A promising West Wales sailor will benefit from a new boat, thanks to the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard partnership.
It means Pembrokeshire Performance Sailing Academy’s Rowan Joseph will have more people to race against next season as he gets a new Optimist boat that allows him to move up in class.
Dad Richard, from Llangwm, revealed Rowan sailed an Optibat last season and was often the only person racing one of those on the West Wales youth circuit.
He is one of a delighted dozen, from across the UK, who have been awarded exclusive use of their own boat or windsurfing board 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.
Cleddau Reach primary school pupil Rowan went from beginner to coming third in the South and West Wales Acorn Llangorse OnBoard Regatta this summer.
“We are absolutely delighted, Rowan only started sailing this year but he is out on the water in all weathers and wants to go to as many races as he can,” said Richard.
“His brother sailed in Neyland, so Rowan joined PPSA as soon as he turned eight and was old enough, he progressed really quickly through the stages, did a sailing week in the summer and got to Stage 3.
“The coaches said he was a natural, he never capsized, and he had the opportunity then to start racing. He joined the West Wales CYRC’s (Club Youth Racing Circuit), but he was racing an Optibat and he was the only one doing that at some events.
“This new boat means he can take part in all the Optimist races next year.”
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.
In its six years, 76 boats and boards have been donated with some remarkable success stories.
RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, Hannah Cockle said: “OnBoard is all about making it easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 8-18 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.”
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).
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
For further details about Welsh sailing and watersports, please go to http://www.rya.org.uk/rya-regions/rya-cymru-wales or https://www.facebook.com/RYACymruWales or follow on Twitter @RYACymruWales . You can also keep up to date by following RYA Cymru Wales on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rya_cymru_wales/