Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation wins World Sailing Award

South Africa’s Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation has won this year’s World Sailing Sustainability Award.

The Durban-based training organisation beat off a strong field of other nominees in early December at a ceremony at the prestigious COWES Yacht Club in the UK. The Award is a fitting tribute to the Foundation’s cadets and the management team under the leadership of Jackie Barnard who watched the ceremony online.  “We really were the underdog here and it is amazing to think that the world chose us and watched us win,” Barnard told SABBEX after the ceremony. “COWES is the most prestigious yacht club in the world, the home of the America’s Cup. Sitting there now is a trophy with our name on it. How cool is that?” Barnard said.

The Sustainability Award specifically honours those who promote the overall health of the ocean by implementing sustainability initiatives. It comes with a $10 000 prize, which will go a long way to strengthening the programme.

World Sailing said the Foundation had succeeded in helping to transform sailing in South Africa into a multicultural sport. “The programme has doubled as a life skills initiative, ensuring positive sustainable outcomes around alleviating poverty, reducing inequality, developing education and creating environmental awareness,” World Sailing said in a press release. “The foundation won the Ethekwini Maritime Cluster Award for Empowering Youth in 2017 and was profiled as part of this year’s World Sailing Steering the Course program.”

Nigel Milln, Chairman of Sail Africa, said, “This award really means a lot to us and Sail Africa. Our focus on racing sustainability and looking after our oceans is a huge benefit to Africa and to smaller development bodies like ourselves. It gives encouragement to the rest of the world that together we can make a difference. We are contributing to the newly-developed South Africa and giving enthusiasm and confidence to the people through sailing. It is an amazing thing that sailing does for everybody and we are very grateful to be a part of it.”
Quanhai Li, World Sailing President, said, “I would like to also draw special attention to Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation, winner of the 11th Hour Sustainability Award. This has been a life-changing project and ensures that under-represented communities have the opportunity to take part while showing that the sport prioritises responsible development and inclusion. The potential for this project to be replicated is huge and it will make a lasting difference to the sport and to the world.”

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