HUNDREDS of young sailors docked up in a local marina after taking part in a gruelling race.
Inexperienced sailors from across the country competed in a 160-mile small ships race organised by the Association of Sail Training Organisations (Asto) that began in Dartmouth on Monday and finished at Hornet Sailing Club, in Gosport, on Wednesday.
‘I’ve got absolutely hooked on sailing as a result of it.’Sophie Smith
More than 21 crews took part in the event, which finished in Gosport for the first time in its 45-year history.
Young sailors from Gosport, half of whom were sailing newcomers, signed up to take part in the event aboard their yacht, The Discovery, and were sponsored by Gosport Marine Scene.
Sailors paraded through the town in the evening as a way to say thank you for hosting them.
Sophie Smith, 15, from Gosport, said the event was something that she would never forget.
She said: ‘I’ve got absolutely hooked on sailing as a result of it.
‘I loved it so much. Just being out on the water and being able to see the stars in the sky when it was dark, it was so peaceful. I did not want it to end.
‘The best bit about it was being able to work together as a team and to make new friends.’
Clive Fisher, who organised the event and skippered The Discovery, said: ‘I would say our crew managed really well despite some of them being first-time sailors.’
Lucy Gross, general manager of ASTO, said: ‘The race was about teaching the youths involved life skills such as teamwork and patience. There was no wind during one night, but most persevered and didn’t switch on their engine on.’