Tenth North Sails Golf Day raises a record amount of £17,025 for the John Merricks Sailing Trust 30/10/06

A gloriously sunny and unseasonably warm morning greeted the 90 golfers who turned out for the tenth North Sails Golf Day on Friday 27 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 10 years ago the Golf Day has raised £98,764.

This fantastic event always draws the support of former colleagues and friends of John’s, Olympic medallists, America’s 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.

Ian Walker, double Olympic silver medallist, remarked: “To raise so much money for such a good cause whilst having such a good time is a potent mix. The only thing we lacked was any ability with a golf club in hand! Thank you to everyone for supporting the day.”

Olympic Medallists Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb made an impact on the course with their new team mate Pippa Wilson and together they presented all the prizes at the end of play.

Winner of the day Rob Wilson, World Ranking Tornado Sailor, member of Team GBR at Athens Olympics and GBR Performance Squad for 2008 said: “John was a good friend and an inspiration to me, he had a huge natural ability as well as a great balance between professionalism and enjoyment.” Rob scored 48 Stableford points off his 28 handicap leaving Nick Dempsey, Olympic Bronze Medallist windsurfer, a close second and Brett Draper and Robin Irving in equal third overall.

Meanwhile Alicia Bennett seized the ladies trophy, a beautiful crystal putter, with 36 points. Perhaps the biggest surprise performance was this year’s Bandit Trophy winner Brett Draper who managed to score 51 points at first off his 26 Handicap which was then changed to 21 leaving him in equal third place overall.

The Cambridge Garage Volvo Longest Drive Competition at the 10th was won easily by last year’s overall winner Hugo Ambrose, no one could even get close to his massive drive, his prize was a Volvo car of his choice for use over a long weekend. The Kaenon Nearest the Pin Competition was won by Philip Allen who received a pair of Kaenon Sunglasses.

A scene of much merriment was the lake outside the clubhouse where Veneziani offered to give a brand new glass bottom boat to anybody who managed to get a ball in the rain pocket of the life raft moored there. As no one achieved this the boat was offered up for auction at the end of the day raising a grand total of £920 from this competition.

Jamie Holmes from the RYA Keelboat Programme gave an informative and amusing presentation on this year’s achievements by the squad members on the Farr 45 ‘John Merricks’. This summer they took their place in history as the fastest ever crew to sail from Gillkicker Point, Portsmouth to Cork, Ireland whilst competing in the inaugural Big V Race, in which the boat took line honours. ‘John Merricks’ and the RYA Keelboat Squad then went on to achieve a 6th out of 28 in the 1,760-mile Round Britain and Ireland Race, an impressive result for such a novice crew.

John Irving of Nautor’s Swan fame performed a marvellous job as auctioneer, coaxing a grand total of £3,765 from bidders in the auction, with his son Robin making up for John not bidding amongst the players!

Richard Matthews of Oyster Marine, generously supported hole 13 which is named after his own boat ‘Oystercatcher’, by putting up £500 for every Birdie on the hole and Ib Andersen from North Sails, who was in the same four ball, matched this generous donation, so this contributed a fantastic £5,000 to the day.”


Men’s Winner – Rob Wilson – North Sails Trophy – £150 pro shop vouches

2nd – Nick Dempsey – £100 pro shop vouchers

3rd = Robin Irving and Brett Draper – £50 pro shop vouchers

Ladies Winner – Alicia Bennett – Crystal Putter and £100 pro shop vouchers

Bandit Trophy – Brett Draper