IchorCoal has slipped lines in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1800 UTC) and started racing across the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Town in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Sponsored by the South African mining company IchorCoal and partnered with the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, the IchorCoal entry is one of twelve Clipper 70 foot ocean racing yachts taking part in the 40,000 nautical mile global challenge.
On board the South African sponsored team is Rveida Lungelo Mthethwa, a 20-year-old from Gunjaneni, Mtubatuba who is one of eight young South Africans chosen to take part in the world’s longest ocean race as part of the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation.
Rveida is one of 218 amateur crew participating in this second leg of the Clipper Race, named the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms after the race’s Official Wine Partner from South Africa. Before starting the adventure that entails crossing almost 4,000 nautical miles and spending more than two weeks at sea, Rveida said: “To be a young South African woman sailing into Cape Town is such a unique thing, I can’t really put it in words other than I am very proud. I am willing to do my best on the boat and help the team to win this race to South Africa because that is my home land and many people are looking forward to seeing the IchorCoal boat.
“When I come into Cape Town I want to feel like a queen because I’ll have sailed for almost three weeks and not many people around the world get the chance to sail a racing yacht across an ocean. Not bathing for three weeks is going to be a huge challenge for me. I don’t care about the waves, they are fine, but not bathing is a probably the most difficult thing for me. I’m looking forward to sailing with our Skipper Darren Ladd and the rest of the crew. I can’t wait to be on watch, I love the watch, the night watch especially.”
The fleet left London at the end of August and arrived in Rio one month later. IchorCoal is currently sixth in the Overall Race Standings and its British Skipper Darren Ladd is hoping it make a strong impression heading into Cape Town. Darren said: “This being effectively our homecoming leg we really want to do well in the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms. I love South Africa and I love Cape Town so am definitely excited to go back. Two years ago when the Clipper Race had a stopover in Cape Town I actually came down to see the boats coming in and then spent seven months there teaching sailing. So I know Cape Town well and Langabaan just further north.
“During Race 1 from London to Rio our attitude changed entirely. We got stuck in the Ushant Doldrums at the beginning and we were drifting backwards, falling into last place and all those sorts of things. We looked at each other and said winning isn’t everything but coming last isn’t what we want to do. It turns out we are really quite competitive.”
Rveida was born in Mayville, Durban and is the third child from a family of six. She was raised by her grandmother because her mother was working in Mtubatuba and she later joined the whole family there. Rveida completed her matric in 2013 and wants to be a teacher and promote the culture of learning in her community. Rveida has a young daughter and has never travelled outside South Africa; this will be the first time she has experienced being out of the country.
Since arriving in Rio, Rveida has had the chance to speak to Zanele Mweni, 18, who was the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation Ambassador for the first leg of the race from London to Rio de Janeiro. Rveida said Zanele’s experience has given her confidence before setting off: “My friend Zanele told me how the whole IchorCoal crew was so good to her, picked her up when she was down and made her laugh. I have been welcomed with open arms, everyone is very sweet.
“My friends, my family and my community all think I’m crazy. I told them once you get on the boat you see that everything is fine, it’s not scary. I’m very confident and although we would love to win, the aim is to have fun and enjoy sailing. Once I’ve finished the race then I would like to go to university and become a teacher. No one can take ever take away from me the sailing skills I have developed, so the Clipper Race and the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation have given me something that I can never lose.”
The ten ambassadors were shortlisted to take part in the race from nearly 200 applicants, aged 18-23, by the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation and come from a wide range of challenging backgrounds across South Africa. The opportunity, funded by the Foundation, aims to provide new personal development skills to the ambassadors that they can give back into their communities and use to inspire others. They will be supported by mentors beyond their Clipper Race experience to help them pursue their career goals.
Each ambassador will take part in a leg of the race and this year the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation crew members will help to raise awareness and funding for innovative research into the long term effects of HIV treatment by the Ndlovu Care Group in Limpopo, South Africa, where one in five of the population is infected with the virus.
The Clipper Race was set up by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-9. His vision was to enable people, regardless of their sailing history the chance to take part in ocean racing no matter what their background.
IchorCoal is a thermal coal explorer, developer and miner that operates in South Africa. The company has positioned itself over the last few years to grow coal production significantly and to continue participating in the ongoing consolidation of the South Africa coal sector.
Race 2: The Stormhoek Race to Cape of Storms, Cape Town, South Africa, departs Marina da Gloria on Wednesday 7 October at 1500 local time (1800UTC).