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ASTO and Sailonline.org are delighted to announce that competitors will be able to take part in the virtual Small Ships Race next Saturday, 3rd October 2020.

The ASTO Small Ships Race is the annual end-of-season event for UK Sail Training vessels, who take young people from all backgrounds to sea for challenge and adventure. The event usually sees around 25 vessels, crewed by school and youth groups, sail around the cans in the Solent. 250 young people, most of whom have not sailed before, compete against each other in a race that involves not only sailing but lots of singing, dancing, water fights, and general good fun. Prizes for the Small Ships Race include not only those for the fastest boat but also for youngest aged crew and the highly coveted Richard Langhorn trophy for the vessel that best represents the Spirit of the Race. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, very few vessels are able to sail this year, which has prompted ASTO to enlist the help of virtual sailing experts Sailonline.org

Lucy Grodie, General Manager of ASTO says: ‘I am delighted at the enthusiasm with which Sailonline have embraced our race. UK Sail Training is a tightly knit community, and we did not want those Skippers and Crews who can’t be on the water due to social distancing restrictions, to feel left out. The virtual Small Ships Race from Sailonline will enable them to compete alongside the real vessels and be part of the atmosphere in what is usually a highlight of the Sail Training season.’
Taking part in the virtual Small Ships Race is free, and a chat function allows you to replicate some of the camaraderie from the real event. Practice racing will open in the next few days.

UK Sail Training vessels, most of whom are run by charities, have been unable to sail this summer due to coronavirus restrictions. However, all the organisations are putting in place appropriate measures and are looking forward to taking thousands of young people to sea again in 2021, to teach them about resilience, self-confidence, and the value of teamwork. For more about Sail Training and how your young people can get involved, go to www.uksailtraining.org

Sailonline is a non-profit, non-commercial sail-racing navigation simulation run entirely by volunteers. All races are free and each SOLer (one who sails on Sailonline) gets exactly the same boat. The challenge is navigating through the weather. Sailonline uses almost real-time weather downloaded from NOAA and the boat physics are considered to be the most life-like of any online simulation. For more details and to take part in races go to www.sailonline.org

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