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Lewis Haig OYT PressLewis Haig RYA Yachtmaster of the Year 2018

(edited from the RYA press release)

Young Scotsman, Lewis Haig, has been named as the recipient of the RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year award 2018, for his exceptional demonstration of sailing skills during his RYA Yachtmaster™ certificate of competence exam.

19-year-old, Lewis was presented with the prestigious trophy by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, earlier today (Tuesday 16 July), at the Royal Institute of Navigation, AGM and Annual Meeting, in London.

Speaking after the presentation, Lewis commented: “I still can’t believe it, considering that just two years ago my knowledge of boats and sailing was practically nothing. To have been chosen as RYA Yachtmaster™ of the Year is absolutely incredible and a huge honour. I never anticipated achieving something like this.”

RYA Director of Training and Qualifications, Richard Falk, said: “This is an outstanding achievement and one Lewis should be very proud of. There were more than 3,000 people who undertook the exam for the RYA Yachtmaster™ certificate of competence last year - the calibre was extremely high - but Lewis’ remarkable skills, knowledge and enthusiasm shone through.”

The first time Lewis set foot on a boat was through a school trip with ASTO member Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. It sparked a love of sailing and a long-term career path that he never saw coming. Lewis continued sailing with OYT, volunteering and eventually going on to gain a place on their cadet training programme in 2017. He then worked his way up through the RYA Yachtmaster™ scheme, achieving his RYA Day Skipper and RYA Coastal Skipper qualifications, before sitting his exam for RYA Yachtmaster™ Sail in October 2018.

Lewis was able to complete his training courses with funding from the Trinity House bursary. He was also selected to take part in the International Exchange in 2018, sailing for two weeks on board the Australian Tall Ship Young Endeavour. Both the bursary and the exchange are administered by ASTO. 

Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle to Arrive in Portsmouth, England
– Public Invited to Take Free Tours –
Image Lucy Grodie from ASTO (UK Sail Training) hoisting the British courtesy flag.

The Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” is scheduled to arrive in Portsmouth, England on April 26, 2019 at 11am. Eagle will moor up for 05 days at South Railway Jetty and will be open for free public tours on Saturday, 27 April and Sunday, 28 April. South Railway Jetty is located at Portsmouth Harbor.

Barque Eagle will be open for free public tours on the following dates and times:

• Saturday, April 27: 1000 - 1200 for first responders, military, and government officials; 1100 - 1900 for the public
• Sunday, April 28: 1000 - 1200 for first responders, military, and government officials; 1000 - 1900 for the public

At 90 meters (295 feet) in length, Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the stars and stripes and the only active square-rigger in United States government service. Constructed in 1936 by the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, and originally commissioned as the Horst Wessel by the German Navy, Eagle was a war reparation for the United States following World War II. Eagle is a three-masted barque with more than 6,797 square meters (22,300 square feet) of sail and 9.7 kilometers (6 miles) of rigging, Eagle has served as a classroom at sea to future Coast Guard officers since 1946, offering an at-sea leadership and professional development experience as part of the Coast Guard Academy and Officer Candidate School curriculum.


ASTO conference 2019 058 credit ASTO Max Mudie resize

(pictured, from left: Morning Star Trust Executive Director Alex Coakley, Morning Star Skipper Toby Humphreys, and CEO of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Brian Johnson)


Morning Star awarded Maritime and Coastguard Agency Sail Training Vessel of the Year

Chatham, Kent.

After another busy year of innovative “youth work at sea” voyages with young people, the Chatham based Morning Star Trust’s flagship ‘Morning Star of Revelation’, has been awarded the prestigious MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) and ASTO (Association of Sail Training Organisations) Sail Training Vessel of the Year 2018.

This national award is given to the vessel in the UK Sail Training Fleet judged to have best met and/or exceeded the safety, good management and seamanship requirements of the MCA, whilst delivering the highest quality sail training voyages for young people.

“This is a testament to the hard work the team have put into providing the very best service to the young people of Kent and Medway,” explains the Executive Director, Alex Coakley. “We are delighted and honoured to have been presented with this award, which recognises the dedication of our staff, many volunteers and Morning Star’s excellent safety record”.

