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2014 OnBoard sailors awarded boats / boards donated by JMST

News Release     
19 November 2014

For the second year running, aspiring young sailors have been awarded their very own boats and windsurfers, donated by the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), the official charity partner of the RYA OnBoard programme.
The 13 youngsters were selected from over 70 applications after competing in the RYA Zone and Home Country Championships which took place at nine venues across the UK this September.


“This is the second year we’ve teamed up with the JMST to run this scheme which is aimed at helping ambitious young sailors to progress in the sport. These youngsters have all shown huge enthusiasm, talent and commitment to the sport despite some of them being fairly new to sailing. This year we will award six Toppers, three Optimists, three Bic Technos and one Laser” said RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, Cat Ferguson.
The boats and boards that the JMST have donated will provide these sailors, who may not have ordinarily had the opportunity, to progress their skills with the highest quality equipment to continue to participate in sailing.
Ten year old William who sails at North Lincs and Humberside Sailing Club was delighted when he found out he was being gifted the use of his own BIC Techno. “I really love windsurfing but always have to borrow my club’s kit, often having to search for my own board and sail. I love being outdoors meeting new friends and improving my skills in windsurfing every time I go.”
Finlay (11) was awarded his very own Topper with the scheme last year. He said: “This opportunity has allowed me to learn and compete with the kind of equipment we couldn’t otherwise afford. My mum and dad have made friends with other parents on the traveller circuit and weekends have been a fun and busy time for all of us”.
The JMST will donate more than 50 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors over five years. Each year at least one young sailor will be selected from each of the nine RYA Zones and Home Countries, to receive two years of exclusive use of the boat or board which has been donated by the Trust. After which the boats or boards will be donated to the sailor’s original club or training centre to benefit club training programmes and enable other young sailors to benefit in the future and progress into club, regional and national racing activities.
Cat concludes: “We’d like to thank Bishop Skinner who once again are supporting the partnership as the official RYA OnBoard JMST marine insurer. Thanks also go to Topper, Laser, Boardwise and IBI Sailing for helping us to make this possible.”
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.“ 
Youngsters who have been selected for RYA OnBoard JMST awards are:
Manon Ellis, County Antrim Yacht Club, Co. Antrim
Abigail Cowley, Kielder Water Sailing Club, Northumberland
Philip Heywood,  Coquet Shorebased Trust Windsurfing Club, Northumberland
William Russell, North Lincs and Humberside Sailing Club, North Lincolnshire
Molly Maciver, Clyde Windsurfing Club, Renfrewshire
Alistair Coombs, Loch Venacher Sailing Club, Perthshire
Dan Batty, Oxford and District Schools Sailing Association, Oxfordshire
James Smaggasgale, Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre, Middlesex
Kieran Andrews, St Mawes Sailing Club, Cornwall
Miles Ripley, Paignton sailing Club, Devon
David Peaty, Worcestershire Schools Sailing and Canoe Association, Worcestershire
For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA’s website or the OnBoard website
For more information about the JMST visit
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