Performance Bursary for young Chipstead sailor
Aspiring young sailor Mim Asker (14) from Lewisham has received a Performance Bursary from the RYA London and South East Youth Training Fund.
Photo – Mim on the water, credit Jon Bentman
The bursaries provide modest financial support to young sailors to help fulfil their recognised racing or coaching potential. In return, recipients pass on their experience and enthusiasm to help inspire others through their club and regional training events.
Starting and progressing…
Mim learned to sail at Chipstead Sailing Club (CSC) in an Optimist dinghy and has been an active member of the club since her first session on the water.
Over the years she has sailed and raced regularly at CSC, taken part in Kent School Sailing Association (KSSA) events, some regional International Optimist
Class Association events and the RYA Regional Junior Championships.
In 2021 she progressed to sailing a Topper dinghy – initially a 4.2 – which she sailed as part of the Kent team at National School Sailing Association event in Plymouth and received the Endeavour trophy. Mim was selected for the International Topper Class Association 4.2 squad 2021/22, although she missed out on some of the training due to breaking her wrist.
Since summer 2022, Mim has sailed a Topper 5.3 in a range of CSC race series including the Commodore’s Cup in which she came first, the Junior mid-Summer Regatta (1st girl), and the Junior Handicap series 2022 (1st girl).
For the past two seasons she has crewed on one of the Heron dinghies at the club in the Sunday afternoon Heron series. The first time Mim took the helm of the Heron was for the Novice’s Cup event in 2022 which she won. She has been asked by one of the other juniors to sail with him in the Feva Nationals in 2024 and is looking forward to this.
The awards depend on the winner’s commitment to contribute to their club or class association. Mim trained as an Assistant Instructor and coached the beginners on Saturday mornings throughout the 2023 season as well as during the Chipmates summer camp. She intends to continue doing this and is keen to get involved with the development of double-handed sailing within the Juniors Class.
Mim has recently been awarded the Ian Walker trophy at CSC. The trophy was given by twice Olympic silver medallist and Volvo Ocean Race winner Ian Walker, MBE, for a junior sailor who makes a significant contribution to sailing and the club through teaching, coaching and encouraging less able sailors to sail.
Jenny Johnson, Vice Commodore of KSSA, said in nominating Mim: “She has really developed a love of all aspects of sailing
despite a few challenges this year, and would really benefit from some specific Feva coaching to develop her skills further. She has great enthusiasm for the
sport and very keen to develop her racing ability.”
Mim will use the award to fund some Feva coaching, ideally on tidal water, to develop her skills and to better prepare her to participate in the Feva Nationals 2024
Mim said of receiving her bursary: “It was a lovely surprise to learn I’d been awarded the bursary which I’m planning to use on some double-handed coaching.
“No-one else in my family sails so I didn’t really have any experience of double-handed sailing until I was paired up with Carol, one of the older Heron sailors at Chipstead. I’ve crewed for Carol for the past two seasons and have learned a lot about double-handed sailing from her, and I’m hoping to go to the Feva Nationals with one of the other Juniors in May so the bursary will benefit both of us.”
Photo – Mim receives her award from Rob Brown, Junior Class Captain
From the Youth Training Fund….
Dave Ellis, Chairman of the Youth Training Fund, says: “It’s fantastic for young sailors to be able to experience a range of opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, during their development as they learn so much. But the costs of travel, accommodation, food etc. all quickly mount up and the bursaries provide some assistance to our young sailors as they develop their sailing careers”.
“We have an abundance of talent in the region and we want to give our young sailors, whether destined for ‘podiums’ or as coaches, the best chance to realise their ambitions.”
Might you be eligible for a bursary? Find out more