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Entries now open for 2019 John Merricks Sailing Trust

by Helen Skelton-Smith 8 Aug 16:35 BST
Young OnBoard sailor - John Merricks Sailing Trust © RYA

Applications are now open for sailors to apply to the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) for a brand new single-handed junior pathway boat or board. The boats and boards will be gifted to at least one promising youngster from each RYA Region and Home Country who displays enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.

After two years of exclusive use of their own boat or board, which will be donated to their club or centre, they will then be returned to the sailor's original club so other young sailors can continue to benefit in the future and progress into club and regional racing activities. The range on offer include: Optimist, Topper, Laser 4.7, RS Tera and Bic Techno 293OD.

Since its launch in 2013, JMST have already donated 76 boats and boards to youngsters. One of last year's lucky recipients was Ben McDiarmid, 12, from Largs Sailing Club in Scotland. Ben has a message for young sailors: "Don't just think about applying, definitely do it. I didn't think I had a chance of winning the use of a brand new boast but I did! It's so easy to apply. The boat is amazing: it makes me so happy."

RYA OnBoard operations officer Hannah Cockle, added: "OnBoard is all about introducing young people to sailing and windsurfing. We are extremely grateful to JMST for their continued support of OnBoard, and I hope that it will help many youngsters to remain within the sport and of course keep having fun on the water."

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 the official charity partner of RYA OnBoard, the JMST will donate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors over eight years, providing them with the opportunity to progress their skills and continue to participate in the sport.

Eligible sailors must be under 15 years of age on the 31st of December 2019. Sailors must enter and compete at the British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships in September 2019. Sailors will then be shortlisted and invited to complete an application form after the event. For any further information email: or call 02380 604195.

Run by the RYA, the OnBoard programme offers young people, aged 8 to 18, the chance to learn an exciting new sport in a safe environment. Being on the water creates multiple situations where young people are challenged as they learn how to sail and windsurf. From problem solving, and decision making, to leadership and teamwork, young OnBoarders will learn valuable life skills, all whilst having fun and making friends on the water. OnBoard provides a safe structure for this to happen and a great environment to help them develop, stimulate and strengthen both mind and body.

Since 2005, OnBoard has introduced more than 900,000 children to sailing and windsurfing in the UK, converting some 70,000 of them into regular participants. The low cost sessions are designed to promote equal access to sailing for young people from all social and economic backgrounds, whilst encouraging their character development.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit rya.org.uk/go/onboard.

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