The John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), the charity set up in memory of 1996 Olympic Silver medallist John Merricks, is delighted to announce that applications are now open for the first ever Ian Atkins Keelboat Award.

This award has been made possible thanks to the generosity of US company, Dominion Enterprises, owners of the businesses that Ian ran for many years (including the boat sales websites boats.com and YachtWorld) and who wished to recognise his extraordinary career, on his retirement after over 40 years in the marine industry. Ian is also well known as an enthusiastic, active, keelboat sailor with an outstanding record of success in yachting both at home and abroad.

This Award is open to any sailor or sailors, under 25 years old, who require funding to help them transition from dinghies to keelboats. The award will be a bursary of up to £5000 to be awarded to the sailor(s) who most impress the awards panel consisting of Ian Atkins and the JMST Trustees.

The Ian Atkins Keelboat Award winner(s) will be announced at the RYA Dinghy Show, in association with Yachts & Yachting and Suzuki, on 2 / 3 March at Alexandra Palace, London.

This will be the first of 5 separate bursaries to be awarded annually for the next 5 years. Applications each year will be judged on the track record, commitment, future potential and financial need of the applicants as well as the scope and ambition of the project or programme.

Applications should be supported by references and sent by email to applications@jmst.org.uk. Please include name and age of applicant(s), sailing club, details of the project or programme including its goals and predicted impacts, specific financial need, plus any references (with contact details). Application deadline 15th February.

The John Merricks Sailing Trust has been in operation for twenty-one years and has helped many young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals. The charitable trust was set up by those closest to John to do some good in his name and further the memory of such a remarkable young person.

Many people gained from all that John gave and many also helped John to achieve all that he did in such a short time. Indeed if it were not for this help John may have fallen short of his aspirations, culminating in an Olympic silver medal in 1996. The Trust's aim is to provide help to those young people who display similar drive, talent and commitment to sailing as John, but who perhaps themselves need support to set them on their way to fulfilling their ambitions.

 

Jim Saltonstall, JMST Trustee (left) presents Ian Atkins with his retirement donation © JMST