Kieran Jordan has hailed the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) after it kick-started his sailing career.
Jordan, from Lee-on-the-Solent Sailing Club, was awarded a Topper through the JMST in 2013 and has since gone on to thrive.
He once shared a boat with other club members but access to a Topper of his own has allowed the 13-year-old to dedicate more time to training as he looks to progress in the sport.
‘Before I received the Topper I was borrowing one from my club and they were often all booked out,’ he said.
‘When I got the boat it was just absolutely amazing.
‘I started sailing whenever I could – often four or five times a week.
‘It’s really helped me excel because I’m able to do events all across the south coast.
‘Having the boat has helped me in so many ways, and I’m incredibly grateful to both OnBoard (OB) and the JMST for their support.’
As the official RYA OnBoard Charity Partner, the JMST is continuing to support the OB programme by donating boats and boards to promising talents.
For the third year, the Trust will donate a boat or board to at least one young sailor or windsurfer from each of the nine RYA Zones and home countries.
After two years, the boats will be returned to the sailor’s original club for the benefit of other youngsters who want to get on the water.
RYA OnBoard operations officer Cat Ferguson said: ‘This is the third year OB has been supported by the JMST to run this scheme and we are really grateful.
‘We are already seeing these youngsters progressing in ways they would not have been able to had it not been for this opportunity.’
JMST trustee Rod Carr added: ‘It’s marvellous for the JMST to be able to support a scheme that enables youngsters to take their first steps into competitive sailing.
‘We are delighted to see the progress made so far.’