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John Merricks Sailing Trust donate a boat to Powys sailor

by Hamish Stuart, RYA Cymru-Wales 18 Dec 2014 07:04 GMT 17 December 2014
Huw travelled to Weymouth with the boat donated by the John Merricks Sailing Trust © RYA

Powys sailor Huw Farmer is starting to fulfill his promise thanks to the award of a new boat to reward his enthusiasm for the sport.

Llangorse youngster Huw was one of two award winners from Wales who was donated a boat by the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) for his talent and commitment, being selected out of more than 100 applications. The boat will be passed on to his Llangorse club when he grows out of it.

Having received the boat earlier this year at the age of nine, Farmer has spent 2014 trying to build on that early progress. The award has fired his ambitions to go on and make the Wales squads as he gets older.

"I was very very happy when I found out – I just could not believe it when my dad told me," said Huw.

"I felt so special being invited to the meal at Rutland and later meeting all the other JMST winners at the dinghy show; all fantastic experiences.

"I sail as often as my parents will take me. I would like to sail every weekend if possible but I guess we do sail most weekends.

"I competed in quite a list of events now we look back, from club racing events, all South Wales CYRC's, Welsh Youth's, Oppie Nationals, Welsh Nationals, EOS, Acorn regatta, and finally the Welsh zones. It's been a very busy year and I have been to some great sailing clubs and made lots of new friends.

"I am improving. I started off sailing in regatta fleet and sailed in racing regatta at the nationals, silver fleet in the CRYC's and finally in main fleet at the EOS – there is a big jump in skill now required and the main fleet starts are amazing.

"Thanks to having my own boat made I am able to sail a boat which is set up for me. I can put things where I want and have got used to everything – it is perfect for me, even the sail has been chosen for my weight. I think I have done more this year – learnt more and sailed more thanks to having this boat.

"I would like to go through the Welsh squad system and will start to go to all the ranking events next year and get more experience. I want to stay sailing my Oppie as long as I can and represent Wales in Sailing."

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

Over a ten year period OnBoard has introduced over 500,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting over 10% of them into regular participants.

JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of leading Olympic sailor and 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks.

Ian Walker, John's former sailing partner, JMST Trustee, double Olympic silver medallist and skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, commented, "John Merricks did not come from a sailing family and learnt to sail at school. He was a fantastic sailor, but was as well known for his sense of fun as he was for his natural talent. Many people helped John on his way to achieving his Olympic Silver medal and the Trust set up in his name aims to support youth sailing at a grass roots level, hoping to encourage young sailors like these to follow in his footsteps."

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA's website www.rya.org.uk or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk

For more information about the JMST visit www.jmst.org.uk

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