Please select your home edition
Craftinsure 2012

ASTO Cowes Small Ships Race 2019

by Max Mudie / ASTO 9 Oct 2019 06:22 BST 5 October 2019
Bellerophon, Discovery DSP, Prolific and Solent Hero during the ASTO Cowes Small Ships race 1226 c © ASTO - Max Mudie

Given that the remains of Storm Lorenzo were evident both before and after this race, it was always going to be a choice of too much wind or none at all: so the ASTO race committee, mindful of the young sailors in the fleet, let the tide do the work when the Small Ships race started on Saturday 5th October.

Three different classes, allowing big, wooden classics like Maybe - 90 years old this year - and Jolie Brise, to race against smaller, GRP yachts made for three starts at 10 minute intervals but not a lot of actual sailing. And as a fleet of 24, with the exception of Jolie Brise who went more North Solent, they stayed pretty well grouped together.

And despite the glassy waters of the Solent and sails hanging as if to dry, the sailors themselves remained cheerful, Mexican waving and singing for the committee on the RYS platform, for other boats as they drifted past, and even for the Media boat (a 72 foot, 1942 vintage, Motor Gunboat).

And slowly, oh so very slowly, a whisper of a hint of a breeze started to gently fill the wrinkled sails in the fleet. And crews went from idle to active and Skippers and Mates played the age old game of trying to decide what sail combinations would work best.

Still together by the time they got down to NE Ryde Middle boy, the furthest race mark before the fleet headed back to Cowes, even more seamanship was needed to clear the mark without fouling it or any of the other competitors. Good seamanship, but perhaps not appreciated so much by the lone fisherman anchored close to the mark and privy to the close quarter manoeuvring on his patch.

And there was some racing to be had, Jolie Brise quietly overhauled by new entrants the Ballard School from New Milton in their Contessa 33 High Spirit to be first over the line, followed by Greig City Academy (from Tottenham) in Scaramouche. And one by the one the fleet made it back, some looking like they might cross the line stern first and Rona Sailing Project ketches Rona II and Donald Searle doing so within mere seconds of each other.

Overall winner was Jolie Brise who also won class B, with wins for Rona II in class C1 and Bright Star from the Morning Star Trust in class C2. High Spirit won class D; the Richard Langhorn trophy, for the 'Spirit of the Race', was won by City of London.

Related Articles

Small Ships Race preview
UK's smaller Sail Training vessels gather in Cowes Saturday 5th October 2019 sees the annual Small Ships race return to Cowes: this end-of-season event sees many of the UK's smaller Sail Training vessels race around the Solent after a start off the Royal Yacht Squadron. Posted on 27 Sep 2019
15th annual ASTO Small Ships Race
A busy day for Sail Training in the Solent In between the thick fog and the gale-force winds the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) managed to fit in its 15th annual Small Ships Race on Saturday. Posted on 9 Oct 2018
Small Ships Race on Saturday 6th October
Now with added Tall Ships! The date of this year's Small Ships Race - for smaller British Sail Training vessels - is Saturday 6th October. Posted on 3 Oct 2018
ASTO Cowes Small Ships Race
Challenging weather in the Solent on Saturday Steady Force 6 winds did not deter the vessels in Saturday's annual Small Ships Race. Twenty entrants – from a 10 metre long yacht to a 33 metre ketch, and with 180 young trainees taking part – braved challenging weather in the Solent. Posted on 10 Oct 2017
ASTO Cowes Small Ships Race preview
Pilot Cutter vs Yacht vs Ketch The annual Small Ships race starts off Cowes on Saturday 7th October. This race for smaller Sail Training vessels is organised by the Association of Sail Training Organisations based in Gosport. Posted on 4 Oct 2017
Annual ASTO Small Ships Race
13th race from Cowes held on Saturday The annual ASTO Small Ships race saw its 13th start off Cowes on Saturday. This is a race for sail training vessels, with 5 different classes, and boats made from wood, steel, glass fibre and concrete and rigs including Bermudan, ketch, cutter. Posted on 3 Oct 2016
London to Portland Small Ships Race
Prizegiving to be celebrated at the WPNSA On Friday the 15th June, a fleet of up to twenty Sail Training vessels crewed by 200 young people will arrive in Portland from East London as part of the London to Portland Small Ships Race. Posted on 10 Jun 2012