UK Sail Training members are hiring! Visit our Jobs page to find out more.

ASTO Awards 2023

Members of the Rona Sailing Project with a large silver model sailing boat

Rona Sailing Project, Challenge Wales and staff at the Cirdan Sailing Trust, Marine Society and Sea Cadets and ASTO were recognised for their outstanding work at the UK Sail Training conference on Friday 27th January 2023 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Conference delegates were presented with awards acknowledging their professionalism, initiative and positive impact on young people. The UK Sail Training conference is an annual get together of 33 charities around the UK that all use Sail Training to increase life skills and resilience in young people.

ASTO were delighted with the turnout. Mark Todd, Chair, said ‘A huge thank you to all our speakers , guests and of course members who made the 2023 UK Sail Training conference a huge success. The event happened at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, a fantastic venue; obviously steeped in nautical history but also with exciting plans to play their part in developing young people of the future- so we felt very much at home. I’m always blown away by the sheer enthusiasm in the room and the exciting plans our members have to make Sail Training even better and increase our role in helping people’s physical and mental wellbeing.’

The conference was attended by guests from across the maritime spectrum, including the RYA, Maritime Skills Alliance, Magenta Project, Maritime UK and Trinity House. Session topics covered a wide variety of interests including low carbon options for vessels, mentoring, maritime careers and apprenticeships, cyber security, marketing and social media and dealing with challenging behaviour. ASTO is very grateful to all the speakers and in particular to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust who hosted the conference.

Here is the full list of awards:

MCA/ASTO Sail Training vessel of the year: To reward an operator for fulfilling both the Sail Training aspirations of ASTO and the seamanship and safety requirements of the MCA.

2023 winner: ‘Donald Searle’, Rona Sailing Project


MCA/ASTO Best Potential Sail Training skipper: to reward the mate or other sea staff member who shows the best potential, not just for command ability and seamanship but also for fulfilling the personal development aims of Sail Training.

2023 winner: Charlotte Hole, Mate, Cirdan Sailing Trust
ASTO Environmental Excellence: to reward the vessel operators that have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint or become more sustainable.

2023 Winner: Challenge Wales


Best shorebased staff (unsung hero award): For the member of Sail Training office or shore staff who has worked hard behind the scenes to make voyages possible.

2023 winner: Annette Edmonds, Marine Society and Sea Cadets

2023 additional winner: Marcia Carter, who is leaving ASTO at the end of February 2023

Congratulations to all the winners.

Following from the conference, all UK Sail Training organisations will now return to prepare their vessels for a busy season. To find out more about how your school or youth group can take part in a Sail Training voyage, take a look at

Skip to content