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World Class Training Boost for Rutland Sailing Club

A new world class facility to boost training and elite sailing provision at Rutland Sailing Club has been officially opened (Sunday 6 February).

The John Merricks Training Centre will support Rutland SC’s position as an RYA National Sailing Academy. The club acts as a major international, national and regional event venue and as an elite training facility for Britain’s top sailors while also it also plays a pivotal role in attracting new people from Rutland and Leicestershire to sailing and keeping them in the sport.

With a significant capital grant from Sport England and further funding from Rutland SC, Rutland Sailability, the John Merricks Sailing Trust, Tony Everard, of Everards Brewery and the RAF, the new facility includes two state-of-the-art classrooms. In addition, there are  new secure storage sheds for RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats), new RIBs and essential additional office and storage space.

As a result, Rutland SC now has even greater capacity to run world class national training camps for the country’s most talented sailors from junior to Olympic level, provide first-rate event administration and support local organisations who use the club for a range of activities including schools and youth groups involved in the RYA Onboard grassroots scheme and RYA Sailability, which enables people with disabilities to learn to sail and sail regularly.


The John Merricks  Training Centre, named after the charity set- up in memory of Rutland SC’s 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks who died in a car accident in 1997, was opened by Dennis Merricks, John’s Father and JMST Trustee, and Tony Everard, President, Everards Brewery during the club’s popular annual Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy event.


David Wilkins, who led  the project for Rutland SC, said: “This is a real boost to Rutland Sailing Club and for all the people, both nationally and locally, who sail here. 


“Over the past 10 years we have been hugely successful in establishing Rutland as one of the country’s premier sailing venues but to enable us to continue providing the high standards of facilities and first-class experiences people coming to Rutland expect, whether international sailors, our own club members or youngsters from local schools, we had to extend our facilities.

“We are extremely grateful to Sport England, the John Merricks Sailing Trust and our many other funding partners for supporting our vision and to the RYA for their continued advice and guidance.”

Sport England's Property Director, Charles Johnston: “Athletes of all abilities need the right facilities so that they can take up a sport, play and compete to their full potential. The new John Merricks Training Centre will really help to get more local people taking up sailing and support those already at the top of their game.”

Duncan Truswell, RYA Youth Sailing Manager, added: “The new classrooms enable us to run training for several national and regional squads at the same time and also provide more tailored support for the sailors. They will also be of huge benefit when we’re running big events, such as the annual RYA Eric Twiname Championships which attracts more than 300 young sailors, as it provides additional space and dedicated rooms to reduce the impact on other club users.”

Ian Walker, JMST Trustee and John’s Olympic sailing partner in 1996, said: “It’s wonderful seeing  this training centre set-up in John’s name. Nobody trained harder than John, this was his home club and he spent thousands of hours training here. John is an excellent role model for all aspiring future champions.”


Tony Everard (r) and Dennis Merricks (l) open the new John Merricks Training Centre at Rutland Sailing Club, 6 February 2011. Credit: Tim Chapman.
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