New boat donation will help young sailor to develop skills

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A Glossop youngster has been handed a boost in his ambition to become a top-class dinghy sailor thanks to a national scheme helping young talent progress in the sport.

Arlo Turner is one of 11 promising sailors and windsurfers from across the UK who have been awarded exclusive use of their own boat or windsurfing board for the next two years, thanks to a partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard.

The 11-year-old, who sails at Glossop Sailing Club, was chosen to receive a new Topper one-person dinghy after demonstrating his enthusiasm, talent and commitment since being introduced to sailing by a school friend three years ago.

Until now Arlo, who has twin younger brothers, has borrowed club kit as he has progressed his skills through Glossop SC’s Friday night junior club and Wednesday evening race training, before, for the first time this year, competing in Derbyshire Youth Series events.

It was his debut at the RYA Midlands Zone Championships in September where Arlo, his family and coaches recognised that to kick on he needed his own boat — and that is why having the new Topper will make such a difference.

“Having this new boat means I can modify it and take care of it myself,” he said.

“In two years I hope to be attending national class events frequently and I know this wouldn’t be possible in the boats I’ve been borrowing.

“Thank you so much JMST and OnBoard.”

RYA OnBoard is the nationwide grassroots programme, run by sailing’s national governing body, giving young people aged 8 to 18 the opportunity to learn to sail at low cost.

The JMST, set up in memory of 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks, supports young sailors and youth sailing organisations.

Since 2012, JMST and RYA OnBoard have partnered to donate high-quality junior racing dinghies and boards to promising young sailors who may not ordinarily have had the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.

Recipients get two years’ exclusive use of their boat/board before it is goes to their club for other young sailors to use.

Arlo’s club mate, Johan Kidger, won a JMST/OnBoard Bic Techno windsurf board and rig two years ago and he has just enjoyed his most successful season on the water.

Glossop SC is focusing on developing the racing skills of its young dinghy sailors and earned an award for the most entrants at September’s RYA Midlands Zone Championships.

For more information about the club go to www.sail-glossop.org.uk