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Ausome Charity takes on the Rolex Fastnet Race with a global autistic crew

by Paul Wood 20 Feb 15:41 GMT
Ausome Charity takes on the Fastnet © Paul Wood

Ausome, a registered charity promoting the personal and social growth of individuals of all ages who have Autism Spectrum Conditions through an exciting programme of sailing, has launched a campaign to compete with an autistic crew of nine sailors in the challenging 608 nautical mile 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race.

The founder and a trustee of Ausome, Lottie Harland, who is herself autistic, will skipper the yacht Lyra of London, a Nautor Swan 431 based in Burnham-on-Crouch and kindly loaned to the campaign by its owner Miles Delap. Lottie, now 22 years old, had a difficult childhood but started sailing at nine years of age and this built her confidence and the self-esteem that was knocked out of her by the constant bullying in school. These positive sailing experiences helped her develop the life and social skills to become an independent and successful young adult, graduating with an engineering degree from university and becoming a qualified RYA Offshore Yachtmaster. The campaign is already off to a good start as the East Anglian Offshore Racing Association (EAORA) has selected Ausome as its nominated charity and has donated funds raised at its annual dinner along with generous donations from other companies including Forensic Healthcare Services Ltd.

In addition to herself as skipper, the core crew comprises of Alex Ahmann, a trustee of Ausome and originally from California, but currently studying at university in the UK, Max Delap who was diagnosed with autism at an early age already sails regularly on Lyra; Michael Sanchirico from the Michigan who sails on the Great Lakes with Set Sail for Autism; and finally George Beevor, an experienced sailor having raced inshore and offshore on his own yachts. George is not diagnosed but is one of the three trustees of the charity. Ausome is currently running a programme to train other autistic people, both sailors and non-sailors, who will compete in the qualifying offshore races over the coming months before the final crew selection takes place for the 'Fastnet' itself in August.

Donations can be made to the Ausome Fastnet campaign through: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LottieHarland

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