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Home / Off Water / Blake Fund for Young Sailors

Blake Fund for Young Sailors

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The Blake Fund for Young Sailors was established by the Club in 2001 following the tragic death of Peter, the celebrated New Zealand yachtsman whose home had been in Emsworth for more than 30 years.

'One of the world's finest yachtsmen' was one of the many tributes to Peter when news of his death by pirates in the Amazon reached Britain. He had competed successfully in six Whitbread Round the World races, sailed 600,000 miles over the world's oceans, and led Team New Zealand to two successive America's Cup victories. He was knighted in 1995.

He came to Emsworth after one of his first round the world races so his boat could be repaired, joined our Club, and met the then Commodore's daughter, Pippa Glanville.

They married, and their two children, Sarah-Jane and James - well known to many Club members - inherited their parents' love for the sea and are also keen sailors. James became a Trustee of the Fund in 2019.

The Blake Fund for Young Sailors is administered by Lady Pippa as Chair of the Trustees and the Club's Flag Officers.

Our Mission Statement:

The Blake Fund inspires uptake, development and lifelong bonding with sailing; introducing all children to the water and nurturing the few to greater things.

Our purpose is:

1. To inspire a lifelong passion for sailing
2. To encourage young children to sail
3. To enable competitiveness in sailing

The Fund will award grants based on the merit of the application towards the cost of:

  • Courses/training to improve sailing skills, the entry costs of competing in major national events
  • Participating in sailing 'experiences' eg Tall Ships, Cowes Junior week etc.
  • Applications for funds are welcome from any young ESC members up to the age of 24. Applications can be submitted to the ESC office at any time of the year. There is no limitation to the amount of money that can be applied for. See below for the Blake Fund application form.

    The Blake Fund for Young Sailors. 50:50 Lottery

    A vital role of the Blake Fund is to raise funds so that awards can be granted to ESC junior sailors. Since 2002, the Blake Fund has given over £19,000 to 90 ESC Junior sailors. For the list of award winners, see below.

    In addition to various fundraising activities throughout the year, there is a 50:50 lottery with a monthly draw to raise money for the fund. All ESC members are encouraged to join the lottery and support our junior sailors. See Blake Lottery Information below for more information.

    We are pleased to welcome the following members who will take over the organisation of the Fund from Tom Hulton in April 2021.

    Douglas Peniston has been a member of the Club since the 1970s and has raced at all levels from Club racing to international regattas, in both dinghies and keelboats. Having seen first-hand the benefits to young people of coaching, training and taking part in a variety of sailing events, he hopes to be able to help the Blake Fund make sure that others have these same opportunities. Douglas says "In the 70's, towing the family's Mirror dinghies to Mengham (behind the original Escort) was adventure enough - now we need organisations like the Blake Fund so that our junior members can benefit from the wider opportunities available".

    Marcus Lawson will be a familiar name to many as a former Commodore and longstanding active member of the Club. His children grew up at the Club and participated in Martlets and junior racing. Both girls competed nationally and internationally, with the youngest as part of the RYA GBR teams in Optimists and 420s alongside another Club member who crewed for her. Marcus says "As a beneficiary of grant funding from the Blake Fund, it is a logical step for me to join the team and help continue its support of our juniors and young members".

    Barbara Langford joined ESC in 1980 and as a teenager helmed in her Topper and caught crewing lifts in other dinghies. She has raced both nationally and internationally, in team racing and in dinghies, day boats and yachts. She would love the Club's juniors to be able to widen their horizons and have sailing experiences that they wouldn't normally participate in (Cowes week, Tallships, Fastnet etc) and hopes that the Blake Fund can facilitate this.

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