ASPIRING young windsurfer James Faley has been awarded his very own Bic Techno windsurf board, donated by the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), the official charity of the RYA OnBoard programme.

Faley, 14, who is totally dedicated to windsurfing at Osprey Training Centre (OTC), was selected from more than 80 applications after competing in the RYA South and South West Zone Championships, which took place in Weymouth in September.

The board that the JMST has donated will provide James with the highest quality of equipment to continue to participate in windsurfing.

Faley said: “I love it just being myself and my gear against the elements. I am never really affected by the weather as, ever since I started the sport, I have always sailed through the winter. In fact, it’s probably my favourite time of year as it is generally windier!

“In two years I dream of being on the European tour circuit.

“When I set myself a goal I will try with all my effort to make what is a dream, a reality, and I work as hard as I can to make it happen. This award will take my skills and social life to the next level.”

Tris Best, the managing director at OTC, explained how much Faley deserved the award

“James has showed an immense amount of dogged determination and enthusiasm for windsurfing,” the OTC chief said.

“His progression in the sport speaks volumes. He has mastered techniques that take others decades to complete satisfactorily and his background knowledge in the sport is incredible given the relatively short time in which he has participated. Most of all, we are delighted to see how James has developed as a person in the time he has been coming to windsurf with us down at the centre.

“From a very polite yet timid young boy, he has become a very confident and outgoing young man who has become a real role model for the other young windsurfers around him.”

As the official RYA OnBoard Charity partner since 2012, the JMST is donating more than 50 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising sailors over five years.

Every year, at least one young sailor will be selected from each of the nine RYA Zones and home countries to receive two years of exclusive use of the boat or board.

The equipment will then be donated to the sailor’s original club or training centre to benefit club training programmes and enable other young sailors to benefit in the future and progress into club, regional and national racing activities.

RYA OnBoard Development Officer, Cat Ferguson, said: “This is the fourth year that OnBoard has been supported by the JMST to run this scheme and we are really grateful for their involvement.

“We’re already seeing these youngsters progressing in the sport in ways they would not have been able to, had it not been for this opportunity.”

Double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker, a winning VOR skipper and JMST trustee, added: “All at the JMST are delighted to be funding this scheme that supports youth sailors at a grassroots level.

“We hope that the RYA OnBoard awards will enable the selected youth sailors to develop their talent, much as John Merricks did when he was awarded a club sailing boat at a young age and started on his own pathway to success.”

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