UK Sailing Academy – Afinal home for the Association’s remaining funds

July 7, 2024

UK Sailing Academy, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Many Old Boys will recall that, at our last formal reunion in 2018, it was agreed that our surplus funds, around £12,000, would be offered to the Parish of Hamble-le-Rice to maintain our memorials.  Unfortunately, unexpected bureaucracy made it impossible to find a place where this money could be set aside for that specific purpose.

The Committee then approached the local Sea Scout unit, with which we had close links, to offer them this money.  This was well received as they were looking for a yacht to provide advanced sail training.  On this basis, we gave our funds to them.  A year later it was found that, unfortunately this boat, named Spirit of Mercury, could not be used as anticipated and had been sold. Our donation was, however, returned in full.  This was, of course, a big disappointment.

Last year our small committee, which has continued to administer the affair of the former Association, after much deliberation, found an organisation that, in today’s very different world, is as close as possible to the objectives of Mercury. This is the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.  The Academy, which was already known to me, is an established charity with two strings to its bow.  The first is to provide opportunities for young people to experience waterborne activities such as sailing, kayaking and rowing.  For of the boys and girls this is often their first opportunity and, where necessary, sponsorship can be found. The courses last from one day to a week. The second string is to train mature students who are seeking a career at sea in the large yacht sector, where the owners need a variety of skilled people up to the master. That sector is an expanding source of employment and young people are trained in navigation and seamanship, engineering, or hotel services.  At the end of this the Academy helps them find positions.  It is an excellent choice for any young person seeking career at sea.  They also provide on-going training towards advancing their qualifications.  More information can be found on their website:

With our funds we have been able to cover the costs of three Fushion double or single handed sailing dinghies, which are ideal for basic training along with two kayaks.  The Academy is delighted by this donation and four old boys – Richard Briggs, David Hathorn, David Sayer and me, along with our wives, visited the Academy, on 27th June 2024, to see these in action and tour the facility.  The three dinghies have been named Spirit of Mercury 1, 2 and 3.  The enthusiasm of the children, mature students and staff was inspirational and all of us came away knowing that we had found the best possible use of our funds which are now all but exhausted.

As long as we can do so, we will ensure that our website is maintained and that a wreath is laid at our memorial in St. Andrews churchyard in Hamble, each Remembrance Sunday. 

David Parsons, Former Chairman, MOBA

Sue Hathorn, Nancy Parsons, David Parsons, David Hathorn, David & Marjorie Sayer, Richard & Arbi Briggs