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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."

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

A REPLICA of a Thames Sailing Barge is soon to be based in Maldon.
The Blue Mermaid replica, which was officially launched on Tuesday, May 31, will be housed in Maldon Hythe Quay.

The original Blue Mermaid was built in 1930 but was lost during World War Two.
The replica was commissioned by the Sea-Change Sailing Trust as part of their Youth Sailing Scheme.
The launch was attended by Hilary Halajko and Richard Titchener, who run Sea-Change.
Speaking after the launch of the boat, Hilary said: "Today marks a landmark moment in our ambitions to get a new Thames barge into operation.
"We have £150,000 left to raise to get the barge finished once she gets to Essex and if we are successful we hope that ‘Blue Mermaid’ will enter service during 2017”.
The boat was launched in Cornwall, where it was built by C Toms & Sons boat builders.
Blue Mermaid will be towed up the English Channel to Maldon.
The barge will be used by the trust to teach young people traditional sailing skills.

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)

"Enjoy the experience, because it will be VERY different."

That was the message from Princess Anne as she visited Sunderland today ahead of the Tall Ships Races' visit to Sunderland in 2018. The Princess Royal told an audience at Sunderland's National Glass Centre she was 'amazed' the city had not hosted the event before.

"The Tall Ships have a way of attracting very large numbers of people," she said. "So it is entirely proper that you should have it here in Sunderland I am amazed you have not had it before.

"I am sure you will make the best possible use of the event."

The Princess' visit was a very special event for brothers Kieran Boyce and Saul Cranston.

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