Who was Eric Twiname?

The Eric Twiname Memorial Trust
Registered Charity No. 1002313

Eric Twiname

Eric Twiname was a rare, exceptional individual – a gifted musician, a prolific writer of books, articles and plays, and above all a superb sailor. Born in 1942 he learned to sail in Cadets on Bassenthwaite Lake in the Lake District, then graduated to GP14s during which time he developed a keen interest in the theory of sailing. Whilst at school he learned to play the piano and cello to a very high standard and also won a flying scholarship which led to him to obtaining a flying licence.

He graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Imperial College where he captained both the University and British Universities Sailing Association teams. After a 5 year spell in the family construction business in the north of England, he made a dramatic career break and returned to London to work as a freelance yachting journalist and writer. At the same time he became a member of the Felixstowe Ferry sailing team which won the Prince Philip team trophy and the European Championship. He won the Sir Ralph Gore trophy in Fireflies, finished consistently well in Firefly and GP14 championships, and was national champion in both the Laser and International Canoe classes.

Eric’s first book ‘Dinghy Team Racing’ is perhaps still the standard work on the subject whilst his ‘Start to Win’, published originally in1973, is an undoubted sailing classic. This was then followed by ‘The Rules Book’, theselatter two publications both being updated and re-published in 2009 to reflect the 2009-2012 ISAF rule changes. Eric was a frequent contributor to the yachting press in Britain and abroad and for a time was editor of “Dinghy International” magazine. Apart from writing a play and several documentaries for BBC Radio, he was also one of the pioneer commentators on outside TV sailing broadcasts, including the 1976 Olympic Games. He had a profound influence on the administration of sailing, especially in the area of the Racing Rules, and acted as advisor to the British Olympic team at the 1976 Olympic Games as well as serving on the RYA racing rules committee. He was very much in demand as a lecturer to sailing clubs and spent considerable time teaching and coaching young racing dinghy sailors in the UK and abroad.

The Eric Twiname Memorial Trust

The Trust was set up in an informal way in 1980 by Eric's father in order to perpetuate Eric's memory and to enable his many and divers sailing interests to continue.  At first the Trust responded to calls for funding in many areas, including round the world yachtsmen, disables sailors and Olympic campaigns.  However, a more formal approach emerged with the formation of a Charitable Trust in 1980, with the concentration on youth saling, and especially racing.  Since its inception the Trust has provided over £¾m for deserving causes.

The finances of the Trust and the designation of funds are run by a small team of Trustees, most of whom are keen sailors. Overheads are minimal and the income from the capital is always put to optimum effect. Additional revenue is derived from fundraising events and private donations. 

Donations to the Trust

All donations, whether from individuals or from organisations, are warmly welcomed.  As a charity the Trust is able to reclaim basic rate income tax on subins and donations paid under Deed of Covenant or Gift Aid.  This means that the Trust is an ideal method for individulas and businesses to support youths ailing in a highly tax efficient an tax deuctible way.

Eligibility for grants

Beneficiaries should be young people, the objects of the Trust being to assist in the organisation and provision of facilitis which will enable and encourage pupils of schools and universities in the United Kingdon to sail or yacht race, or to participate in any activity associated soley with yachting.  In following these objectives the Trust provides much needed money for deserving causes who might otherwise be unable to fulfil their ambitions - whether it be assiting clubs to purchase boats, or providing the means to assist in the organisation of an event.  The Trust's philosphy is alwyas to maximise the benefits of their funding for as many young sailors as possible and to ensure it has a long lasting benefit.

Sympathetic consideration is always given to applications that would not attract sponsorship or aid from bodies such the Sports Council or the RYA. Over the years the Trust have helped a great number of young sailors and it is most encouraging to see some who first appeared on Optimist courses or at regional finals sailing at national or international events and even being selected for the Olympics (Ben Ainslie being one notable example).

Information is given on our website www.erictwinametrust.org about how to make an application. The following are just some of the causes which have been supported in the past and/ or are assisted on an ongoing basis:

The RYA Eric Twiname Junior Championship: the Trust is the title sponsor for this premier national event for Juniors (16-year-olds; pre-Youth) and there are no entry fees. It is one of the largest annual sailing events in the calendar for regional teams in Optimists, Toppers, Cadets and Bic Techno Windsurfers.


The RYA Eric Twiname Youth & Junior National Team Racing Championship: the Trust is the lead sponsor for this highly successful annual team racing event which attracts young sailors from a broad spectrum of the sailing community, with an overall entry of some 50 teams, representing most youth and junior classes. 


Optimist Bursaries: financial help is given to financially disadvantaged youngsters to attend the well-known Easter and Summer courses at Papercourt Sailing Club.


Support Boats:all nine youth classes have received brand new RIBs, outboards and trailers as support boats, these being replaced on a rolling programme. To date twenty five such outfits have been purchased.


Fevas: two fleets of Fevas have been donated by the Trust – one to Spinnaker Yacht Club, Romsey and the other to West Kirby Sailing Club for use by the RYA’s Team Racing Academy. These boats are loaned to clubs and schools for team racing and other activities.


Provision of Boats: grants have been given (mostly to clubs) for the purchase, since the Trust’s inception, of some 50 dinghies and windsurfers, including Toppers, Cadets, Laser Picos, RS Teras & Q’Bas, 420s, Optimists and Fireflies.  

Trustees: Hazel Twiname (Patron), Peter Whipp (Chairman), Bruce Aitken (Secretary),
 Duncan Truswell, Jim Kirkpatrick, John Reed, Bryan Willis
For further information, for applications for financial aid, or for contributions to the Trust, please contact: Bruce Aitken (Secretary) , The Eric Twiname Trust,
26 Ashcombe Avenue, Southborough, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 6QA.  
E Mail: bruce8ken@btinternet.com   Tel: 07767 262561


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