Please select your home edition
Edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 2

Ausome Charity takes on awesome Rolex Fastnet Race with an autistic crew

by Red Splash 14 Apr 16:36 BST 3 August 2019
The yacht Lyra of London that will be competing in the Ausome ‘Fastnet' campaign © Red Splash

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 Fastnet Race is a biennial offshore yacht race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Named after the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland which the race course rounds after setting off from Cowes, Isle of Wight and finishing 608 nautical miles later in Plymouth. The 'Fastnet' is generally considered one of the world's classic offshore races, thoroughly testing the skills of crew and boat.

The founder and a trustee of Ausome, Lottie Harland from Reading, Berkshire, 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 individual, organisations and trusts, including Forensic Healthcare Services Ltd. and the Royal Southern Yacht Club Trust.

In addition to herself as skipper, the core crew comprises of Alex Ahmann, a trustee of Ausome and originally from California, USA but currently studying at university in the UK and with experience on tall ships and yachts and who was diagnosed with autism just before coming to the UK; Max Delap from London who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, has just started university and sails regularly on Lyra; Michael Sanchirico from the Michigan, USA and who sails on the Great Lakes with Set Sail for Autism; and finally George Beevor from Portsmouth, an experienced sailor having raced inshore and offshore on his own yachts, including an Impala 28 and a Sagitta 35. 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.

Lottie founded Ausome to help other autistic people experience the benefits and joys of sailing. Autistic people can struggle to get into sailing on their own because new places and situations can cause immense anxiety, therefore participating in regular courses at a sailing school with people they don't know and instructors who may not be aware of autism can be completely unfeasible. Other sailing charities set up to help people with disabilities are also not the right environment for these autistic people, for example they can be noisy with non-verbal sailors trying to communicate or the boats used are generally not appropriate for someone who has no physical disabilities. Ausome was founded to bridge this gap in services for those autistic people looking to experience sailing for the first time or to further their skills.

Lottie Harland, trustee of Ausome, commented: "When I thought about founding Ausome it was my dream to both help individuals on the autistic spectrum experience the positive influences sailing can bring to them and to help raise awareness of this often hidden and misunderstood condition that impacts so many people. I needed a goal to build this around and the 'Fastnet' campaign became the foundation to help launch the charity. Sailing gives such a positive experience along with many life skills to autistic people but of course is expensive and so we can only complete the race with grants, donations from the public and sponsorship from companies. Since launching the campaign, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity we have received. In particular, Miles Delap for loaning his yacht to the charity for the race and EAORA for nominating us as their chosen charity. We are now looking forward to a busy year preparing for this challenge and raising the remainder of the funds needed. But it doesn't stop there and once we have completed the Fastnet Campaign we will be working on delivering further opportunities to benefit autistic people."

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

Ausome is a registered charity promoting the personal and social growth of individuals of any age who have Autism Spectrum Conditions through an exciting programme of sailing.

Founded by a group of enthusiastic sailors, some of whom are on the autistic spectrum themselves, they have all seen or experienced the tremendous benefits that sailing can deliver to those with autism spectrum conditions, at times truly transforming lives.

Everyone with an autistic spectrum condition is unique and different but if they have the desire to try something new, then sailing with Ausome is one of the most enjoyable, immersive and fun ways to:

  • Improve confidence whilst exploring and learning new skills.
  • Be part of team where everyone has an important role to play and respects each other's contributions.
  • Develop social skills and make new friends.
  • Increase self-reliance in a structured, safe and friendly environment.
Ausome is a Registered Charity in England and Wales number: 1179568

More info at www.ausome.org.uk

Related Articles

Women in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race
To date only one female skipper has won the Rolex Fastnet Race While crew lists for August's Rolex Fastnet Race are far from finalised, currently just over 10% of those competing in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial voyage from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock will be women. Posted on 24 Jun
Rolex Fastnet Race: More than just a race
3,000 crew members are competing to fulfill a personal challenge This year the average age of the next generation of Greig City Academy students racing Scaramouche, is lower, the youngest being 13-year-old Kai Hockley. Posted on 5 Jun
Ausome finalises team for Rolex Fastnet race
And secures further sponsorship from Barton Marine and Essex Embroidery & Print 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 secured two new sponsorship deals. Posted on 31 May
Ultimes threaten Rolex Fastnet record destruction
It is very likely the outright record will fall in this August's edition In the last windy Rolex Fastnet Race in 2011, the Loick Peyron-skippered Banque Populaire V blasted around the 608 mile course in one day, eight hours and 48 minutes. Posted on 19 May
Giant IMOCA 60 turn-out for Rolex Fastnet Race
This line-up is the third biggest in IMOCA history 29 of the boats, best known for their use in the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race, will assemble on the Cowes start line of the RORC's premier event to take part in the biennial voyage to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock Posted on 10 Apr
Rolex Fastnet Race's complete pantheon race boats
2019 will see an unprecedented entry of 'non-IRC' boats The most impressive collection of offshore racing hardware from across the globe is set to gather off Cowes for the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race Posted on 21 Mar
Ausome Charity takes on the Fastnet
With a global autistic crew 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 in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 20 Feb
Another intense Rolex Fastnet Race entry deluge
Entries for 340 available places snapped up in under five minutes Entries for 340 available places in the RORC's classic 600 miler snapped up in under five minutes. Posted on 7 Jan
Plymouth to host 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race finish
City has marked the end of the biennial yacht race finish since its inception in 1925 Plymouth City Council and the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have confirmed that Plymouth will host the finish of the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Posted on 15 Nov 2018
Change of date for Rolex Fastnet Race 2019
Start on Saturday 3rd August now a week before Lendy Cowes Week The 2019 edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday 3rd August 2019, which is two weeks earlier than the original published date. Posted on 10 Sep 2018