Applications are open for young sailors and windsurfers to apply for a brand new single-handed junior pathway boat or board thanks to the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard partnership which is now in its final year.
The boats and boards will be gifted to promising youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, and commitment to the sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.
After two years of exclusive use of their own boat or board, the equipment is returned to the sailor’s original supporting venue so that other young sailors can continue to benefit from the scheme. The range on offer includes: Optimist, Topper, Laser 4.7, RS Tera and Bic Techno 293OD.
To be eligible a young sailor has to complete the OnBoard JMST Declaration of Eligibility 2020 and attend the British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships in September (event details correct at time of print).
Since its launch in 2013, JMST has already awarded 89 boats and boards to young sailors with some remarkable success stories.
One of last year’s recipients was Ed Corbitt from Llangorse Sailing Club who was awarded use of his own Topper. His dad Tom said: "To know we can just load up and go sailing from home will make such a difference to him and to us as a family”.
Another 2019 winner was Mia Gray from Bognor Regis Sailing Club who was gifted the use of her own RS Tera. Her mum Jules said: “This is a dream come true for Mia. We have hired club boats from Felpham every week since she started sailing, which has been great, but for her to be able to sail in her very own boat will be wonderful”.
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer said: “We are hugely grateful to the JMST who have made this fantastic scheme possible for the past seven years. I know the benefits to young sailors and their families, as well as clubs, will be felt for years to come.
“For 2020 the British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships include a ‘fun fleet’ which is open to any beginner young sailors and windsurfers wishing to join so it’s even easier to get involved. We hope to see even more applications for the final year of this programme”.
The JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silver medalist John Merricks. As the official charity partner of RYA OnBoard, the JMST will donate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors over eight years, providing them with the opportunity to progress their skills and continue to participate in the sport.
Eligible sailors must be under 15 years of age on the 31st of December 2020 Sailors must enter and compete at the British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships in September 2020. Sailors will then be shortlisted and invited to complete an application form after the event. For any further information visit: OnBoard JMST or call 02380 604195.