PRESS STATEMENT

25/02/2016

For Immediate Release 

MEDIA RELEASE

Re:Youth Regatta for The 1ST Annual Durban Maritime Summit

An exciting youth two-day sailing regatta kicks off tomorrow in the Port of Durban as part of the 1st Annual Durban Maritime Summit, giving delegates and members of the public a chance to experience the beautiful yachting marina first hand.

Organised and hosted by Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation the regatta includes young sailors from schools, youth centres and sailing clubs around Durban.

Sail Africa Youth Development, is a non-profit organisation that provides education, skills training and personal development and empowerment through the medium of sail training.

Although this is the second Sail Africa Interschools Keelboat Regatta, the event has been realigned with the Durban Maritime Summit and will become an annual event aimed at promoting skills development and career choices in the maritime sector in the City.

The first round starts in the afternoon of 26 February from 2pm to 4pm and will include boats sailed by learners studying nautical science as a matric subject. These schools include G Zuma High School, Zwelibanzi High School and Sithengile Secondary School.

Round two takes place on Saturday, 27February from 10am to 12 noon and is expected to include a number of boats crewed by youth groups and the junior sailors from the Point Yacht Club.

Round 3 also on Saturday is scheduled for 12.30 to 3.30 pm when six boats from local Durban schools including Glenwood Boys High School, Rossburgh High School, Eden College, Umhlanga College and New Forest High School will take to the water.

The winners and runners up from each of the Rounds will participate in the final race of the regatta.

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“The Interschools Keelboat Regatta is aimed at showcasing the Port of Durban as a maritime recreational and educational centre. Durban is the ideal home for yachting in South Africa as its temperate climate and warm water mean that there is no off season. This is not only a great opportunity to put the City on the map for water related sports but also to grow tourism and stimulate business around that,” said Sail Africa’s Jackie Barnard, co-ordinator of the Sail Africa Interschools Keelboat Regatta.

According Barnard said even though many young Durbanites live close to the coast, most have not had the opportunity to connect with the maritime environment.

Sail Africa provides a number of different youth training programmes which include learning to sail on board keelboats, boat handling and marine awareness. This is done using Sail Africa’s fleet of L26’s yachts that are moored at the marina in Durban harbour.

Sail Africa also provides a practical boat handling course for Grade 10 and 11 Nautical Science learners. They come from township schools including Zwelibanzi High School, Sithengile Secondary School and J.G. Zuma High School.

As a minimum requirement, the curriculum demands a six week learn to sail and crew programme.

“Nautical Science learners are expected to exhibit experience and knowledge that can only be gained from practical sea going experience. However, these young learners have no experience of the sea and lack the opportunity to handle boats,” says Barnard.

Thanks to Sail Africa, the learners now spend an afternoon per week sailing L26’ yachts in Durban Bay.

She points out that, while sailing can be considered as a sport or recreation with a view to a career in the maritime industry, it also provides a more holistic educational experience.

“The practical experience gained from such exposure cannot be replicated in a classroom. This course offers learners an opportunity to become familiar with and learn to respect the maritime environment. Sailing promotes a healthy lifestyle. It demands physical fitness, balance and co-ordination and leads to good all round health and a feeling of well-being.

“Sailing is weather dependent and demands an understanding of weather conditions, currents, and particularly, wind direction, wind strengths and an appreciation of the forces of nature. Modern city youngsters are often not exposed to nature and are unaware of the effects nature has on life. Sailing teaches these skills,” she says.

ENDS

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

Gugu Mbonambi on 0313114855 or email:gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za
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