EAORA chosen Charity 2018 "Ausome" Aspergers Yacht for the 2019 Fastnet
Posted: Wednesday, 18th April 2018
Fastnet 2019 with an all Autistic crew – Lottie Harland
Lottie is a passionate sailor and started in the sport some 12 years ago when she was eight years old. Lottie was part of the RYA junior and youth programmes representing GBR at numerous international events before she moved over to yacht sailing a few years ago. Just after she started sailing Lottie was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a high functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) after experiencing problems in school. Throughout her time at school she continued to be bullied and rejected and so sailing became her sanctuary where the coaches and competitors treated her as an equal and she was able to relax, experience success and build crucial life skills.
The sailing community is still the only place where she really feel “at home”.
Lottie has made more friends in the sailing world where she found others who have been diagnosed with an ASD and had similar experiences. Having seen how much they all benefited from sailing and how it transformed their lives, She decided to form Ausome an organisation that could help others with an ASD to start and experience what she had through her own sailing.
After a few trial sails on some J80s Lottie is in the process of registering a charity with the aim of: “Promoting the personal and social growth of individuals of any age who have Autism Spectrum Conditions through an exciting programme of sailing.”
To give themselves a real goal and show what people with an ASD can achieve, she had the idea of entering an all autistic crew in the 2019 Fastnet race. Lottie has been crewing for Miles Delap on his Swan 43 during some EAORA races and once she explained to Miles what she was thinking about doing he kindly offered her the use of his yacht Lyra of London.
Lottie is in the process of raising funds for this campaign, both for personal gear and additional equipment for the yacht and the many other expenses that accompany such an event.
Lottie was delighted at the prize giving evening last November by the support and generosity of EAORA competitors and the individuals who have made donations to this campaign. This has given the charity such an incredible start.
Lottie is looking forward to seeing all of you during this season and will keep EAORA posted as the campaign unfolds to become to the first all autistic crew to compete in the Fastnet.
Message from EAORA Chairman
“ Lottie, I am delighted to report that at the last East Anglian committee meeting we all agreed that we are very much behind you and your cause. Our sponsorship and commitment will unfold over the coming months, we know that to enter an autistic crew and race a beautiful Swan 43 for this prestigious event isn’t an easy task, we are with you for the journey” Paul Wood - Chairman