Launched in 1978, the 62-foot gaff ketch Morning Star is the oldest purpose-built sail training vessel in the UK and has been based in the Medway for her whole life. Currently operating from Chatham Maritime, MST offers voyages aboard Morning Star and her smaller sister Bright Star around the South and East coasts of England during term time. Going further afield in the summer, Morning Star competes in the international Tall Ships Races.

Morning Star’s skipper Toby Humphreys said, “we work with young people and vulnerable adults from all walks of life. From school, scout and church youth groups to young carers, youth offenders, or those struggling with homelessness, residential voyages aboard these vessels offers an incredible opportunity for life-changing adventure. Our unique approach mixes the hands-on challenge of learning to sail a traditional vessel with the opportunity to take time to reflect on life, all whilst learning confidence, communication and resilience.”

MST has spaces in its 2019 and 2020 programmes for individuals, and welcomes the opportunity to develop bespoke voyages with groups. Bursaries may be available for those who would otherwise not be able to access this experience.

Morning Star Trust is a Christian Charity based in Chatham Historic Dockyard (charity no. 328320). The organisation is passionate about inspiring young people to live life to the full no matter what their background. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Nominate a young person for an amazing free 5- night sea voyage with the Ocean Youth Trust South!

at the helm


Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) run the Poole Harbour Boat Show (PHBS) and have chosen Ocean Youth Trust South (OYT South) as their charity partner of the year for the 2019 Poole Harbour Boat Show. As part of the charitable partnership they are offering 12 lucky local young people the opportunity to participate in a free 5- night voyage on the sail training vessel Prolific between 21st – 26th August 2019. Entries are now open and organisers are urging the local community to get involved and to get nominating young people aged 12 – 18 years in Dorset!

Poole Harbour Boat Show Marketing Director Tracy Payne advised, “This will provide an amazing and potentially life changing opportunity for a young person in Dorset. It could be anyone! It might be someone that you feel wouldn’t normally have access to an incredible opportunity like this. It could be someone who’s doing well at school, it might be a young carer or simply someone that you think deserves a treat. We want you to tell us the reason why they should be chosen for this incredible experience! Nominating a young person could provide a fantastic introduction for them in to the marine sector, opening up all sorts of possibilities and opportunities for the future. The nominations process is now open and it’s easy to do. Simply visit and fill in our online form.

smallASTO Small Ships race Cowes 2018 0419 credit Max Mudie ASTO

In between the thick fog and the gale-force winds the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) managed to fit in its 15th annual Small Ships Race on Saturday.

This Cowes based event, on the first Saturday every October, saw 22 sailing vessels crewed by 190 trainees aged between 12 and 24 race West from the Royal Yacht Squadron start line, down to Lymington, and back. Fresh North Westerly winds made for some active sailing.

New additions to the fleet this year were the ferro-cement ketch Tenacity of Bolton and the junk rigged wooden yacht Boleh. Both had young people from the Isle of Wight on board, as did UKSA Ambition.

At the prize giving ASTO Chairman James Stevens said: “The wind today was Force 6 and sailing in that is an achievement; huge thanks to the Skippers and Mates for getting you all back safe”. This prompted a very loud cheer from all the trainees in the room.

Winners in Class D for boats flying spinnakers were the yacht Amaryllis, crewed by the Combined Cadet Force. Class C2 was won by Solent Hero, from the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, based in Cowes; class C1 was won by Rona II, who also won overall. Class B winner (gaff rigged vessels) was the ketch Maybe, crewed by cadets from the Trinity House Academy, who also wore the smartest uniforms at the prize giving.

The Richard Langhorn trophy, which is voted for by all vessels who take part and is for the ‘spirit of the race’, was won by the all girl crew of Merrilyn from the Rona Sailing Project in Hamble: when not dancing to ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’, they lined up on the side deck of their ketch and sang when any other boat got near enough to hear them.

As a backdrop to all this Small Ships sailing, 3 masted barques Lord Nelson and Tenacious operated by Southampton charity the Jubilee Sailing Trust, started their first ever Cator Trophy in the same waters. And if there weren’t enough Tall Ships to be seen under sail, they were joined by the Sea Cadet brig Royalist which chased them down the Solent and out past the Needles lighthouse.

Full race results are at 

ASTO is always looking for more young people from the Isle of Wight to take part. If you work with a local school or youth group that would love the opportunity, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Alba crew waving

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