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Voortrekker tackles the High Seas in 2009 Heineken Cape to Bahia

by Lisa Duthie on 17 Jan 2009
Voortrekker - 2009 Heineken Cape to Bahia Voortrekker .

On the 10th January 2009 the iconic yacht Voortrekker set sail, after a gap of 15 years, to compete in the Heineken Cape to Bahia 2009. The yacht is being sailed by a team of seven young sailors trained at the Isivunguvungu sailing school in Simonstown, including three that are now on the schools staff.

The Voortrekker has a rich history of competitive sailing and has been sailed by South African legendary single-handed ocean racers such as Bertie Reed and John Martin.

Due to the vigorous campaigning by Rear Admiral JG Louw and commodore of the RCYC and Race Director John Martin, sponsorship was raised to enable the yacht to set sail. The charity sponsor is Pick n Pay Race4change, a web based sponsorship programme that enables event participants to raise money for charity as they race.

The Isivunguvungu Sailors are competing professionally in the racing class of this prestigious yacht race, and they are also using the opportunity to raise funds for their school, in an effort to afford future young sailors similar opportunities. They are using the Race4change fundraising platform to raise sponsorship.

This entry is a culmination of years of development training where the first ever crew of colour, from Skipper to Bowman, is participating in this prestigious event. I encourage everyone to support these sailors in their endeavor to raise funds for future sailing talent' said John Martin, Commodore of the RCYC and Race Director.

Izivunguvungu, which means 'sudden strong wind' in Isizulu, is the first school in South Africa to provide opportunities for disadvantaged children. The project teaches life skills through the medium of sail training and boatbuilding. The School also has a focus on education based on the environment, health and literacy. The children do not only learn to sail; the array of activities they are exposed to and the mentorship they receive are invaluable to creating adults for the future of South Africa.

'At present Voortrekker is sailing really well. I gave them advice on which route to take, which is the more northerly route to ensure they keep in the wind most of the time. They have been averaging 10 knots since they left and have had no problems on board. On handicap, they are lying 4th at present, but over the next three days their routing should pay off and I expect them to go up in the handicap ratings' said John Martin.

Voortrekker's return to the race is appropriate, since the yacht was instrumental in motivating the first staging of the classic South Atlantic Race in 1971.

The Voortrekker crew:

Marcello Burricks, 24

Kader Williams, 28

Marlon Jones, 19

Kenwyn Daniels, 18
Wandisile Xayimpi, 19
Eric Netanya, 30
Nico Steward, 18

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