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A promising North Wales sailor will benefit from a new boat, thanks to the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard partnership.

Bethany Doga, of Llandudno sailing club, is one of a delighted dozen, from across the UK, that have been awarded exclusive use of their own boat for the next two years. It will then go to their club for other junior sailors and windsurfers to continue to benefit from in the future.

She was introduced to sailing thanks to the support of the All Afloat Charity which funds boating opportunities in Wales. Since first starting in 2017 she has made great progress and this award recognises her commitment and achievement to date.

Bethany recently had to hire a Topper (same type of boat as has been awarded) when she spent her first weekend training with the North Wales Regional Topper Squad. Her mother Elaine explained just how life-changing the boat will be for Bethany.

“Bethany can’t quite believe this is happening and neither can I,” she said. “This will help her gain the necessary skills and experience to move into the GBR squads and further develop her sailing skills. 

“Now she will have her own ‘race ready’ Topper for training and events and will be able to participate at some of the 2019 National Topper events without us worrying if we can hire one. It’s a wonderful early Christmas present.”

RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, Hannah Cockle said: “OnBoard is all about making it easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 08-18 out on the water more regularly and that is exactly what the JMST partnership helps us to achieve. 

“It is such a thrill telling the sailors and their families that their applications have been successful, because we know what a difference getting a boat or board will make to their lives. For many it will be the difference between continuing in the sport and not, so we cannot thank JMST enough for continuing to support this programme.”

All_Afloat trustee Johnathon Luke commented “It is great to see one of the sailors we supported to get boating is making progress which is now recognised at a national level.

“We know that these boating experiences can positively transform lives and this is a great example of that, we wish Bethany luck in her future sailing ventures”.

Since its launch in 2013, the partnership has supported youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport but may not ordinarily have had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals. 

Each year, at least one young sailor from each of the RYA Regions and Home Countries is awarded with a single-handed junior pathway boat or board (Optimist, Topper, Laser 4.7, RS Tera and Bic Techno 293OD). 

In its six years, 76 boats and boards have been donated with some remarkable success stories. 

Applications for the 2019 round of donations will open in July 2019. 

In the meantime, find out more about the partnership and how you could benefit. 

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

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