A PHOTOGRAPHER from Dorchester has set off on a voyage to help young people affected by the pandemic.

Professional photographer James Ashington successfully applied to join the Our Isles and Oceans project, which partners with the biennial Clipper Race, to offer sail training to building self-confidence and self-esteem, which many young people have lost over the last 18 months.

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Dorset Echo: Professional photographer James Ashington, 26Professional photographer James Ashington, 26

The 26-year-old, who is one of 40 participants on the voyage, first caught wind of the initiative after working for a water sports company in Greece a few years ago where he met Clipper Race and Our Isles and Oceans First Mate Dan Jones.

The programme, which launched Friday in Oban, Scotland, will run over four consecutive weeks and has recruited 40 people aged between 18-35 (10 per training group), who will be learning to sail a stripped back 68-foot Clipper Race training yacht.

Dorset Echo: the Our Isles and Oceans's yacht CV3. Pictures: Clipper Round the Worldthe Our Isles and Oceans's yacht CV3. Pictures: Clipper Round the World

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world and co-founder of the Clipper Race, said: "Sailing is more than just a sport or pastime as it gives you experience that is as useful in the workplace as it is on board a yacht.

"The sport develops self-confidence and self-esteem which is so important to restore following the pandemic.

"Putting young people on a yacht with a team is a great equaliser. You’ll see things are picked up quickly and as each challenge is overcome - confidence grows - with a new belief in themselves that they can achieve anything."

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Each group of 10 crew will also have to get used to living on board, sleeping in bunks and spending time in close quarters with each other. The sail training will be carried out under the leadership of a Clipper Round the World Yacht Race skipper.

There could also be the opportunity for 10 successful candidates to take part in the Clipper 2023-24 Round the World Yacht Race as it sails around the globe, on the Our Isles and Oceans team entry.

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James has a passion for the ocean and a keen interest in its conservation and has been working with the Weymouth Beach Control Team during the pandemic.

Our Isles and Oceans has been set up to offer youth opportunity and professional development and intends on - through the vehicle of sport and business, highlighting the importance of a sustainable future.

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