THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! AOTW HEADS SOUTH THIS SUMMER!
After over 6 months of planning - the Autism on the Water (AOTW) team is delighted to announce the launch of a brand-new campaign entitled "The South Coast Adventure" sponsored by GJW Direct
GJW Direct is a UK wide insurance company and is well associated within the marine industry, especially on the South Coast of England and also sponsors a number of other worthy causes within the industry such as the RNLI. The company have come on board as sponsors of this campaign and it is thanks to their sponsorship that is enabling AOTW to run this campaign - their support is seeing a number of new events happening for the charity as well as developments which have been done to the two boats with the Hunter 707 been given extra TLC and new equipment including a new suit of sails to be as competitive as possible whilst Confidence has undergone a full refit before starting the journey south in June.
This campaign will see AOTW sail into a different era as it leaves Scottish waters temporarily this summer to take up base on the waters of the Solent on the South Coast of England. The charity is growing and the demand for what the charity is trying to achieve is becoming higher and so our purpose of travelling down to the South Coast is a trial to determine whether AOTW in the future could be expanded in that area. Founding Trustee Murray MacDonald said "the partnership and sponsorship with GJW Direct to bring the South Coast Adventure to life is the biggest project we have undertaken with AOTW. Carole and her team have been fantastic to work alongside over the last few months to ensure the success of this project.
AOTW are very grateful to GJW Direct for their incredible generosity in helping to make the South Coast Adventure come to life and the charity will be working very closely with them throughout to ensure its success. Both our yachts will be part of the Solent sailing community throughout this summer which is the biggest area for yacht racing and also sailing in general in the UK. Murray said, "We are so excited to bring our work from Scotland down to the South in the hope that potentially in the future we can set the charity up down here as well as running our operations in Scotland".
After already having a very successful open day at RFYC - Royal Forth Yacht Club and the upcoming Crinan Canal festival and our early regattas the Kip Regatta and the Scottish Series, both our yachts - Confidence and our Hunter 707 will travel down south in mid-June and will be participating in a number of events and activities to spread the awareness of our work across the local communities. Our Hunter 707 will be racing in the iconic Round the Island Race around the Isle of Wight where an estimated 1200 + yachts are expected to compete as well as the iconic Cowes Week regatta - the biggest regatta in the United Kingdom before returning back to Scotland in time for the 707 UK National Championships at Royal Northern & Clyde YC.
Confidence meanwhile will be in attendance at both events offering free local sailing trips to the local autistic communities and other sailing organisations and will be on display both on and off the water during the Cowes Classics Week regatta organised by the Royal London Yacht Club. AOTW has been chosen as one of the charities being supported by the Royal London Yacht Club during this event which hopefully will include some special VIP guests. The charity is also planning to travel around the local areas with Confidence and connect with local organisations across the board and build relationships with autistic communities. Confidence will remain on the south coast until late summer where the plan is to exhibit at the Southampton International Boat Show before being sailed back to Scotland.
"The support so far of the various organisations has been phenomenal," said Murray - not just of course from GJW Direct but also the support of the Royal London YC and to be picked as one of their charities of Cowes Classic Week is a real honour for AOTW. We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that both Confidence and our 707 will be fully prepared and ready to take on the challenging tidal waters of the Solent. We are particularly looking forward to Cowes Week which is an event we have wanted to be part of for some time and we are delighted to be welcoming on board Kass Schmitt a well known Solent sailor on the autistic spectrum".
Kass is taking part this year in the challenging Transatlantic Race from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island - singlehanded and is aiming to be the first American woman to complete the race, having retired in 2017, she is back for unfinished business on board her yacht "Zest" and will be returning to the UK just in time to join AOTW for Cowes Week. Those interested in what Kass is doing can see it by visiting her website https://www.sailingwithzest.me/
Murray continued "this is going to be a thoroughly exciting year for AOTW with the South Coast Adventure, but we would like to reassure our Scottish communities that our departure is only temporary this summer and we will be back home in Scotland at the end of the season ready to resume normal programs in 2023 - but we won't be leaving our young people in Scotland out of this project, as well as offering it to the communities on the South Coast, we will be inviting our young people we have supported over the last 5 years to travel down to the South Coast to be part of our adventure on the South Coast and we will be assisting them in any way we can to make this opportunity work for them".
