Small Ships Races



No Images


No Images


No Images

ASTO have been invited to organise a short event in Torbay, to celebrate the start of the transatlantic Tall Ships Regatta in April 2017. 6 to 8 vessels are expected to take part in this short round the cans race, supported by Tor Bay Harbour and the Royal Torbay Yacht Club.  

Confirmed dates are

17th April Fleet arrive and berth in Torquay, Skippers Briefing

18th April Practice sailing and round the cans race followed by prize giving

19th April Parade of Sail followed by second round the cans race. Fleet disperse (The start of the Tall Ships Regatta can be watched in the afternoon)


The draft notice of race and event entry form is available on the link to the left. Please conntact ASTO on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in taking part.

The ASTO Small Ships Races are a youth event open to any Sail Training vessels of which at least half the crew is under 25. Small Ships races are run under the rules of Tall Ships Races but with, as the name suggests, some smaller vessels involved (usually under 24 metres long, with up to 16 trainees on board).  The inaugural ASTO Small Ships Race from Weymouth to St. Malo in 2002 was deemed to be a tremendous success by all involved. Since then, host ports have included Ipswich, Delfzijl, Glasgow, Greenock, Belfast, Cowes, Torquay, St. Peter Port, London, Portland and most recently Dartmouth to Gosport. Although these events are termed races, and there is certainly hot competition on the water, the main aim is to bring a range of Sail Training vessels together for their crews to compete, socialise and rise to the challenge of sailing these exciting ships.

ASTO now organises two types of race event: an annual 'round-the-cans' race, and about every 2 years a longer 'passage race' with at least two host ports and a longer stretch of offshore racing. 
In August 2016 the Dartmouth to Gosport Small Ships Race celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Royal Dart Yacht Club.
The 'round-the-cans' Small Ships Race happens on the first weekend in October every year out of Cowes. This short event is extremely popular in the Sail Training world, with up to 30 boats and 350+ people taking part.

Visit the links to the left for information about these events, how to take part and read archive race reports.

Are you Ready....


Cowes 2016 - On Saturday 1st October 2016 the Cowes Small Ships Race took place in the Solent. This annual event is a popular end to the Sail Training season, with up to 30 boats taking part each year. Each of the boats are crewed by young and disabled people, many of whom have never sailed before. While the race is highly competitive, prizes are also awarded for the best dressed crew and the Spirit of the Race. 

The Cowes Small Ships Race is organised by ASTO and aims to publicise the opportunities Sail Training brings, as well as being a fun end to the season for the Skippers and Crews that work so hard to make the experience a life long positive memory for so many young and disadvantaged people each year.

Boats arrive in Cowes on the Friday before the race. The race is always the 1st Saturday in October and they depart on the Sunday.

Congratulations to the 2016 winners:

Class B Jolie Brise

Class C1 TS Vigilant

Class C2 Yoda

Class D Scaramouche


Line Honours Scaramouche (Seven Seas Trophy)

Overall youngest crew TS Caroline Allen (Bloodhound Cup)

Overall winners on corrected time Jolie Brise (Aurora Trophy)

Vessel that best represents the Spirit of the event: TS Vigilant for baking 300 cupcakes for all the participants in their tiny on board oven in batches of 24. (Richard Langhorn Trophy)

Full Race Results are here.

Pictures are online here.  Feel free to use on your own social media. Please contact ASTO if you would like to use them for PR or need them in higher resolution.

The next Cowes Small Ships Race will be on the 7th October 2017.


Cowes Small Ships Races

The first Cowes Small Ships Race happened in 2004 and it has become a very popular event in the Sail Training calendar since. Entries usually number around 25 vessels for the event which now takes place on the first Saturday of October every year. Sail Training vessels aren't the only ones taking part: teams have been entered from the MCA, the Army, and from the 'Captain's Daughters', an informal group that usually volunteer as watchleaders with various Sail Training organisations. The only rule to take part is that half of the crew need to be under 25. 

Participating boats gather in Cowes on Friday afternoon, with a race on the Saturday and prize giving on Saturday evening. For more details please contact ASTO or check the links on the left.




To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Dart Yacht Club.

Organised by ASTO with generous support from












The Dartmouth to Gosport Small Ships Race 2016 brought together Sail Training vessels and young people in friendly competition. 17 vessels took part in the practice race and 19 in the race to Gosport. Stories and pictures from the race can be found on the UK Sail Training facebook page. (You do not need to log in to Facebook to see the pictures). Anyone wanting high resolution pictures or prints please contact ASTO on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Practice race results

Dartmouth to Gosport race results


ASTO would like to thank all supporters of the race, without whom the event would not have been possible. In particular we would like to thank:

Members of the Royal Dart Yacht Club

Dart Harbour Navigation Authority

Hornet Services Sailing Club

Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre

Sea Cadets Offshore

Portsmouth Harbour QHM

Gosport Borough Council

Gosport Marine Scene

Radio Haslar


If your port or yacht club would like to host a Small Ships Race, please contact ASTO on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Cowes 2016

 ASTO Cowes Small Ships race 2016 BGN 0995 websize

25 vessels took part on a day that included every type of weather. Newcomers to the Cowes event included Morning Star and Yoda (Portsmouth Sail Training Trust) Full race results are here and a race report (press release) here, with some cracking pictures courtesy of online.

Cowes 2015

Congratulations to all vessels  and crews that took part in the 2015 Cowes Small Ships Race.  Here are the full Race Results.  They are ordered by corrected time and also show elapsed time (time it took to complete the course). There were 3 separate starts for Classes B (1030 start), C1 (1040 start) and C2 and E (1050 start).

Cowes 2014

Report, Results, Parade of Sail video (thanks to Vectis Television) and Photos (thanks to

Clyde Small Ships Race (2014)

Results , Photos and Prizegiving photos

Cowes 2013

Race report, Results, and Photos (courtesy of Andy Wales)

Hammond Innes Race

Race report, Results and Trophies

Cowes 2012

Race report and list of Results and Trophies awarded

London to Portland Small Ships Race (2012)

Race Report, Spotter's GuideResults and full list of prizes

Cowes 2011

Race Report, Results and full list of prizes

Cowes 2010

Race report and full list of prizes

Cowes 2009

Race report and full list of prizes.

Spaces available now

Alba crew waving

Click to find the latest berth availability on Sail Training vessels.