Josh Pickard (9) from Bristolis one of ten youngsters from across the UK who have been handed a huge boostin their ambitions to become top class dinghy sailors thanks to a nationalprogramme helping young talent progress in the sport.
The delighted young sailor has been awarded exclusive use of his own boat forthe next two years through the ongoing partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYAOnBoard.
Josh will be sailing the brand-new Optimist dinghy at BowmoorSailing Club, where he is a very keen and determined sailor who haspersevered in challenging racing conditions, even when older youth members haveopted out. He has been a regular attendee at the club’s weekly youth trainingsessions, displaying enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn which is providingencouragement to others within his peer group.
Josh was delighted with his award: “I was so excited when theboat arrived and spent hours with my dad putting it together and rigging itin the garden. Unfortunately, I can't sail it for a while as we are in tierthree and can't travel to our club. I really hope that I can get sailingreally soon as I want to practise at the club as much as possible and getready to compete in events. My aim is to get into the regional squad nextyear like my sister and really keep improving my sailing. I am so amazed thatI was awarded the boat and so grateful - thank you.”
Sarah, Josh’s mum, added: “The boat arriving has been such aboost. Sailing has been a real escape for us as a family during lockdown andJosh has been out on the water at every opportunity. He is looking forward toracing the new boat and hopefully being at the front of the fleet at Bowmoor.Thank you so much to the John Merricks Sailing Trust for making one sailing-madboy’s year.”
At the end of Josh’s two-year stewardship of the boat, it willbecome an asset to the Club, where it will be used to offer RYA Stage 1 and 2courses.
Launched in 2013, the partnership between RYA OnBoard and theJMST supports youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitmentto the sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financialbacking to achieve their goals.
Run by the RYA,OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfingto young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.
The low-cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing foryoung people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouragingtheir character development.
Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing andwindsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regularparticipants.
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/go/onboard.