The Ian Atkins Keelboat Awards have been set up by the John Merricks Sailing Trust thanks to a contribution from Dominion Enterprises / Yachtworld.
Dominion Enterprises, the previous owners of Dominion Marine Media, now Boats Group, has marked the occasion of Ian Atkins’ retirement with a significant donation to the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) in support of youth keelboat sailing. The Award was announced at Atkins’ retirement celebration at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble, by Courtney Chalmers, Vice President of Marketing, Boats Group, on behalf of Dominion Enterprises.
Jim Saltonstall MBE was in attendance and expressed his gratitude for the gift on behalf of JMST.
A surprise announcement
The Award was a surprise to Atkins, who was visibly moved and deeply honoured at the donation being made in his name in the presence of family, friends and industry colleagues from his extraordinary career in the marine industry, which spans over 40 years.
Ian Atkins is an enthusiastic, active, keelboat sailor with an outstanding record of success in yachting, both in Great Britain and beyond. Ian’s particular forte is racing small keelboats, which many young sailors aspire to after serving their apprenticeship in dinghies. He has had a very successful business career and his knowledge of the commercial side of the sailing industry is well respected both at home and abroad.
What are the Ian Atkins Keelboat Awards?
The JMST will promote and manage the Ian Atkins Keelboat Awards, which consist of a series of cash bursaries for young people to aid their transition from racing dinghies to keelboats. These bursaries, awarded annually, will be given on the basis of track record, future potential and financial need.
Youth sailors can apply for the awards from 1 November to 1 January each year. The JMST Trustees will then consider all applications in January and successful applicants will be awarded grants by the end of the month. All applicants will be notified by the end of February whether their applications were successful or not.
Typically the monies will contribute towards a young sailor’s expenses when looking to further their keelboat sailing through the British Keelboat Academy, British Keelboat league, Student Yachting, Offshore Academy or any other similar keelboat progression. The expectation is, that the scheme would hand out bursaries amounting to a total of £3 - £5k per year.
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. Many people gained from all that John gave and many also helped John to achieve all that he did in such a short time. Indeed if it were not for this help John may have fallen short of his aspirations, culminating in an Olympic silver medal in 1996. The Trust's aim is to provide help to those young people who display similar drive, talent and commitment to sailing as John, but who perhaps themselves need support to set them on their way to fulfilling their dreams.