Landmark entry for flagship development sailing project

A 40ft yacht crewed entirely by graduates of RCYC’s in-house Sailing Academy will compete in the 2023 edition of the world famous Cape2Rio yacht race, RCYC has confirmed.

The crew will compete aboard ‘Gryphon’ under the leadership of skipper Sibusiso Sizatu. Other crew members in the mix include Olympic sailor Asenathi Jim and Academy Director Lindani Mchunu, the Campaign Manager. “It’s a great way for me to turn 40,” Mchunu said in a TV interview posted on the Club’s website. “It’s a dream for me to do something like that, and to take the responsibility I need to be there,” he said.

The Campaign is being coordinated by the Valid Dreams Foundation, with input and guidance from Cape2Rio stalwart Bruce Tedder.

Mchunu said the Campaign was the fulfillment of a years-long ambition to allow academy cadets to taste open ocean adventure, in a manner denied them during lockdown. “We are dealing with kids who come from very challenging backgrounds. They have gone through their whole lives making it through with very little. And then they had to go through Covid as well, sitting at home through lockdown.

“I said to myself, when we eventually come through this thing (lockdown), what is the first thing we want to do? And I thought to myself the first thing I would like to do is travel. What is it that they would like to do when they eventually come out? Without a doubt they would like to travel too.”

He said the boat, a Simonis 40, had just been refitted.  The team was scheduled to ‘warm up’ with the St Helena Race, along with other offshore sailing.

Mchunu said the Race had personal resonance in light of his upbringing in the township, where ocean adventures were the stuff of science fiction: “They used to have this thing (at school) that bothered me quite a lot. When we came back (from holidays) they would say, tell us a story about where you were with your families,” he said, adding that for he and his classmates there was no such thing as holiday adventures; they would simply make up imaginary holidays to talk about.

“For the first time for me the Academy has an opportunity to actually make those stories real. Now those kids can come back from holiday and when school starts they will  actually have a story to tell. They can say believe it or not I was in Rio, and we sailed there,” Mchunu said.

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