Gosport youth charity’s annual sailing regatta to go ahead with new Virtual Race
AN ANNUAL charity sailing race is set to go ahead in the Solent - with new rules in place of traditions in order to keep everyone safe.
Gosport-based charity Association of Sail Training Organisations (Asto) is set to host its annual Cowes Small Ships Race, which has run for almost 20 years.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions it will not take place in its usual form.
Instead of the normal weekend-long affair, this year will see competing crews maintaining a strict bubble to ensure that social distancing guidelines are being followed.
Only the offshore portion of the event between 11.30am and 4pm on Saturday, October 3, will be able to go ahead.
This means there will be no pre-race water fight - a staple feature of the get-together in recent years.
Asto will be holding a virtual prize-giving ceremony after the race this year via Facebook Live, as the usual onshore awards ceremony cannot go ahead as usual.
As well as this, all race briefings will be held via a skipper’s group chat on WhatsApp to ensure that boat bubbles are not being broken.
Lucy Grodie, general manager of Asto said: ‘I am delighted that despite the current restrictions we are able to run a Small Ships Race this year. It’s been a really tough year for UK Sail Training, with most organisations unable to sail due to social distancing guidelines.
‘The Small Ships Race both on and off the water will be a fun reminder that Sail Training is a brilliant way for young people to gain confidence.’
The Small Ships Race runs every year and sees young people aged between 12 to 25 competing against fellow sail training vessels.
Lucy added: ‘Look out for the friendly rivalry between Scaramouche, crewed by pupils from an inner-city comprehensive, racing against Jolie Brise from the public boarding school Dauntsey’s. Both vessels have won several times in the past, so this is the match to watch!’
In addition to the Small Ships Race, this year Asto is excited to launch its first Virtual SSR in partnership with Sailonline.
This allows more people to take part in the event from the comfort of their own homes for free.
For more information about ASto and the Small Ships Race, visit uksailtraining.org