Through an ongoing partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard, 10 boats are awarded to deserving young sailors every year, providing them with the opportunity to progress their skills and continue to participate in the sport.
Connie Wilson from East Antrim Boat Club was given a boat by JMST last year. She says it has made a huge difference to her: “I recently took part in my first regatta in my JMST Topper – the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships at Ballyholme Yacht Club. It was a great experience in some very challenging sailing conditions.
“Knowing that I have the use of a boat for the next couple of years, whether it be at the club or at a regatta, has definitely made it easier to forward plan and I take great pride in my boat.”
RYA Northern Ireland’s Active Clubs Co-Ordinator, Lisa McCaffrey, says: “This is the chance of a lifetime for young sailors. Each year JMST kindly donates boats to promising youngsters who are committed to the sport but may not have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.
“The JMST Scheme provides young sailors from across the country with their own equipment and after two years it is then given to their supporting organisation – usually their Club. This is a fantastic way to support our sailors and now is the time to submit applications if sailors are interested. We have had many successful sailors from Northern Ireland and they’ve made great progress in developing their skills with their JMST boats.”
The JMST, set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silver medallist, John Merricks.
Applications are now open and more information can be found here. The closing date for applications is 20 June 2022.
(photo credit: Simon McIlwaine, Wavelength)