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Katrina Johnson Award

Katrina Johnson died tragically from meningitis in October 2001 aged 16.  She was one of three girls in the RYA South West Zone Squad in 2000 and used the squad to great effect to make National Junior Squad for 2001/2002.   It was then decided nationally that her squad place should not be filled for that  year and was therefore only 29 boats.

Titch Blatchford, Katrina’s RYA South West Zone Squad coach, said at the time, “From speaking with the sailors (and parents) I am fairly certain that there will be ongoing fundraising for Trina from those who knew her - she really was an incredible young lady and a very determined sailor/sportsman with talent that was starting to give results.   She was totally over the moon at making the Zone Squad and was absolutely thrilled to make the National Squad.”

“So rather than set up another charity and as the fundraising will not just stop this year, it would be great to have a Katrina Johnson medal or award that would continue to further the memory of this very determined sailor.”

Her parents, Mike and Lesley Johnson sent the following statement to the JMST, “We have been overwhelmed at the impact that Katrina obviously made during her short life, shown through the donations, cards, letters and great sorrow seen amongst her many friends. She has been held out as a model 'cadet', for her unselfish enthusiasm for the sport of sailing. We would like this spirit to be maintained in some form for the future.” 

The JMST Trustees were in unanimous agreement that a special award would be granted to a deserving youngster [or scheme for young sailors] called "The Katrina Johnson Award."

Mike and Lesley then donated a considerable amount to the JMST from the monies raised from the fund that was set up in Katrina's memory.  Several of their friends had asked them if there was some way in which Katrina could be remembered in the sailing fraternity and this was deemed to be the best way of achieving this.

The 1st Katrina Johnson Award was made in July 2004 to 15 Year old James Thomas. He bought himself a 2nd hand 420 with his grant and his dad sent the following report on his progress. 

James is on the steep learning curve with his crew and it will be a while before they will master the art of 420 sailing. I will be taking him to the open coaching at Burnham in September and see how he gets on in the Otters 420 open a week later!”

Suffice to say with James and his crew Evan weighing only 16 stone they managed to get the boat planning in very little wind, Evan managed to get caught up on the trapeze and dragged along at one stage! However no capsizes and broad grins all round were the order of the day.

The 2nd Katrina Johnson Award was made to Carl Whitewood, in January 2006.  Carl, from the Isle of Wight, was recommended for an award due to his dedication to sailing.  His local sailing club said that he had made great progress and was an asset to the club, because he is so keen, polite and helpful.

He sent the following report in 2007, “Just emailing to let the trust know how I am doing. I have just brought a Laser 4.7 and went to my first event last weekend at Draycote and came 18th out of 28 - not bad for my first event.  Been Winter training at Fishbourne IOW every weekend, planning to go to all the ladder events this year and try and get into the National Squad. I am also hoping to be on a big boat sailing all of the offshore races that is does. I have attached a picture of me sailing at Gurnard.”

The 3rd Katrina Johnson Award was made to Alexander Savage (Age 13), Isabelle Savage (Age 12), and Georgina Savage (Age 10) in November 2009.

All three children were selected for the RYA Windsurfing Zone Squad 2009/2010, which is a fantastic achievement, however the training fees, times three, meant that they would have struggled to commit to the training programme.  The JMST were delighted to be able to grant them this special award to cover their RYA Zone Squad training fees.

The children’s windsurfing achievements have regularly appeared in the local papers (Weston Mercury, North Somerset Gazette) and on the RYA website. See links below.

The children sail at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club with the T15 Axbridge Animals and qualified for the T15 National Championships Cup at Rutland in October this year. The team came second overall and individually Alexander achieving 3rd in the 5.5m fleet, (Effectively ranked 3rd in the UK) and Georgina achieving 4th in the 3.5m fleet.

 As part of the RYA Zone Squad selection process the children had to take part in the 2009 RYA Volvo SW Home Championships held at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on 26/27 September 2009. Isabelle came 1st in the 4.5m fleet and Georgina came 2nd in the 3.5m fleet. The results link is below, although they show Isabelle as 2nd she has the trophy to prove she was first!

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