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ASTO reception Sunderland 090 resize credit ASTO Max Mudie credit ASTO Max MudieBenefits of Sail Training for young people showcased to north-east youth organisations


Representatives from educational organisations across the north-east attended a reception aboard the Sail Training vessel TS Royalist in Sunderland yesterday (Thursday 12 July), two days ahead of the start of Race 1 of The Tall Ships Races 2018 to Esbjerg, Denmark. Hosted by the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) – the umbrella body for Sail Training vessels in the UK – representatives from ASTO, their local members OceanYouth Trust North and Maybe Sailing, and Skippers of some of the nine ASTO vessels gathered in Sunderland for the race joined local invited guests for an exclusive reception aboard the four year-old brig operated by the Marine Society & Sea Cadets.

With an emphasis on promoting year-round opportunities for young people, ASTO was able to showcase to educational organisations how the challenging and adventurous activities of Sail Training can be pivotal in developing skills such as teamwork and leadership. The reception also provided an opportunity to highlight the fact that not all vessels competing in Tall Ships Races are tall ships; many are large yachts that have been specially adapted to offer life changing experiences for young people. A total of nine ASTO member vessels with 133 young people on board, including eight ASTO-sponsored trainees, are taking part in the North Sea race that starts from Sunderland on Saturday.

On the success of the reception aboard TS Royalist, Lucy Gross, ASTO General Manager, said: “The Tall Ships Races are a fantastic opportunity for young people from all sorts of backgrounds. Sail Training is a great way of learning about communication, leadership and resilience and the young people taking part will come back more confident and with a sense of achievement. But Sail Training doesn't just happen during the Tall Ships Races, the UK Sail Training fleet runs voyages all year round that any young person can benefit from. We've hosted this reception to make more youth organisations aware of the opportunities and to put them in touch directly with the ships.”

Skipper Steve Burgess from Rona Sailing Project, commenting on what the three ASTO bursary-funded crew members on board are likely to experience when they set sail on Saturday, said: "In common with all race crews, Rona II trainees will face a number of challenges. Whatever the conditions, they’ll be sharing a 21m yacht with 22 other people. The experience of living and working together will set them up for whatever they face in the future. They’ll always remember it, alongside the significant international friendship of a Tall Ships Race."

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