If you're heading to one of the six British Youth Sailing Regional Championships taking place this weekend (29-30 September), don't forget you could have the chance to win a brand new boat or board thanks to the John Merricks Sailing Trust and OnBoard partnership.
The partnership was launched in 2013 to make sure anyone who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing has the best chance to achieve their goals. Recipients get two years’ exclusive use of their boat/board before it is goes to their club for other youngsters to benefit from it in the future.
With the addition of the new OnBoard Fun fleet for younger, inexperienced sailors alongside the Coached Regatta Racing fleet and Championship fleet at this weekend's BYS events, you can apply here now - OnBoard JMST Declaration of Eligibility 2018 or complete an entry form from the race office on the day.
Landing a JMST/OnBoard boat or board really does change lives.
Now 16, David Peaty won a Topper in 2014 only two weeks after
starting race training! Since then he has been to two Topper World Championships in France and China and is transitioning into the 420.
He is also training to be an RYA Dinghy Instructor and helps with the Topper sailors at his home Worcestershire Youth Sailing Association
while studying for A-levels in Chemistry Biology and Geography. We caught up with him.
Do you think you'd be where you are now without your JMST boat?
No, I don't think I would be because I wouldn't have had a boat to progress in and learn how to race after learning to sail and it gave me my own boat to take to events and training. When I first joined WYSA there were no single-handed boats available for me to sail in, but having a good quality racing spec dinghy is really important if you want to progress. My JMST boat gave me this fantastic opportunity.
When you won you said you felt really excited every time you sailed. How does it make you feel now?
Exactly the same! I always really look forward to going out training and racing. I feel I will never get bored because of the fulfillment and sense of achievement sailing gives me. Every time I sail it's different, I learn some thing new whether it's something technical or about myself.
What life skills has sailing helped you develop?
Sailing has helped develop a lot of life skills for me, mainly my confidence and independence. Everything that happens on the water and in my boat is my decision and my responsibility. My organisation skills have also been important as I have to make sure all my school work is completed before I can go training or to an event on the weekend. This was really demanding when I was doing my GCSEs this summer. It's also taught me to be resilient and to cope in tough situations on the water.
Why do you want to become a Dinghy Instructor?
To teach younger sailors how to sail and enjoy themselves through sailing. So many people have encouraged me from the time I got my JMST boat and becoming a DI is a way for me to invest back into WYSA and the sport whilst continuing my own progression in my 420. I love seeing the improvement in people's confidence, independence and skills. I have also had a great opportunity to get involved with Sailability at my club and get loads of satisfaction from supporting disabled people to sail and do something they wouldn't normally do.
Does it inspire you seeing Alison Young go from your WYSA to the Olympics and being a World Champion?
It motivates me massively and it proves it doesn't really matter where you start out. Upton Warren is such a small lake, but it's inspiring that if you put effort in you will improve and see the benefits no matter the size of lake and club you come from. Any sailor who has reached the top of sailing pathway through hard work, determination and commitment is my role model. This includes Giles Scott, Ali Young and Ben Ainslie. For the moment my ambition is to progress as much as I can in the 420 and get to the highest level possible.