OnBoarders get new boat boost thanks to JMST


2021 beneficiaries of RYA OnBoard and John Merricks Sailing Trust partnership announced

14 youngsters from across the UK have been handed a huge boost in their ambitions to become top class windsurfers and dinghy sailors thanks to a national programme helping young people progress in the sport.

The delighted sailors have been awarded exclusive use of their own boat or board for the next two years through the on-going partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard.

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.

The 2021 winners are:

 James Thomas  Burwain Sailing Club, Lancashire  Topper
 Sean Hampsey  Holy Loch Sailing Club, Argyll  Topper
 William Powell   Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, Wales  Topper
 Lily Hosty  Swarkestone Sailing Club, Derbyshire  Topper
 Jayden Siu  Andrew Simpson Watersports Centre – Portsmouth, Hampshire   Bic Techno
 Martha Sargeant   Ullswater Yacht Club, Lake District   RS Tera
 Aarian Rexha  Docklands Sailing and Watersport Centre, London  Bic Techno
 Aiden Carter   Stour Young People’s Water Passport Trust, Kent   RS Tera 
 Fred Buckley  Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club, Yorkshire  Topper
 Tahir Mohammed   Burton Sailing Club, Derbyshire  Bic Techno
 Ollie Baker  Axbridge Animals (Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club), Somerset  Bic Techno
 Connie Wilson  East Antrim Boat Club, NI  Topper
 Shaun Cameron   Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust, Scotland   Topper
 Morgan Dulake  Bowmoor Sailing Club, Gloucestershire   Topper


Ollie Baker (pictured top) said: “Thank you so much - I can’t believe it. That’s so cool - I’m going to be down at the club all the time now!” 

William Powell said: “Thank you for giving me a brand-new high-performance topper which I can now keep it in pristine condition and know my self bailer will work and not open backwards and flood my boat."

Jayden Siu said: “I am delighted that I got the John Merricks Award. With the new board and bigger sail, it will definitely help to improve my skills in racing.”

Jayden Siu 

Martha Sargeant said: “Sailing on Ullswater with my friends is my absolute favourite thing to do. I’m so excited to have my own boat to use so now I can improve my sailing, learn to race and hopefully go to events!”

Aarian Rexha said: “Firstly, I would like to thank John Merrick’s Sailing Trust for providing me with this board and supporting me on my windsurfing journey. Having my own board means that I can practice more regularly and effectively and this I know will improve my overall performance when competing in competitions and bring me closer to achieving my dream of becoming a professional windsurfer.”

Tahir Mohammed said: “I am over the moon to have been selected for a John Merrick Sailing Trust Award. I only discovered windsurfing this year but already have high aspirations. I love being on the water, competing but most of all having fun. My parents shared the good news with me on my 13th Birthday, so this is the best start to teen life I could ask for.” 

Lily Hosty’s mother, Aileen Hosty said: “Finding out that Lily and Swarkestone Sailing Club have been successful in being awarded a brand-new topper is breath-taking. Swarkestone has such an amazing junior section, and this boat will be able to support future young sailors also develop their racing.”

Lily Hosty

JMST and OnBoard making real difference

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 medallist, 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.

Recently, JMST announced their intention to dissolve the charity. The remaining funds will be applied to a purpose that will continue to honour the memory of John Merricks, and the Trust’s residual funds will b gifted to one of more organisations that can provide a lasting legacy that will continue the Trust’s objective to help young people achieve their potential through the sport of sailing.

Despite this news, the JMST and OnBoard partnership will continue for another two years. Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, said: "We cannot thank JMST enough for continuing to support the programme. From the many success stories and updates that we receive here at the RYA from past recipients, I know that those who are awarded a boat or board will continue with their progression in the sport.

“It is always such a delight at this time of year when I inform the winners and their venues.”

Details on how to apply for the 2022 JMST and OnBoard partnership will be issued soon.

Since 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.

Tahir Mohammed