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Small Ships Race

Three Small Ships sailing in the Solent

Our Small Ships Races are youth events open to any Sail Training vessels of which at least half the crew is under 25. 

Small Ships Races are run for vessel under 24 m, using the racing rules of Tall Ships Races.

We run an annual race based in Cowes, and a longer passage race every two years.

Three Small Ships sailing in the Solent

Our Small Ships Races are youth events open to any Sail Training vessels of which at least half the crew is under 25. 

Small Ships Races are run for vessel under 24 m, using the racing rules of Tall Ships Races.

We run an annual race based in Cowes, and a longer passage race every two years.

The Small Ships Races have been a popular event for our fleet since the first one from Weymouth to St. Malo in 2002.  Since then, host ports have included Ipswich, Delfzijl, Glasgow, Greenock, Belfast, Cowes, Torquay, St. Peter Port, London, Portland and Dartmouth. Although these events are termed races, and there is certainly hot competition on the water, the main aim is to bring a range of Sail Training vessels together for their crews to compete, socialise and rise to the challenge of sailing these exciting ships.

Cowes SSR

The annual 'round-the-cans' Small Ships Race usually happens on the first weekend of October out of Cowes. This short event is extremely popular in the Sail Training world, with up to 30 boats and 350+ people taking part. Dates for the 2024 race will be announced shortly.

Passage Race

Every 2 years or so we hold a longer 'Passage Race' with at least two host ports and a longer stretch of offshore racing. This usually takes place over the course of four to six days and ends with a parade. The last passage race was the Mayflower Regatta in 2021. The next is planned to be from the 10th to 17th August 2024 from Guernsey to Poole.

The inaugural Small Ships Race from Weymouth to St. Malo in 2002 was deemed to be a tremendous success by all involved. 

Since then, host ports have included Ipswich, Delfzijl, Glasgow, Greenock, Belfast, Cowes, Torquay, St. Peter Port, London, Portland and Dartmouth. 

Although these events are termed races, and there is certainly hot competition on the water, the main aim is to bring a range of Sail Training vessels together for their crews to compete, socialise and rise to the challenge of sailing these exciting ships.

Cowes SSR

The annual 'round-the-cans' Small Ships Race usually happens on the first weekend of October out of Cowes. This short event is extremely popular in the Sail Training world, with up to 30 boats and 350+ people taking part. Dates for the 2024 race will be announced shortly.

Read more

Passage Race

Every 2 years or so we hold a longer 'Passage Race' with at least two host ports and a longer stretch of offshore racing. This usually takes place over the course of four days and ends with a parade. The last passage race was the Mayflower Regatta from 15th to 20th August 2021. The next is planned to be in August 2024, further details to follow.

Read more

Further information about our Small Ships Races can be found below. 

Further information about our Small Ships Races can be found below. 

Small Ships Race Entry forms

Entries for the 2024 Cowes Small Ships Race will be open in due course. The crew list should be sent as soon as possible. Any changes and a signature can be provided in Cowes.

Please complete the Entry Form for the Cowes Small Ships Race 2024 and send via email to [email protected] by 1700 on Wednesday 6th September 2024.

Cowes Small Ships Race 2022

Click here to see pictures of the event.

On Saturday 24th September, more than 200 young people took to the water for the Cowes Small Ships Race. This youth charity sailing race is organised by ASTO (Association of Sail Training Organisations), a Gosport-based charity which promotes Sail Training in the UK.

The Small Ships Race is an annual event held in Cowes and sees Trainees (young people aged between 12-25) on board Sail Training vessels compete in a ‘round the cans’ race in the Solent. This year’s race included vessels from 19 UK Sail Training organisations, all of whom take young people to sea for personal development.

Amongst the young people participating in this year’s race were Cowes Sea Cadets on board Morning Star Trust’s Bright Star.

Students from HTP Apprenticeship College joined the crew of Tall Ships Youth Trust’s Tenacity of Bolton, and a group of home-educated young people sailed on board The Island Trust’s Pegasus.

ASTO’s General Manager, Lucy Grodie, said: “It was fantastic to see the energy and buzz of the crew party after what will have been quite a challenging day out on the water.”

She added: “The return leg of the race in particular would have proved quite challenging due to easing winds and strong tides, but the young people showed great perseverance and resilience and none of the vessels retired.

This event is an intense couple of days which proves to be very rewarding for the young people, many of whom have never sailed before.”

Cowes Small Ships Race 2022

On Saturday 24th September, more than 200 young people took to the water for the Cowes Small Ships Race. This youth charity sailing race is organised by ASTO (Association of Sail Training Organisations), a Gosport-based charity which promotes Sail Training in the UK.

The Small Ships Race is an annual event held in Cowes and sees Trainees (young people aged between 12-25) on board Sail Training vessels compete in a ‘round the cans’ race in the Solent. This year’s race included vessels from 19 UK Sail Training organisations, all of whom take young people to sea for personal development.

Amongst the young people participating in this year’s race were Cowes Sea Cadets on board Morning Star Trust’s Bright Star.

Students from HTP Apprenticeship College joined the crew of Tall Ships Youth Trust’s Tenacity of Bolton, and a group of home-educated young people sailed on board The Island Trust’s Pegasus.

ASTO’s General Manager Lucy Grodie said: “It was fantastic to see the energy and buzz of the crew party after what will have been quite a challenging day out on the water.”

She added: “The return leg of the race in particular would have proved quite challenging due to easing winds and strong tides, but the young people showed great perseverance and resilience and none of the vessels retired.

This event is an intense couple of days which proves to be very rewarding for the young people, many of whom have never sailed before.”

Click here to read the full Race Report.

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