OnBoard and JMST Impact Report. The OnBoard programme is all about making it easier and affordable to get more young people aged 8-18 on the water regularly and this is what the JMST partnership helps us to achieve.”   

The JMST not only benefits youngsters but also their entire family. We asked families, whose children have benefited from initiative, what impact they believe it has brought to them. Many believe that JMST has enabled more time to be spent with family and friends, whilst also providing financial relief to family as a whole.

The Martin family from Hampshire is testament to the impact that JMST Scheme can have.

2018 winner Henry Martin was the lucky recipient of the exclusive use of his own Topper before it was donated to his club, Portchester Sailing Club in Hampshire. The now 13-year-old started sailing with his dad in a Laser Stratos when he was just 4, and started on the RYA Training programme at Portchester SC when he was 7.

Henry, what did it feel like to go out on the boat for the first time?

The first time I sailed my JMST Topper I was very excited although I was a little nervous. Although I have sailed a Topper lots of times at Portchester SC this has mostly been in a 15 year old one which the club provided me with, along with a new sail for the 2017 and 2018 season.


Has having your own boat made a difference to you?

Having my own boat has made a massive difference to me. Now I can go sailing whenever I want without having to book a club boat. I now go sailing whenever I can to practise, COVID permitting of course. With my own boat I was able to go to the Topper Southern Open meetings as well as some of the National Series events. I also went to the Nationals in Largs in 2019. 

Because the boat is “mine” I also take huge pride and care of it. I have, well my Dad has, spent lots of time preparing the boat for events and we make sure that the equipment is always working so I now know a lot more about boats, how to look after them and how they work. When I used to use the club boats at Portchester SC if anything ever broke someone else would fix it. In the winter of 2019 I was also able to participate in the JETS Squad which would not have been possible without my own boat.

Has having your own boat enabled you to achieve any particular goals?

Having my own boat has meant I have been able to set real goals that are bigger than just sailing at club events. This winter I have qualified to be part of the RYA South Regional Training Group which would not have been possible if I did not have my own boat.


Has sailing become more of a family affair now?

The family definitely spend more time with me sailing. Me and my little brother go together with my Dad. We often camp in our campervan at events and this makes them even more special. We also often go sailing in Portsmouth Harbour, sometimes we sail to a café with me in my Topper and the rest of my family in the Laser Stratos. Other times my Dad runs some mini races / practising for me and the other Topper sailors at Portchester which my little brother comes out and helps with. My Dad sometimes gets a bit grumpy as he is not doing as much sailing now as he takes me to events!

Henry’s Dad believes that the JMST award has changed Henry’s approach to sailing: “Henry is far more caring about the equipment and enthusiastic about going sailing. I think it has also probably resulted in him getting better at sailing and thereby getting better results. He certainly sails more than he ever would have been able to without the JMST boat.”

Henry’s 9 year old brother also enjoys sailing and has been inspired be his big brother, as his Dad explains: “George already has his Stage 1 and nearly stage 2, and also participated in the OnBoard event at Weymouth in September 2020 when Henry was sailing and loved sailing the Zests. He enjoys being out on the water in any boat and wants to do more sailing. I think the fact that Henry has “his” boat means that there is definitely that desire from George as well.”