Organised by Gosport-based charity Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO), the Small Ships Race brings many different Sail Training vessels together for this 1 day event. Like the big tall ships races half the crew have to be under 25 years of age.
While the UK fleet of tall ships includes such big beasts as the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s ‘Tenacious’ (currently in Australia) and the Sea Cadets’ new brig ‘Royalist’, this race is especially aimed at the smaller members: it will see classic pilot cutters such as ‘Jolie Brise’ race classic yachts like ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ and modern glass fibre ketches.
Local island youngsters will be on 5 of the 26 vessels taking part: small tall ship ‘Caroline Allen’ will have a crew from Cowes Sea Cadets; big wooden gaff ketch’Tectona’ will have students from the Isle of Wight College on board; yacht ‘Alexander Fairey’ will be crewed by a group from the Challenge & Adventure charity based in Newport; 2 UKSA yachts will sail with 10 Island youngsters and Cowes-based charity The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust will be on their yacht ‘Moonspray’.
The crew that has come the furthest to take part are probably those on yacht ‘Scarmouche’ from Greig City Academy based in Tottenham, London.
The best place to catch the action is from in front of the Royal Yacht Squadron on Saturday at 09:15, when the entire fleet will parade past before the start at 10:30.
Featured photo: Max Mudie/ASTO