Sir Ben Ainslie at the 17th North Sails Golf Day
76 golfers turned out for the 17th North Sails Golf Day on Friday at Cams Hall in Fareham. John ‘Jonny’ Merricks worked at North Sails and the first Golf Day, organised as it is today with the help of the Seahorse Golf Society, was set up to raise money for a Trust to be started in John’s name. Since its inception 16 years ago the Golf Day has raised over £163,000 for the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST).
The rain held off and the sun made an occasional appearance as former colleagues and friends of John’s including, Sir Ben Ainslie, Chris Draper, Ian Williams, Eddie Warden Owen, Iain MacDonald-Smith, Ossie Stewart, Matt Cornwell, Simon Fry, Phil Harmer, James Stagg and Stephen Park, turned out to play a round of golf while also remembering John and supporting the charity in his name.
Mark Lee from Craftinsure won the event with a score of 43, earning him the famous Bandit trophy as well! Nick Baggot achieved the 1st Hole in One in the history of the Golf Day winning him the Grapefruit Graphics Nearest the Pin Challenge.
JMST Patron, 4 x Olympic gold medallist and recent America's Cup winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, proposed a heartfelt toast to absent friends at the prize giving.
Legendary racing coach and JMST Trustee, Jim Saltonstall, read a letter from Dennis Merricks (John's father) and thanked everyone for their continued support of this Golf Day now in its 17th year. He also highlighted the recent success of some the sailors that received funding from the JMST many years ago, including: Dylan Fletcher – JMST award in 2005 - is currently first in the 49er fleet in the ISAF World Sailing
Rankings; Sophie Weguelin – JMST award in 2004 - is currently 3rd in the 470 (Women) fleet in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings; Izzy Hamilton – JMST award in 2009 - is currently 7th in the RS:X (Women) fleet in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.
RYA British Sailing Team Manager, Stephen Park, made a presentation about the JMST's new charity partnership with the RYA OnBoard scheme. The JMST will donate 50 singlehanded junior pathway boats and boards (Topper, Optimist, Laser 4.7, Bic Techno 293OD) to promising OnBoard sailors over the next five years, providing them with the opportunity to progress their skills and continue to participate
in the sport.
Andy Green, performed a fantastic job as auctioneer, coaxing a grand total of over £1,850 from bidders in the auction, for high value items from Musto; Guy Salmon 2 Range Rover; The Wheel Specialist, Fareham and Trudy Cook at Ocean Art as well as Olympic memorabilia.
Neil Mackley from North Sails said, “Raising money for charity in the current economic climate is not easy, and I would like to thank all of the many companies who have generously donated prizes and sponsorship, as well as the players, many of whom have attended year after year, for their support.”
Richard Langdon and Rachel Jaspersen from Ocean Images generously gave up their day to photograph the event - a selection of images and a short film are available on the JMST Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jmst.uk
1st - Mark Lee - 43 Stablefored points - £150 pro shop vouchers
2nd - Dan Bath - 39 Stablefored points - £100 pro shop vouchers
3rd - Ian Clarke - 38 Stablefored points - - £50 pro shop vouchers
Ladies Trophy: Tessa Richardson - £50 pro shop vouchers
Best Team: Darren Frost, Simon Igglesden, Dan Bath, Barry Boyce.
Winners of the Bainbridge Trophy and 4 x Craftinsure Golf Day jackets.
Guy Salmon Range Rover Longest Drive: Simon Igglesden, winner of 2 x Henri Lloyd performance jackets
Grapefruit Graphics Nearest the Pin: Won with a Hole in One by Nick Baggot! He was presented with 2 x Bainbridge Sail Cloth jackets and a voucher for a round of golf for 4 players at Cams Hall Golf Club.
Huge thanks go to North Sails for managing the event, Peter Nash of the Seahorse Golf Society and every company and individual who donated prizes and the individual Hole Sponsors: North Sails; Dimension Polyants; Guy Salmon Range Rover; Banburys; Osmotech; RF Composites; TT Rigging; Toolkit Websites; Soluxion IT; Grapefruit Graphics; Ocean Images; Craftinsure.
The John Merricks Sailing Trust supports young sailors and junior sailing projects in financial need. It has awarded over £267,000 to individuals or projects that seek to further youth sailing. If you or your project needs help please see www.jmst.org.uk for more details.