Young sailors to benefit from John Merricks Sailing Trust Legacy Awards

Eight sailing clubs and the RYA’s OnBoard programme received a combined boost of £185,000 as part of the John Merricks Sailing Trust’s Legacy Awards announced at the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show. 

The grants, awarded on the Suzuki Main Stage at Farnborough International, will fund 44 boats to help young sailors develop. The awards will also help Felpham Sailing Club to set up a legacy fund for young ILCA sailors.

The latest grants take the JMST’s total awards since its inception in 1997 to £1 million. These awards have been made to individuals, youth organisations and clubs that have demonstrated both their commitment to youth sailing and a financial need.

The selected sailing clubs receiving these legacy awards represent the whole spectrum of youth and junior sailing across the country, with fleets of boats ranging from Optimists to Keelboats and awards being made to Delph SC in the North down to Restronguet in the South West.

Nick Holley from Restronguet Sailing club explained how important this award was for his club: “It is absolute fantastic news for the junior fleet at Restronguet Sailing Club. We will now be able to buy much needed optimist dinghies and enable us to introduce and train more local young children in the world of sailing. The racing equipment will also enable the young sailors to train and race at the grassroots level.”

Recipient clubs and boats: 
1)    Burghfield Sailing Club – Five RS Fevas
2)    Delph Sailing Club – Three Toppers and one ILCA
3)    Felpham Sailing Club – Three ILCAs and support of a legacy fund for young sailors
4)    Queen Mary Sailing Club – Two RS21 Keelboats
5)    Restronguet Sailing Club – Six Optimists and racing equipment
6)    Rickmansworth Sailing Club – Six Toppers
7)    Rutland Sailing Club – Two RS21 Keelboats
8)    Starcross Yacht Club – Six RS Teras
9)    RYA OnBoard program – One additional year of program funding from 2023 to 2024

The JMST trustees have decided to wind up the trust 25 years after John’s tragic death in a car crash in October 1997, and to invite sailing clubs or organisations to apply for a share of the remaining funds. The JMST received just under 100 applications for these Legacy Awards.

The selected recipients will continue the trust’s objective to help young people achieve their potential through the sport of sailing and in turn provide a lasting legacy for Olympic dinghy sailor John Merricks.

Ian Walker, John’s former sailing partner and Chair of the Trustees, said: “I am humbled by the support that we have had over the past 25 years and I would like to thank everyone who has donated money, volunteered or attended any of our many events.  We have had such loyal support from so many individuals and companies – far too many to name – and that is a reflection of how strongly we all felt about John. I would like to thank my fellow trustees who have all generously given their time for 25 years to create a lasting legacy for John, one that I know has given great pride and comfort to John’s family.”

More news from All At Sea