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 and Portland. 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.
There is no passage race planned for 2015 however ASTO are in talks for events for 2016 and 2017, details of which will be announced soon.
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 29 boats and 355 people taking part last year.
Visit the links to the left for information about this year's events, how to take part and read archive race reports.
The next Cowes Small Ships Race will be on the 3rd October 2015. Please check here nearer the time for entry details.
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.
Report, Results, Parade of Sail video (thanks to Vectis Television) and Photos (thanks to tallshipstock.com)
Clyde Small Ships Race (2014)
Results , Photos and Prizegiving photos
Race report, Results, and Photos (courtesy of Andy Wales)
Hammond Innes Race
Race report, Results and Trophies
Race report and list of Results and Trophies awarded
London to Portland Small Ships Race (2012)
Race Report, Spotter's Guide, Results and full list of prizes
Race Report, Results and full list of prizes
Race report and full list of prizes
Race report and full list of prizes.