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ASTO Cowes Small Ships race 2016 BGN 0386 websize

The annual ASTO Cowes Small Ships race saw its 13th start off Cowes on Saturday. This is a race for Sail Training vessels, with 5 different classes, and boats made from wood, steel, glass fibre and concrete and rigs including Bermudan, ketch, cutter - and even a catamaran.
The race start, off the Royal Yacht Squadron, was delayed by the passage of some large commercial traffic, by which time the wind, nonexistent during the parade past the Squadron platform, and some monsoon-like rain storms, had changed for sunshine and a light breeze.
This breeze varied in strength and had almost eased off by the time the fleet had reached the Eastern Solent but then strengthened as they passed through the forts off Portsmouth. It stayed strong for the beat back up to Cowes with some very exciting sailing especially in Osborne Bay. At one point a squall strong enough to make the surface of the sea turn white pushed through some of the competitors.
After the race ASTO Chairman James Stevens said: “it is a tribute to the Captains and crews of these vessels that during weather that included gale-force gusts they kept their trainees safe”
Winner in class B and overall was Hamble-based Jolie Brise, operated by Dauntsey’s School in Devon. Yoda – from the Portsmouth Sail Training Trust was first in class C2 and Scaramouche, crewed by youngsters from the Greig City Academy in Tottenham, London, came first in class D.
And because this race is as much about taking part as the actual racing, the Richard Langhorn trophy – awarded on votes from the rest of the fleet for the vessel that best represents the spirit of the race – went to the Sea Cadet yacht T.S. Vigilant, who also came first in Class C1: in a mammoth baking session they titled the Great British Sail Off and using the small oven onboard their vessel, they somehow managed to create over 300 cupcakes to give to all the other crews.

ASTO Cowes Small Ships race 2016 BGN 0995 websize

Full race results are listed here:

Lots more pictures are online on Facebook.

IYFR Trophy 1

The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) Disability Trophy was awarded to the [ASTO Member] Gwennili Trust on Friday 23 September at the Southampton Boat Show.

Presented for the very first time in the UK, the award recognises and promotes the inclusion of disabled sailors in two of the world’s largest yacht races, the Barcolona in Trieste, Italy and the Round the Island Race in Cowes.

The trophy was presented by Tullio Giraldi, Commodore of the High Adriatic Fleet, in the RYA Members’ Lounge at Southampton Boat Show. Tullio started the presentation by explaining the history behind the award: “The two yacht races believed to have the largest entry worldwide are the Round the Island Race organised by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes (GBR) and the Barcolana Race in Trieste (ITA).

“Five years ago, the Fleet of Alto Adriatico of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR) presented a trophy to the Società Velica di Barcola e Grignano, the club organising Barcolana in Trieste, to be awarded to the first yacht classified with at least one disabled sailor on board. Rotarian boat owners are encouraged to increase the number of boats with disabled sailors entering the race.

“We have today presented a similar IYFR trophy to the Commodore of the Island Sailing Club, Mark Wynter, which will be awarded at the Round the Island Race in Cowes, and we were delighted to award the 2016 Commemorative Plate to the Gwennili Trust.”

National charity the Sea Cadets is fundraising £800,000 for two new Sail Training yachts – and it has signed the first contract for a Rustler 42 after successfully raising half of the overall total.

The new yachts will replace the charity’s current Tradewind 35 yachts after 16 years of service. The boats have taken 4,600 young people on coastal and offshore trips.

Sea Cadets spent a year raising £400,000, to replace one of the two yachts, and got there thanks to generous support from the City of London’s Lord Mayor Appeal.
Local cadets from Falmouth & Penryn unit were present to witness the contract signing by Sea Cadets CEO Martin Coles and head of offshore training Andy Phenna, with Rustler Yachts directors Adrian Jones and Nick Offord.

Martin Coles said: “Upgrading our yachts is vital – without modern equipment we limit our efforts to inspire, to boost young people’s confidence through access to skills and experiences that can help define them and their futures.

“These Rustler 42 yachts mean we can take more young people to sea – helping more to a great head start in life with a range of skills as well as an unforgettable, life changing experience.”

The new yachts are bigger than the Tradewinds 35s, meaning the charity can help more cadets get afloat. The yachts will be part of the Sea Cadet fleet of its flagship TS Royalist, a 29m tall ship, and TS Jack Petchey and TS John Jerwood, two motor boats.

Adrian Jones of Rustler Yachts said: “It has been a privilege to have worked on this project. Rustler Yachts are delighted to have been chosen to build two very special new yachts for the Sea Cadets.”


(taken from

ASTO Dartmouth Gosport Race start 592 websize

Almost 180 young people from all over the UK were welcomed to Gosport at the end of the ASTO Dartmouth to Gosport Small Ships Race which took place between Monday 22 and Wednesday 24 August.

The 21 teams taking part paraded through Gosport after being welcomed to the coastal town by Gosport Mayor Cllr Lynn Hook, who told the crews it was a “huge achievement” to sail overnight from Dartmouth to Gosport. She said Gosport was “incredibly proud” to host all the young crews who include a group of young carers from Devon funded by the Royal Dart Yacht Club and a team of blind and visually impaired youngsters from the MACS charity.

General Manager of ASTO, Lucy Gross, said: “I am really pleased that the Dartmouth to Gosport race has been such a success. Young people from a wide variety of backgrounds sailing together in such a diverse fleet shows that taking part in adventurous Sail Training is for everyone.”

ASTO Chairman James Stevens: "An offshore sailing race is a huge achievement for these young people, many of whom had never sailed before they joined the yachts in Dartmouth. You could see the mixture of relief and exuberance as the celebrated in Gosport. I am sure they will all remember this experience for the rest of their lives."

At the recent Captains Dinner before the start of the Tall Ships Races, Ian Lerner, Captain of Ocean Spirit of Moray, confirmed how relevant Sail Training is in today's world.

Ian spoke about the impact that Sail Training has on young people:

“I have been lucky enough to have spent the last 30 years on sail training ships and the last 21 years running Ocean Spirit.

“Whilst fundamentally young people haven’t really changed that much over the years, society has. The distractions of modern life make it easier than ever for young people to avoid the kind of essential experiences that we all know help to develop the character and resilience so necessary to become good citizens in an ever changing world.

“Sail training provides opportunities for young people from all backgrounds to find out about themselves and what is really important in life. It helps them to realize that its people not things that matter, and that sometimes the most significant lesson in life is to have the confidence to just be yourself.

"And all this comes from our encounters with the sea in ships that need people to sail them, people who must work together and overcome many challenges to get the boat safely to their destination. Being at sea and learning to put the ship and their shipmates before themselves is perhaps not always something that comes naturally to our trainees, but we all know that the common bond that is formed amongst young people when they face the oceans can be a life changing experience, and we know it works not because they have seen it on YouTube, but because it is real.

"Back in the 1960’s Kurt Hahn famously said that the Moray Firth was his best school teacher, and I believe that today more than ever we need young people who have the self-belief and determination to take charge of our world in the future. From my perspective the more of them that have seen life from the deck of a ship and pulled on a rope with others, the brighter our future will be."


(speech text from the Sail Training International website)

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