MDL supports Mayflower 401 Small Ships Race

Supported by MDL Marinas, the ASTO’s (Association of Sail Training Organisations) Mayflower 401 Anniversary Small Ships Race commences this Sunday at MDL’s Ocean Village Marina, where the vessels taking part will be moored prior to the start of the race. The event will then finish at the Royal Dart Yacht Club in Dartmouth on Friday 20 August.

Thirteen UK Sail Training vessels take part in the race, including those owned and operated by Ocean Youth Trust South, Rona Sailing Project, Island Trust and Morning Star Trust.

For the past 40 years, MDL Marinas has developed a close relationship with Ocean Youth Trust South, recognising, it says, the charity’s fantastic work with young people and the life changing experience that sailing can offer.

Paul Atkins, marina manager at Ocean Village Marina, comments: “MDL annually sponsors a five-day trip aboard OYT’s Prolific for inspirational young people, which forms the basis of MDL’s Sail Training Awards, so Ocean Village Marina is thrilled to be able to extend this support to another such worthwhile cause.”

For many of the youth charities taking part, this will be their first major event in two years due to the impact and restrictions of the pandemic. Most vessels were only able to restart residential sail training in the last two months.

The Mayflower 401 Small Ships Race is being held to commemorate the 401-year anniversary of the departure of the Mayflower ship on her way to transport pilgrims from Southampton to the ‘new world’ in 1620. Originally, the race was due to go ahead last summer to coincide with other Mayflower 400 events taking place along the south coast.

Over 100 young people will take part in the three-day passage race which, like the Mayflower, will leave from Southampton and call into Dartmouth. Many of the young people competing in this race will not have been sailing before.

Lucy Grodie from ASTO says: “I’m so pleased we are finally able to host the Mayflower 401 Small Ships Race and am grateful to MDL for their generous support of this event. Sail training is a brilliant way for young people to gain confidence, learn new skills and enjoy the outdoors. The benefits sail training can bring to so many young people are especially important after such a tough 18 months. While the event is billed as a race, it’s really the taking part and making the effort that counts. The young crews will come away with a renewed sense of what they can do, new friends and memories for life.”

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