A youngster from Bristol has been
handed a huge boost in his ambitions to become a top-class windsurfer, thanks
to a national programme helping young talent progress in the sport.
Max Collis-Smith (12) has been
awarded exclusive use of his own windsurfing board for the next two years
through the ongoing partnership between the John
Merricks Sailing Trust and RYA OnBoard, After the two years, the kit will
be given to his club, Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club (BCYC), to benefit more
junior sailors in the future.
Max has only been windsurfing at BCYC’s Team15 club for a year, but
has enjoyed all aspects of racing and been
ambitious enough to compete at the National Windsurfing Championships this year
in the 5.8 fleet. He is delighted to have received this award: “I am so excited and happy to
have been selected for the Bic Techno. I am loving learning windsurfing and am
getting better at racing. I would love to try to get into the zone squad, and
beat my results at the Nationals next year. I am especially pleased our club
will get a new board, and also a techno sail, as we don’t have any at the
moment. Thank you so much to the John Merricks Trust.”
Ian, added: “We are extremely pleased for Max that he has been chosen to
receive a board from the JMST. He has fallen in love with the sport, and wants
to sail all the time, and this will enable him to put in much more practice especially
as he has been
offered a late place onto the SW Zone Squad. He can now go to training camps
throughout the winter and practise with his kit at our club.”
Launched in 2013, the partnership
supports youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the
sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to
achieve their goals. In its six years, 76 boats and boards have now been
donated with some remarkable success stories.
The JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations
to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silver
medalist, John Merricks. As OnBoard's official charity partner, JMST will
donate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising
sailors over eight years, giving them the chance to progress their skills and
continue to participate in the sport.
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations
Officer, added: "We cannot thank JMST enough for continuing to
support the programme. For many of the winners it will be the difference
between continuing in the sport and not. It is such a thrill telling the
sailors and their families they have been successful because we know what a
difference getting a boat or board will make to their lives.
"OnBoard is all about making it
easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 8-18 on the water regularly
and that is what the JMST partnership helps to achieve.”
This year's recipients
all applied for and were awarded their new boats or boards after attending
their respective British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships at the end of September. Declarations of
Eligibility for next year's applications will open in July 2020.
2005, OnBoard has helped over three quarters of a million young people try
sailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them for
life. The programme enables youngsters to enjoy all the excitement and
relaxation being on the water offers, whilst nurturing a wide range of broader
learning benefits and invaluable life skills, from problem solving to
leadership and teamwork.