The John Merricks Sailing Trust has been in operation for twenty-one years and has helped many young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals. The charitable trust was set up by those closest to John to do some good in his name and further the memory of such a remarkable person.
Ian Walker was delighted to announce, “15 years ago the John Merricks Sailing Trust was started by those closest to John with the simple idea that it would be great to help someone who might one day go on to emulate John and win an Olympic medal. The fact Luke and Stu won the same Silver medal as John (470 Silver) seems almost pre-ordained.”
Jonny McGovern and Stuart Bithell were awarded a grant from the JMST in 2002 and won a Bronze Medal in the 420 boys class at the ISAF Youth Worlds in 2004.
Jonny is currently the RYA lead pathway coach for the 420 and 470 classes.
Stuart has now paired up with Dylan Fletcher in the 49’er class and in September 2017 won the 49’er World Championships in Portugal. With New Zealand having occupied the World title for the past six years, Fletcher and Bithell made history becoming the first Brits to top the podium since 2007 when their Coach, Ben Rhodes, along with Stevie Morrison, won the event in Cascais.
On January 27th 2018, Dylan and Stuart won the Miami World Cup event in the 49er class, retaining their 2017 title from the same event.
Dylan finished 2nd Overall and 1st Youth at the 29er World Championships in 2006. He moved into the 49er class in 2007 and has been winning medals in major national and international championships since 2008. His most recent successes, with Stuart Bithell (see above), were winning the Miami World Cup in both 2017 and 2018, as well as the 49'er World Championships in Portugal in September 2017.
Dylan and Stuart are currently in the British Sailing Team in the 49er class, they are currently ranked number one in the world and have their sights firmly set on gold at Tokyo 2020.
Dylan is also the helmsman of Great Britain’s entry in SailGP series in 2019.
Sophie has represented Britain at the Optimist Worlds, 420 Worlds and ISAF Youth World Championships in the 420 class. In 2007, Sophie and her crew Sophie Ainsworth won two Gold Medals (1st &1st Girls) at the 29er Worlds as well as Silver Medal in the 29er class at the ISAF Youth World Championships.
From 2008, Sophie campaigned in the Womens 470 class and won the 470 European Championships in June 2012, as well as numerous medals in major national and international championships ever since.
Sophie is currently campaigning with Sophie Aisnworth in the 49'er FX class and the pair won bronze medals in 2018 at the 49er World Championships in Denmark and at the European Championships in Poland. The pair are leading contenders in the British Sailing Team to represent GBR in Tokyo 2020.
Izzy has achieved major success winning two World Championship titles at the RS:X Youth Worlds in Turkey 2009 and Cyprus 2010. As well as two successive Silver Medals at the ISAF Youth World Championships in Istanbul 2010 and Brazil 2009. Izzy also pulled off a hat trick in 2010, winning the girls RYA Youth National title in the RS:X Class for the third year running. Izzy is currently in the RYA Podium Squad.
In 2012 Lorenzo was the U19 Laser European Champion and was selected to join the RYA Podium Potential Squad. In 2014 he claimed the U21 World and European championship titles. In September 2015, he won the World Cup in Qingdao and was on the podium with a bronze medal at the World Cup in Maimi in January 2017. Lorenzo is one of s one of leading British Sailing Team contenders to represent GBR in Tokyo 2020.
Mike achieved many successes in his Topper, culminating in winning the Topper Worlds in 2007. He moved to a 420 campaign with crew Hugh Brayshaw, winning the RYA Youth Nationals in the 420 Class and gained a sixth place at the ISAF Youth World Championships in Istanbul, 2010. In 2012 and again in 2013, Mike and Hugh won Silver Medals at the 470 Junior European Championships.
Hugh Brayshaw went on to finish 21st in the 2018 Solitaire Figaro.
Alex is now in the RYA Podium Potential Squad and won the Laser National Champinships at Abersoch in 2012. In 2011 he won the Silver Fleet at the World’s in Perth, a Gold Medal at Laser Youth Europeans and a Silver Medal at the Laser Youth Worlds. He is currently ranked 11th in the ISAF world rankings (Sep 13).
Connor was selected for the RYA Team GBR Podium Potential Squad in the RS:X class in 2011. In 2010, he achieved a 4th place at the ISAF Youth Worlds and in 2011 he won a Silver Medal at the RYA Youth Nationals.
In 2011 Jade won the RYA Youth Nationals in the RS:X class and was selected to represent Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Croatia where she achieved 7th place in her class.
Sophie achieved Silver Medal place in the RS:X class at the RYA Youth Nationals – April 2010 and was selected to join the National Youth Squad.
Milly Boyle and Vita Heathcote won a Silver Medal in the 420 Girls Class at the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in the USA.
Islay won a Gold Medal in the RS:X class at the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in the USA.
Kieran won the Youth World Championships in the RS:X in Cyprus in 2013. He is currently in the British Sailing Team and has put in an impressive turn on the senior international scene, with runner-up places at major events such as Enoshima Olympic Week and the RS:X class European championships.
Alysia is currently in the British Sailing Team , with a string of top 10 results across Techno and RS:X in European and World Championships Gibson is continually developing her skills and gaining experience from the athletes from every nation around her, something she sees as her biggest inspiration.