Applications are open for young sailors and windsurfers toapply for a brand new single-handed junior pathway boat or board thanks to the JohnMerricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard partnership which isnow in its final year.
The boats and boards will be gifted to promising youngsterswho display enthusiasm, drive, and commitment to the sport and who may notordinarily 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 thatother young sailors can continue to benefit from the scheme. The range on offerincludes: 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 Eligibility2020 and attend the RYANI Youth Championships in September (eventdetails correct at time of print).
Since its launch in 2013, JMST has already awarded 89 boatsand boards, with at least one boat each year going to a lucky Northern Irelandsailor.
Autumn Halliday, who was the Northern Ireland winner in 2019said: “"it's thefreedom! I can sail any day or time I want which means loads of water time forpractising. I would not have been able to get out on the water very muchotherwise. The JMST boat has opened up this opportunity for me. I hadnothing to lose by applying but have learnt so much in the short time I havebeen using the boat."
Another previous winner Charlie O’Malley said: “From when Igot my JMST boat my confidence and my ability got better. The JMST boat allowedme to go to lots of events and I was meeting more sailors because I wastravelling around clubs. The JMST boat allowed me to sail to my full potentialand it can also gives others a chance to perform at their full potential. TheJMST topper allowed me to take part in the RYANI Youth Championships placing9th and I was selected to be in the Northern Ireland youth performanceprogramme. The JMST topper changed my sailing life and I hope it can changemany other lives to.”
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer said: “We arehugely grateful to the JMST who have made this fantastic scheme possible forthe past seven years. I know the benefits to young sailors and their families,as well as clubs, will be felt for years to come.
The JMSTseeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve theirgoals 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 least80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailorsover eight years, providing them with the opportunity to progress theirskills and continue to participate in the sport.
Eligible sailors must be under 15 years of age on the 31stof December 2020. Sailors must enter and compete at the RYANI Youth Championships in September 2020. Sailors will thenbe shortlisted and invited to complete an application form after theevent. For any further information visit: OnBoard JMST or call 02380604195.