Welcome to our newest support - Crewsaver!
A welcome to our newest supporter Crewsaver who along with agent Kevin Aitken has been assisting AOTW in finding the right safety equipment for the coding of our cruiser Confidence. We are very grateful to Crewsaver for all their help with this and especially Kevin for all his coordination with this.
Corner House in Tarbert sponsors AOTW at the 2022 Scottish Series!
We are absolutely delighted to announce that the Corner House Tarbert have agreed to sponsor AOTW for this years Scottish Series! Margaret and Duggie MacNeill have been long supporters of the event for many years and have been strong supporters of our charity since it's inception. This is their first involvement with AOTW! With the event being a Tarbert based regatta, this is a brillant opportunity for the community and our charity to expose itself within the community to promote autism awareness and inclusion within sailing!
We are very grateful to Duggie, Margaret and the rest of the team for their generosity!
Welcome back Community Windpower!
We are absolutely delighted to welcome back yet another sponsor from 2021 who are continuing their support in 2022 in the form of Community Windpower. This renewable energy company has helped many community-based projects and initiatives across Scotland, especially within sport and youth - they came on board with AOTW as a sponsor last year during the first refurbishment of Confidence and have returned for 2022 to further assist us to bring many of our planned projects to life for the benefit of young people with autism as well as increasing awareness of the spectrum through the sport of sailing.
Thank you guys and welcome back!
AOTW Open Day at Royal Forth YC on Sunday 1st May - 1pm to 4:30pm
We are thrilled to announce that Autism on the Water in association with the Royal Forth Yacht Club is holding an Autistic Sailing Open Day on Sunday 1st May at the Royal Forth Yacht Club in Granton from 1pm until 4:30pm. The event is open to all of the Autistic community within Edinburgh and the Lothians. All ages on the autistic spectrum plus their families/carers are welcome.
We are very grateful to the Royal Forth Yacht Club for their collaboration and assistance in organising this event. The day will have a wide variety of activities from free sailing trips around Granton harbour to tours of yachts and activities in the clubhouse ranging from learning about navigational charts to knot tying. The clubhouse bar will be open serving hot and cold refreshments. We will also have a quiet corner where young people can relax if they require.
The limited number of people is 50 people and Places are now full - but to be placed on the reserve list please email email@example.com
Welcome back Studycat and The Orcome Trust
We are absolutely delighted to welcome back both Studycat and The Orcome Trust as supporters of the charity. Both organisations have generously contributed to AOTW's ongoing success especially as we prepare Confidence for the upcoming season. Each sponsor or supporter is a huge and vital part of our organisation and we are grateful to all of them for the part they play in helping us encourage people with autism to access sailing and raise awareness of the sport - their contribution enables AOTW to bring that to life!
Meet our new Crew Member!
It's a New Year and we are delighted to introduce you to AOTW's newest crew member - Sophie Palmer!
Sophie is based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and brings a wealth of sailing experience to our racing team - here is the statement in her own words
"I started sailing at the age of 6 and since then I have become a dinghy instructor and a Yachtmaster Offshore. I have over 10,000 nm under my belt and I enjoy both inshore and offshore racing. My greatest yachting achievement has to be coming 3rd in the double-handed Azores and back race in 2019 which I did with my dad. I have a passion for sailing but wish to make a career in outdoor education working with those with special needs. When I was in school, I volunteered as a TA in a special educational school, which is where this interest began. I first became aware of Autism on the Water and the amazing work they do through a friend's post on Facebook. I am proud to be a part of this organisation and I love the fact that they are providing opportunities for individuals to try something they may never have had the chance to do. Building their confidence not just on the water but in everyday life too".
Sophie's debut on the team will be the Scottish Series in early June and she will be part of some very exciting events which are due to be announced very soon!