A youngster from Bristol has beenhanded a huge boost in his ambitions to become a top-class windsurfer, thanksto a national programme helping young talent progress in the sport.
Max Collis-Smith (12) has beenawarded exclusive use of his own windsurfing board for the next two yearsthrough the ongoing partnership between the JohnMerricks Sailing Trust and RYA OnBoard, After the two years, the kit willbe given to his club, Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC), to benefit morejunior sailors in the future.
Max has only been windsurfing at BCYC’s Team15 club for a year, buthas enjoyed all aspects of racing and beenambitious enough to compete at the National Windsurfing Championships this yearin the 5.8 fleet. He is delighted to have received this award: “I am so excited and happy tohave been selected for the Bic Techno. I am loving learning windsurfing and amgetting better at racing. I would love to try to get into the zone squad, andbeat my results at the Nationals next year. I am especially pleased our clubwill get a new board, and also a techno sail, as we don’t have any at themoment. Thank you so much to the John Merricks Trust.”
His dad,Ian, added: “We are extremely pleased for Max that he has been chosen toreceive a board from the JMST. He has fallen in love with the sport, and wantsto sail all the time, and this will enable him to put in much more practice especiallyas he has beenoffered a late place onto the SW Zone Squad. He can now go to training campsthroughout the winter and practise with his kit at our club.”
Launched in 2013, the partnershipsupports youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to thesport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing toachieve their goals. In its six years, 76 boats and boards have now beendonated with some remarkable success stories.
The JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisationsto achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silvermedalist, John Merricks. As OnBoard's official charity partner, JMST willdonate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promisingsailors over eight years, giving them the chance to progress their skills andcontinue to participate in the sport.
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard OperationsOfficer, added: "We cannot thank JMST enough for continuing tosupport the programme. For many of the winners it will be the differencebetween continuing in the sport and not. It is such a thrill telling thesailors and their families they have been successful because we know what adifference getting a boat or board will make to their lives.
"OnBoard is all about making iteasier and cheaper to get more young people aged 8-18 on the water regularlyand that is what the JMST partnership helps to achieve.”
This year's recipientsall applied for and were awarded their new boats or boards after attendingtheir respective British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships at the end of September. Declarations ofEligibility for next year's applications will open in July 2020.
Since2005, OnBoard has helped over three quarters of a million young people trysailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them forlife. The programme enables youngsters to enjoy all the excitement andrelaxation being on the water offers, whilst nurturing a wide range of broaderlearning benefits and invaluable life skills, from problem solving toleadership and teamwork.