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Small Ships Races



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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. 
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....


ASTO are always interested in hearing from Port and Harbours that would like to host a Small Ships Race. If you would like fun and adventure in your port, with a chance to support young people, please contact Lucy Gross, ASTO Manager on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cowes 2017 

Cowes Small Ships Race 2017 James M Pilgrim Social Res 5468


This year's race was very windy with strong tides, making for a fast and exciting race. The fleet headed through the forts and towards Bembridge Ledge before returning to finish off Cowes. 22 vessels were entered although only 20 competed. Newcomers included Ocean Youth Trust South's new vessel Prolific, and the Sea Cadets' new yacht City of London. As in the last few years, Spirit of Scott Bader competed in a class of their own, with people with various disabilities on board. Full Race Results can be found here and pictures of the race here.

ASTO would like to thank the Royal London Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron for their support in organising this race, as well as Cowes Yacht Haven for the venue. Several Isle of Wight organisations provide funding for young people to take part. If you are involved with a youth organisation or school on the Island, and would like to take part next year, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   


Torbay Small Ships Race 2017

ASTO organised a short event in Torbay to celebrate the start of the transatlantic Tall Ships Regatta in April 2017. 7 vessels took part in this short round the cans race. Very many thanks to Tor Bay Harbour and the Royal Torbay Yacht Club for their support. 

Pictures from the event are available here or here . ( uksailtraining) 

Vessels taking part included Leader and Golden Vanity (Trinity Sailing), Moosk, Pegasus and Tectona (Island Trust) and Aspiration and Endeavour (South Devon College).


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.


Dartmouth to Gosport 2016 (to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Dart Yacht Club)

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


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