In the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, a 23-year-old who had never been on a boat before has completed over 5,000 miles of ocean in one of the toughest legs in the world’s longest yacht race.
Lazaros Tshikovhi, a 23-year-old from Thohoyandou, is one of ten young South Africans aged 18 to 23 who have been chosen to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Sapinda Rainbow Project, endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
The unique initiative aims to develop young community leaders of the future who will also raise international awareness and funds for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.
Lazaros joined the fleet of 670 amateur crew on board the Invest Africa entry, one of twelve Clipper 70 foot ocean racing yachts to race from Brisbane, Australia to Qingdao in China via Singapore and Hong Kong. He has spent nearly two months at sea battling against strong headwinds, slamming waves, threats of piracy and heavy shipping and going from warm, sunny weather to cold, windy conditions.
Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race
Completing the challenge of a lifetime and arriving into Qingdao in China, Lazaros says: 'It feels so great to be here. From Singapore from where we started we have had so many challenges. From the very beginning it was very hard, huge waves, raining, lightning, and the temperature change. At the start it was very warm, and in the end it was freezing. So it was tough, always tough but very stimulating and rewarding. Firstly I will take with me the sailing experience; where I am from in South Africa sailing is not a sport we are very aware of, so when I return home I would like to introduce it to other youths in my community.
'Personally it has shaped me in various ways, most importantly working with different people from different countries and all the new things I have seen and done.'
The initiative is funded by the Sapinda group, an investment holding company with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Dirk van Daele, Sapinda Executive Committee member and CEO of Anoa Capital, participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and saw how it developed young people from around the world in building their confidence and leadership skills. It inspired him to see how he could offer a similar opportunity to young South Africans who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust was initiated by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as a legacy project to provide world-class healthcare for all children of Southern Africa. The hospital, based in Parktown, Johannesburg, will be a dedicated specialist hospital working on a referral basis – and no child will be turned away due to inability to pay. Currently in its planning and fundraising stage, the Hospital Trust aims to start building later this year.
The Clipper Race was set up by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-9. His vision was to enable people, regardless of their sailing history the chance to take part in ocean racing no matter what their background. Clipper Round the World