South African sponsored ocean racing team IchorCoal has arrived into its ‘home port’ of Cape Town this afternoon. The South African mining company is partnered with the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, which creates personal development opportunities for young South Africans from challenging backgrounds.
The IchorCoal entry is one of twelve Clipper 70 foot ocean racing yachts taking part in the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. It arrived following a 3,400 nautical mile leg from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This has been a tough race for the international teams of trained amateurs led by professional skippers; they have battled against a mixture of strong and light winds which have made for some closely matched racing over the past few days.
IchorCoal has additional cause for celebration as it has clinched an extra two points by winning the Ocean Sprint phase of the race across the South Atlantic. Skipper Darren Ladd reports: “It was a great race and coming into our home port was amazing. The conditions were a lot tougher than I had expected. It was pretty windy, pretty rough and it really didn’t let up until about two hours before Cape Town.
“We were tired by the end of the race but we managed well. Race 1 was champagne sailing and we had almost no heavy weather at all. However this race was heavy weather all the way, but we got stuck into it like we always do and we are here which is great.
“A few days ago we were getting close to Cape Town but still 1,000 nautical miles away and you feel like you are almost there but not quite, and everyone gets pretty tired. The conditions are relentless but the crew never gave up. We kept pushing. There was always a boat just ahead of us we could chase and we always like to do that.
“As we progressed we were knocking off places right until the end and managed to record the fastest time through the Ocean Sprint. The final really close fight with Da Nang – Viet Nam saw us miss out but it just made for a great race.”
20 year old Rveida Lungelo Mthethwa, from Mtubatuba, KZN is one of eight young South Africans chosen as part of the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation relay team: She was selected from over 200 applicants from across South Africa. Arriving into Cape Town, she says: “The race was cold and always wet but wonderful and it was a great race, short and fun. Working with the crew was very nice, everyone is so friendly and Darren is a great skipper. I got on with everyone in the crew and I have definitely made new friends.
“I couldn’t wait to sail into South Africa, especially Cape Town, as I have never been to Cape Town before. I was excited to see Table Mountain. The most difficult thing for me on this race was sleeping on the night watch when the other crew is up. You cannot sleep because the boat is always heeled over, it is very challenging. The highlight for me was everything! Despite the lack of sleep and difficulty of racing, the race was an amazing experience I will never forget.
Rveida completed her matric in 2013 and wants to be a teacher and promote the culture of learning in her community. Mtubatuba has very little facilities for young people and this contributes to the high number of teenage pregnancy among young girls, some of whom drop out of school. Rveida has a young daughter herself and said she has taken a lot from the experience: “I have learnt so much. I can say confidently that I can sail a boat and I know more about boats than I never imagined I would know. The first thing I am looking forward to is a hot shower, then when I get back home I will look into furthering my studies, apply for university and explore my options and take it from there. From this experience I have learnt how to live with different people, to be open towards everyone and to manage my emotions.”
On Tuesday 27 October the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation is hosting the world’s biggest ‘house’ party by live streaming an event from Cape Town, featuring DJ Black Coffee, to raise funds for its 2015-16 charity project: More details on the event’s facebook page.
The Clipper Race Village opens at the V&A on Saturday 24 October until Saturday 31 October. Get up close to the Clipper Race yachts to discover what life is like on board in one of the free open boat tours, running from 27-29 October, and also hear about the Clipper Race experience directly from the people who have taken part during Q&A sessions with our adventurous crew and race skippers.