Two young NI sailors awarded boat by John Merricks Sailing Trust and RYA OnBoard.

Tyler Playfair and Charlie O’Malley are two of twelve 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 the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard partnership.  

Since its launch in 2013, the partnership has supported youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport but may not ordinarily have had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.  In its six years, 76 boats and boards have been donated with some remarkable success stories.

Tyler Playfair (11) from Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Charlie O’Malley (12) from Donaghadee Sailing Club have been awarded a Topper each.  

Speaking about the award, Charlie said: “I just can’t believe it, the JMST is such an amazing award. The boat has just arrived and I have got it all rigged up and ready to go sailing at the weekend, it is all so exciting!”

Each year, at least one young sailor from each of the RYA Zones and Home Countries is awarded with exclusive use of their own single-handed junior pathway boat or board (Optimist, Topper, Laser 4.7, RS Tera and Bic Techno 293OD).  It will then go to their club for other junior sailors and windsurfers to continue to benefit from in the future.    

RYANI’s High Performance Manager, Matt McGovern, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for two of our young sailors. Thanks to JMST and OnBoard they each now have the chance to have their very own Topper for the next two years. This will allow them to build on what they have already learned at the club and also to develop new skills. I look forward to watching their progress over the next two years.”

RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, Hannah Cockle said: “OnBoard is all about making it easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 08-18 out on the water more regularly and that is exactly what the JMST partnership helps us to achieve.   

“It is such a thrill telling the sailors and their families that their applications have been successful, because we know what a difference getting a boat or board will make to their lives.  For many it will be the difference between continuing in the sport and not, so we cannot thank JMST enough for continuing to support this programme.”

To learn more about RYA OnBoard visit