Sailors battle the bunkers for John Merricks Trust

12th North Sails Golf Day - Team Percy - image Ian Finlay
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A cool, calm but overcast morning, eventually gave way to clear blue skies and golden sunshine for the 80 golfers who turned out for the twelfth North Sails Golf Day on Friday 24 October 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 12 years ago the Golf Day has raised over £114,000.

This fantastic event always draws the support of former colleagues and friends of John’s, Olympic medallists, Americas Cup sailors, yacht designers and keen amateur sailors who turn out to play a good game of golf whilst remembering John and supporting the charity in his name.

2008 Olympic Gold Sailing Medallists in the Star class, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson enjoyed some well-deserved downtime from their hectic schedules with a round of golf whilst supporting one of their favourite charities.

Rod Carr, JMST Trustee and CEO of the RYA, spoke on behalf of the John Merricks Sailing Trust thanking North Sails for hosting the event and outlining how the funds raised are awarded. He also read out a message from Dennis Merricks, John’s Dad, which thanked everyone for their continued support of the event.

Ian Walker, John’s former sailing partner and JMST trustee, who is also a double Olympic silver medallist and America’s Cup Skipper, is currently racing around the world on Green Dragon in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009. However he still managed to send this message.

'I'm sorry I can't be with you at the JMST Golf Day this year, as I write this I am sweating to death in the nav station of the Green Dragon trying to get across the doldrums. The good news is that we are leading but the bad news is that we have no wind! John would have loved to have been doing what I am now - there is nothing he would have loved more than sailing all day every day. I hope you have all had a great round of golf - thank you once again for supporting the Trust and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.'

Neil Mackley from North Sails commented, 'We are very happy with the end result of today’s Golf Day, raising money for charity in the current economic climate is not easy, and I would just like to thank the companies that supported the day and the individuals who hopefully enjoyed a good day out of the office.'

Winner of the day David Dent scored 43 Stableford points and was presented with the North Sails Trophy. In second place was Michael Rye with 40 Stableford points, whilst third place went to James Donaldson with 37 Stableford points.

Meanwhile Penny Hesketh seized the ladies trophy and the team from Thurman Rye walked away with the Team Trophy of four Golf Day branded jackets donated by Craftinsure.

Richie O’Farrell won this year’s Bandit Trophy – an annual trophy originally presented by Mark Tomson the first Bandit winner. Richie also won the Nearest the Pin prize with his first shot of the day! The longest drive was achieved by Dean Shaw.

Sail TV were filming out on the course and have produced a short video of the action which is on their website for all to view - www.sail.tv

2008 Olympic Gold Medallists, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson performed a marvellous job as auctioneers, coaxing a grand total of £2,748, for an array of diverse prizes, from bidders in the auction.

Results

Men’s Winner – David Dent - North Sails Trophy - £150 pro shop vouches
2nd – Michael Rye - £100 pro shop vouchers
3rd – James Donaldson- £50 pro shop vouchers
Ladies Winner – Penny Hesketh – Crystal Putter and £50 pro shop vouchers
Bandit Trophy – Richie O’Farrell

Photographs were taken by Ian Finlay and are displayed at www.ianfinlay.com High resolution images can be ordered directly from the JMST for a minimum donation of £10.

Huge thanks go to North Sails for managing the event, Peter Nash of the Seahorse golf society, every company and individual who donated prizes and the individual hole sponsors:

Volvo; Raymarine Ltd; J-UK; Thurman Rye; Osmotech; Sail TV; Hamble Yacht Services; RF Composites; Oyster Marine; Grapefruit Graphics; C-Tel; Printing Crazy; Craftinsure.

The John Merricks Sailing Trust supports young sailors and junior sailing projects in financial need. It has awarded over £165,000 to individuals or projects that seek to further youth sailing. If you or your project needs help see www.jmst.org.uk for more details.