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Young sailors from Cape Flats learn life and sailing skills from Italian Navy mentors

by Royal Cape Yacht Club 16 Jul 2023 04:40 PDT
Tall ship Nave Italia © Merlo Fotografia

The Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC) Sailing Academy is renowned for its commitment to nurture young sailing enthusiasts and prepare them for future successes in the marine industry and the world of sailing. Recently, a group of students had the opportunity of a lifetime as they embarked on a memorable voyage aboard the magnificent sailing vessel, Nave Italia, the largest 'brig' sailing ship in the world, currently in active navigation service.

The five day trip which commenced from Civitavecchia, Italy, was meticulously organized by the Italian Navy (Fondazione Tender To Nave Italia), to offer students an immersive learning experience. Admiral Giorgio Lazio and Elisabetta Cesari were onboard to welcome RCYC Sailing Academy Manager Jennifer Burger and the students on day one, before setting sail.

The young sailors who attended the course range from 18 to 23 and hail from Khayelitsha, Masiphumelele, Cape Flats and Mitchells Plain. For Philisande Gwala, Jordan Mopp, Siwaphiwe Siboto, Asiphe Ganiso, Thokozile Lusawana, Buyekezwa Mthini, Ovayo Myira, Yolande Mayekiso and Yobanathi Klaas this was one of many firsts - a first flight, the first time overseas and possibly the first exposure to Italian culture.

Under the guidance of experienced Navy instructors and skilled mentors, the RCYC Sailing Academy students set sail on an unforgettable journey. The trip aimed to provide a comprehensive understanding of various aspects of sailing, including seamanship, teamwork and bridge work. The students eagerly embraced every opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge and develop their practical skills.

Each day brought new challenges and learning opportunities, fostering resilience among the students. One of the activities included ascent of the 61m mast and involved scrambling up the mast to the first crow's nest. It's one of the most demanding activities on the boat.

As the trip neared its end, a sense of accomplishment and growth enveloped the students. They had overcome challenges and expanded their knowledge. The RCYC Academy students returned home with a renewed sense of purpose, armed with a wealth of experiences that will undoubtedly shape their future endeavours.

The recent trip aboard Nave Italia exemplified the RCYC Sailing Academy's commitment to providing exceptional educational opportunities for young sailing enthusiasts. This was made possible by the support of the Italian community and many Club members who supported the learning experience. Most of the funds were raised as a result of the Italian Ambassadors Race last year with Fondazione Nave Italia sponsoring all expenses in Italy, accommodation, meals, transport and activities during the students' stay.

In conclusion, the RCYC Sailing Academy students' recent trip aboard Nave Italia was a transformative experience which will no doubt enable them to participate in future local and international sailing events. The Academy's Alexforbes Archangel team recently made history in Brazil at the Cape2Rio race when they came third in this iconic Transatlantic race. We are hoping that this young crew, armed with their new knowledge, will be possible candidates as we select team members for the next Cape2Rio race.

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