A Kidderminster lad with a dream to follow in the footsteps of Worcestershire sailing Olympian, Alison Young, has seen his ambitions move a step closer after being awarded a new boat through a national scheme helping young talent progress in the sport.
Matthew ‘Matty’ Chadderton is one of 13 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 grassroots sailing and windsurfing programme run by the sport’s national governing body.
The 12-year-old was chosen to receive a new Topper dinghy after demonstrating his enthusiasm, talent and commitment since learning to sail at the age of eight. His dad, Craig, loves sailing and, having been in a boat with him a few times, Matty wanted to do it too.
Matty sails at Trimpley Sailing Club, near Bewdley, where the British Sailing Team’s Alison first learned the ropes and honed her racing skills as a youngster. Alison has been selected for her third Olympics at Tokyo 2020 after previously competing at London 2012 and Rio 2016. On Sunday (1 December) she returned to her home club to inspire the next generation of young Trimpley sailors, including Matty.
Like Alison, Matty started out sailing in an Optimist dinghy, and, having switched to the Topper, he was recently selected for the Midlands' RYA Topper Zone Squad. The regional RYA Zone Squads are the first rung on the ladder towards Olympic classes sailing. Now Matty hopes his new boat can help take him to the next level.
He said: "I wanted to apply for a JMST boat so I could enter the National competitions. The boat I’ve been using is made up of lots of different parts and not rigged for National standard racing. Now I can enter National competitions and I hope it will help me get higher positions.
"I love the adrenalin from sailing when I go really fast. I get a buzz from being able to move on wind power alone. I am inspired by Alison Young and my dream is to sail in the Olympics like she has."
RYA OnBoard gives young people aged 8 to 18 the chance to learn to sail and windsurf at low cost. The JMST, set up in memory of 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks, supports young sailors and youth sailing organisations.
Since 2013, the partnership has supported promising youngsters, who may not ordinarily have had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals, in progressing their skills and continuing to participate in the sport.
Each year, at least one young sailor from each of the regional RYA Zones and Home Countries is awarded with exclusive use of their own single-handed junior pathway boat or board. It will then go to their club for other junior sailors and windsurfers to continue to benefit from in the future.
Matty was nominated by Trimpley SC’s Ian Davies, who coaches the club’s juniors. He said: "Matty shows great commitment, potential and a desire to succeed. He always demonstrates a high level of enthusiasm and interest and his attitude towards any training or advice is always positive.
"He has also shown a desire and willingness to help other juniors starting out on their sailing journey. This personal attribute is something that makes him stand out."
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, added: “OnBoard is all about making it easier and cheaper to get more young people on the water regularly, and that is what the JMST partnership helps us to achieve. It is such a thrill telling the sailors and their families they have been successful because we know what a difference getting a boat or board will make to their lives."
RYA OnBoard enables young people to try out sailing and windsurfing through their local club or centre in a safe and structured environment. OnBoard puts a focus on developing positive character attributes through sailing and windsurfing while having fun on the water. To find about RYA OnBoard go to www.rya.org.uk/onboard or for more information about Trimpley SC go to www.trimpleysailingclub.co.uk