A YOUNG sailor is set to expand his horizons after being awarded a new boat in celebration of his talent.

Toby Waggett – a junior member of Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club – is one of 13 promising sailors and windsurfers from across the UK who have been given exclusive use of their own boat or board for the next two years thanks to a partnership between the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST) and the Royal Yachting Association’s OnBoard scheme for young people.

Toby, who has been awarded an Optimist racing dinghy, learnt how to sail at Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club and has always had to borrow a second-hand club boat.

Having his own boat will now enable him to take his sailing to the next level.

His Mother, Deborah Waggett said: "He was so excited when he read the mail telling him about it. We would like to say a big thank you to the John Merricks Sailing Trust for providing Toby with this boat to help him along his sailing career and to give him the opportunity to progress.”

Toby competes at the club and further afield, recently winning the Optimist regatta fleet at the British Youth Sailing North Junior Championships at Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club.

The nine-year-old Eggleston resident said it was his dream to one day be a part of the British Sailing Team, he said: “I am so happy I have a new boat – it means I can go on and compete in many competitions. I want to be in the top 20 of the Optimist national fleet by 2021 and then go on to be in Team GBR or The America’s Cup when I am old enough.”

Tony Merry and Imogen Clay, of Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club nominated Toby for the award, said: "Toby is making excellent progress and having attended many regattas and training sessions away from the club he is becoming a formidable competitor.”