WIND IN HIS SAILS: Ten-year-old Max Yeowart has been given exclusive use of a new boat for the next two years
WIND IN HIS SAILS: Ten-year-old Max Yeowart has been given exclusive use of a new boat for the next two years


A YOUNG member of Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club has been given his own boat for the next two years thanks to a partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and RYA OnBoard.

Max Yeowart is one of 12 promising sailors and windsurfers from across the UK to benefit from the scheme this year.

Since its launch in 2013, the partnership has supported youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the sport but who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to achieve their goals.

Ten-year-old Max, who has been awarded an Optimist racing dinghy, learnt how to sail at Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club after attending a taster session with Staindrop Cubs in 2017.

He has now started travelling for training and competitions across the region and beyond, but has always had to borrow a club boat to take part.

He said: “Having a boat of my own will make a big difference because then I’ll know I can definitely go to events without having to worry if anyone else has already got something planned.”

Despite being new to the sport, Max has already tasted sailing success, finishing second overall in the Optimist regatta fleet at the British Youth Sailing North Junior Championships, at Ullswater.

“I just really enjoy sailing and competing and the new boat will enable me to develop my skills,” he said.

Max will have exclusive use of the boat for two years, after which it will go to the club to benefit other young sailors in the future.

Mum Judy added: “It’s really fantastic for Max to have the security of knowing he has this new boat for two years, and long-term to have a second boat for the club.

“We owe a big thank you to Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club because it operates as a charity and does a lot of work with the local community, involving groups like Beavers, Cubs and Scouts to give kids a chance to have a go at a sport they wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to try. We’re not a sailing family and wouldn’t have known where to start, and it’s a sport you associate with wealthy families, but Max went to the taster session and then subsequently went along when they first ran junior sessions throughout the summer holidays, and he just absolutely loved it.”

Tony Merry, development officer, said the club had been working to grow its membership and in particular encourage children, leading to the launch of its F3 Club for seven to 11-year-olds and a summer school on Saturdays.

He said the example set by Max would help to inspire other up and coming sailors at the club, who will in turn then also get to benefit from the boat.