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As of today (14th September), the government is banning social gatherings of six or more people to help combat the spread of COVID-19. This new ban on gatherings will apply both indoors and outdoors and includes all ages in England.

The government say: “From 14 September there will be a legal limit on the number of people you don’t live with you are able to meet. When meeting with people you don’t live with you can socialise in groups of up to 6. You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with.”

However, the rules are slightly different for those living in Scotland and Wales:

  • In Scotland, no more than six people from two households will be able to meet from today, however, children under the age of 12 from those two households will NOT be included.
  • In Wales, it will be illegal for more than six people from an extended household to meet indoors. This does not include children aged 11-years-old and under. Up to 30 people from different homes can still meet outside as long as they remain 2m apart.

There are exceptions to this new legislation, whereby groups can be larger than six people. These include:

  • for work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • registered childcare, education or training
  • supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • organised sport or exercise classes or licensed outdoor physical activity.

This means that as long as social distancing and existing guidance is observed, these new measures should not affect the limited amount of Sail Training currently taking place in the UK. For the RYA’s official COVID-19 guidance click here.

For further information about the new Rule of Six measures visit:



Do you love Sail Training but wish more people knew about it?  Now's your chance to help us spread the word!  ASTO is recruiting a full-time social media and marketing person to make sure more people know about the fantastic opportunities Sail Training brings. The role is aimed at a young graduate in the age range of typical trainees who 'gets' Sail Training and has expertise in using social media to promote a cause. Of course we'll also consider older candidates with suitable experience. Full details of what we are looking for is on the Jobs page. So go on, apply today! 

A new project hopes to give more than 350 disadvantaged children in Plymouth the chance to enjoy hands-on adventures aboard traditional wooden sailing ships.

This unique ‘Spirit of Adventure’ project will be part of the Mayflower Ocean Festival, which takes place 4-10 May 2020, and a crowdfunding page has been launched to help make it a reality.

Spirit of Adventure aims to connect young people with the Mayflower story and with the ocean. The project is aimed at disadvantaged children, including children who are living in poverty, children in care and young carers, who have not had the chance to go sailing before.

Sarah Gibson, Chief Executive of the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership BID (PWP), the organisation running the crowd funder, says: “Even though Plymouth boasts an enviable waterfront location as Britain’s Ocean City, many of our children and young people are disconnected with the ocean. We know that some of the city’s children have never been to Plymouth Hoe or visited the Barbican, let alone been on a wooden sailing boat. The schools we’re working with are located in some of the most deprived areas of the city. These children deserve to feel their own spirit of adventure, to test their skills as team players, as sailors and citizens of Britain’s Ocean City.”

PWP has teamed up with ASTO members The Island Trust and Sailing Tectona, as well as the Lynher Barge and the Bounty Project to run the adventurous sailing sessions. The four organisations have seven vessels between them which will undertake daily voyages in Plymouth Sound during the Mayflower Ocean Festival.

Each day, groups of children will work together as a team, hoisting the sails and sailing the boats themselves with support from expert staff. They will build communication, social and cooperation skills, and feel a sense of responsibility and achievement, giving a much-needed confidence boost and memories to last a lifetime.

“We’re thrilled to be working on this project – and when better to do it than during this extra special Mayflower 400 commemorative year. We’re asking local people and businesses to support Plymouth children and get behind this project to help make it happen,” continues Sarah.

In order to make the project a reality, PWP and its partners need to raise £50,000. This will pay for all safety and boat costs, as well as transport, refreshments and resources for the young people.

You can support this project by donating online

Alexander Fairey at the 2019 Cowes Small Ships Race

The Discovery Sailing Projects have been the lucky recipients of the funds remaining after the Little Brig Sailing Trust closed down last year.
Around £2500 remained after the closure of the Little Brig Sailing Trust, based in Gosport. After a competitive process in which ASTO members could apply for the funding, the LBST Trustees awarded the Discovery Sailing Project for upgrades to their smaller yacht Alexander Fairey.

Alexander Fairey is owned by the Alexander Fairey Memorial Fund and is operated by the Discovery Sailing Project. DSP make Alex available for members of all ASTO organisations to charter at very reasonable rates. Over the past 2 years she has been used by members of the Rona Sailing Project, Ocean Youth Trust South and Adventures Offshore. She is an excellent yacht for those who have gained their Day Skipper qualification to get experience of being in command, without a more experienced and qualified sailor needing to be on board. Alex was also chartered by ASTO to run a Yachtmaster Instructor course in March 2019.

The funding from the Little Brig Sailing Trust will pay for some much needed upgrades on Alex this year. These include a new Genoa, new running rigging and new bunk cushions.

The LBST Trustees chose the DSP project in particular because the vessel is available to be used by other ASTO members.

To find out more and discuss chartering Alex, take a look at or contact Andy Broadbent, Project Organiser, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leading youth work charity, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, is to run a series of all-female Employability voyages at sea, thanks to vital funding aimed at getting vulnerable girls into work.

The Inverclyde-based charity provides residential youth work on the waves for young people aged between 12 and 25. However, this will be the first time the charity has run voyages tailored specifically to all-female groups.

The funding has been awarded by the Tampon Tax Community Fund, which supports women and girls of all ages across the UK to build their skills, confidence and self-esteem.

OYT Scotland will run two five-day Employability Skills focused voyages for two groups of disadvantaged young women and girls from across Scotland. The aim of the project is to empower between 20 - 24 young females, developing their self-confidence, leadership skills and equipping them with qualifications to help them realise their true potential and secure future training or employment opportunities both on land and at sea.

OYT Scotland, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019, takes to sea more than 800 young people every year on residential youth work voyages aboard its sailing yachts. While on board, young people are required to embrace the principles of teamwork, communication, responsibility, leadership, domestic tasks and can earn SQA qualifications - in addition to learning the skills involved with sailing an ocean-going yacht.

Yasmin Price (17) is completing a Modern Apprenticeship at OYT Scotland and, as a result of her experiences sailing with the Trust, is committed to pursuing a career at sea. During her current apprenticeship, she is developing skills and knowledge that will allow her to gain RYA qualifications and valuable experience that will further her future career goals to work at sea full time.

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