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Cowes Small Ships Race 2017 James M Pilgrim Social Res 5468

This year's race was very windy with strong tides, making for a fast and exciting race. The fleet headed through the forts and towards Bembridge Ledge before returning to finish off Cowes. 22 vessels were entered although only 20 competed. Newcomers included Ocean Youth Trust South's new vessel Prolific, and the Sea Cadets' new yacht City of London. As in the last few years, Spirit of Scott Bader competed in a class of their own, with people with various disabilities on board. Full Race Results can be found here, pictures of the race here and pictures of the prize giving here.

ASTO would like to thank the Royal London Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron for their support in organising this race, as well as Cowes Yacht Haven for the venue. Several Isle of Wight organisations provide funding for young people to take part. If you are involved with a youth organisation or school on the Island, and would like to take part next year, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

126 days after having set sail from Largs on the West coast of Scotland, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust Round Britain 2017 Voyage were welcomed back to their starting point today by an ecstatic host of friends, family and supporters as they completed their circumnavigation of the British Isles.

Since the voyage began on 20 May, over 125 young people in recovery from cancer from across the UK have been involved in the project, covering 2,206 nautical miles in 17 legs

CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, Frank Fletcher, said: "It is with huge pride that I stand up here today and welcome home Moonspray [the voyage yacht]. This summer, the Trust has taken over 550 young people sailing from around the UK of which Round Britain has played a huge part. The achievements and future potential of every single one of those young people continues to inspire me. To watch this voyage touch so many people around the UK and to see the combined achievements of this Trust crew has been amazing."

Celebrations over the Round Britain 2017 finish line © OnEdition

The final leg of the voyage left Belfast on Tuesday 19 September with a night stop in Glenarm, Northern Ireland, before making the last major passage of the voyage, across the Northern Channel to Scotland.

Stavros S Niarchos

The Tall Ships Youth Trust have announced that their 60 m Brig, Stavros S Niarchos, is to be put up for auction in September. A statement from the Trust says; 'This is is a sad moment for everybody, but delivering our mission to help disadvantaged young people is no longer achievable with the Stavros. We want to replace her with a more cost-effective and affordable ship.'

'C.W. Kellock & Co. Ltd, a London based shipbroker with nearly 200 years of experience, has been appointed to run a public closed bid auction that finishes on 20th September. With their expertise, we are confident that this option will produce the very best outcome for the Trust.'

Details of the auction are on  There is no reserve price, although those that can't wait can buy the ship now for £ 3.5 Million.


     YoungPeoplemeetforthefirst timeS
Photo: Young people meet for the first time before the start of the Tall Ships Race

Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship is set to return back to Cardiff after her biggest adventure yet after sailing over 4,000 miles this summer, crewed by mainly Welsh young people, and having represented Wales and the UK in one of the largest youth and cultural events in Europe.

After being away from Cardiff for almost 80 days she is set to return to her home port on Friday 25th August, just in time for being a feature boat at the Cardiff Harbour Festival on the Bank Holiday August weekend.

Photo: Challenge Wales racing in Finland

During her travels she visited no fewer than 11 countries, including Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Holland and 35 different ports. She motored through 3 canals, welcomed 10 different nationalities onboard and encountered wind speeds from a frustrating 0 knots to an exhilarating 42 knots.

The entire journey had different young people onboard, many of them from Wales with voyages ranging from 8 to 14 days. And, the Challenge Wales volunteer crew donated over 9,000 hours of their time to sail the boat, and mentor the young people, on this epic adventure.

Patron on boardpouring the bubbly

THE Countess of Wessex officially relaunched a sailing smack just a stone's throw from where it was first built 124 years ago.

Her Royal Highness poured a bottle over Priscilla's bows at Brightlingsea hard on Thursday afternoon following a major restoration project.

Apprentice shipwrights have spent four years restoring the smack, which is part of Essex’s fishing heritage and the oldest surviving vessel to be built by the Stone Brothers boat yard in 1893.

The 36ft sailing smack will be used by the Pioneer Trust for training, and also for private hire for smack races and local regattas.

The Countess of Wessex is patron of the Association of Sail Training Organisations which helped to stage the launch event.

The Pioneer Trust received £790,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a wider project which included the Priscilla restoration and other schemes. Ops manager Felicity Lees said: "The project was over nearly four years, with two boat rebuilds, including Priscilla which was the bigger one.We did quite a lot of other things as well and this is now the end of the project."

The trust was originally set up to restore the Essex smack Pioneer, which was built in 1864 and rescued from the mud at West Mersea in 1998. It is now used to train people how to sail.

Felicity said: "Apart from the Pioneer launch back in 2003, this is the biggest thing we have done. It's been a pretty major project and probably took about four years by the time we finished it. We have had lots and lots of apprentices working on it over the past few years. Our remit was 15 apprentices but there has been a lot more than that."

A smaller boat called Trinity House has also been restored as part of the project.

Felicity added: "There aren't many opportunities to learn how to sail a smack, but now you will be able to learn to sail a gaff rig boat on Priscilla at a reasonable price. Priscilla is only half the size of Pioneer so you get a real feel of being able to sail her yourself because you only need a couple of people rather than a team. She was the last smack to come out of Stone's Boatyard so she is historically significant to the area. When we relaunch her it will be just a stone's throw away from where she was originally built."

(adapted from the Clacton Gazette, 26th June 2017)

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