Promising sailor Roscoe Kailas from Eastbourne is one of 13 youngsters from across the UK who have been handed a huge boost in their ambitions to become top class dinghy sailors and windsurfers thanks to a national programme helping young talent progress in the sport.
The delighted sailors have been awarded exclusive use of their own boat or windsurfing board for the next two years through the on-going partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust and RYA OnBoard,
Launched in 2013, the partnership supports youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals. In its six years, 76 boats and boards have now been donated with some remarkable success stories.
Roscoe sails with Buzz Active, who said in nominating him for the award: “Roscoe has been sailing with us since October 2018. Since then he has leaped at every single chance to get out on the water and sail. Be it sailing a double hander for the first time or his first go at racing, he has always been incredibly keen and has even had the confidence to take to the water for bigger events such as our Buzz Active Interclub Regatta Series and the RYA Regional Championships.
“Buzz Active will take ownership of Roscoe’s new Topper dinghy after two years and add it to the centre’s fleet to provide more opportunities for other juniors.”
Roscoe said of his award: “I’m shocked I’ve won, and amazed. I can’t wait to get out on the waves in my Topper.”
Roscoe’s mum Lienna added: “As a family we’re so pleased that Buzz Active will have the opportunity to train kids on a racing dinghy. It will be so good for all the kids who sail with the centre.”
The John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silver medalist, John Merricks. As OnBoard’s official charity partner, JMST will donate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors over eight years, giving them the chance to progress their skills and continue to participate in the sport.
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations Officer, added: “We cannot thank JMST enough for continuing to support the programme. For many of the winners it will be the difference between continuing in the sport and not. It is such a thrill telling the sailors and their families they have been successful because we know what a difference getting a boat or board will make to their lives.
“OnBoard is all about making it easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 8-18 on the water regularly and that is what the JMST partnership helps to achieve.”
This year’s recipients all applied for and were awarded their new boats or boards after attending their respective British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships at the end of September. Declarations of Eligibility for next year’s applications will open in July 2020.
Since 2005, OnBoard has helped over three quarters of a million young people try sailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them for life. The programme enables youngsters to enjoy all the excitement and relaxation being on the water offers, whilst nurturing a wide range of broader learning benefits and invaluable life skills, from problem solving to leadership and teamwork.