The Great Optimist Race: A Symbol of Hope and Unity on the Open Seas

4 mins read
sailing inclusivity

The Great Optimist Race is an annual sailing competition that brings together 70 skippers from diverse backgrounds, including celebrities, children, differently-abled individuals, and cancer patients. The event celebrates inclusivity and unity through sailing, promoting inspiration and making a difference. Proceeds from the race go to various charities, and it is a symbol of hope that demonstrates that anything is possible with determination and optimism.

What is The Great Optimist Race?

The Great Optimist Race is an annual sailing competition hosted by The Little Optimist Trust that promotes inclusivity and inspiration. The event unites 70 skippers from diverse backgrounds, including celebrities, children, differently-abled individuals, development sailors, cancer patients, and transplant survivors, all with a shared passion for sailing and a desire to make a difference. The event aims to celebrate diversity and unity through sailing, and proceeds go to various charities.

A Unique Sailing Event Embracing Inclusivity and Inspiration

On Saturday, the V&A Waterfront hosted the fourth annual Great Optimist Race, a one-of-a-kind sailing competition promoting inclusivity and inspiration. The event united 70 skippers from diverse backgrounds, including celebrities, children, differently-abled individuals, development sailors, cancer patients, and transplant survivors, all with a shared passion for sailing and a desire to make a difference.

The Little Optimist Trust, founded by Greg Bertish, organized the Great Optimist Race. Bertish’s excitement for the event was palpable as he expressed his joy at its success: “What an awesome day! We ticked all the boxes in crazy conditions. So much support, so much inspiration, so much fun!”

A Celebration of Diversity and Unity Through Sailing

The emphasis on inclusivity was evident as sailors of varying abilities and backgrounds united to sail for charity and inspire the world. Bertish underscored the importance of the event, stating, “For the first time in sailing, a race was fully represented by different groups of people from all walks of life. Differently-abled, at-risk youth, previously disadvantaged, CEOs, celebrities, doctors, and medical survivors all sailed for charity and to inspire the world.”

Against challenging conditions, it was the Italtile boat crewed by development sailors Amir Yaghya, Shane Joseph, and Josh September that claimed victory. The trio demonstrated exceptional skill in navigating the rough waters and strong winds. Yaghya’s inspiring journey began in Grassy Park, where he started sailing in school and ultimately became a national champion. Today, he teaches sailing at The Little Optimist Sailing Academy, sharing the joys of the sport with children facing difficult circumstances.

Joseph, Yaghya’s teammate, expressed gratitude for the opportunities provided by The Little Optimist Trust Academy. The academy’s emphasis on upskilling through instructor and superyacht courses has profoundly impacted Joseph and Yaghya’s lives, allowing them to serve as role models for children in challenging situations. “It was just the best feeling winning the race on Saturday, and I would like to thank Greg and his team and sponsors from the bottom of my heart,” Joseph said.

Stories of Courage, Determination, and Positive Change

The Ullman Sails team secured second place, followed by the Southern Wind team in third place. Another notable team, Yoyo, consisted of differently-abled sailors Caleb Swanepoel (who lost his leg in a shark attack), Darren Thomas (shot during a robbery, leaving him wheelchair-bound), and Antoinelle Hartze (who lost her leg in a train accident). The trio finished fifth overall but captured the hearts of spectators with their display of bravery and determination.

Swanepoel and Hartze expressed appreciation for the event’s inclusiveness and dedication to helping others. Beyond the race itself, the event aimed to bring hope and happiness to children in need. Throughout the weekend, fifty Cape Town children participated in sailing lessons, visited the Two Oceans Aquarium, and enjoyed lunch at Bootleggers.

Proceeds from the race will support various charities, including A New Breath, Project Flamingo, CANSA, and Jumping Kids. Additional donations and funds from The Little Optimist Trust will be used to enhance facilities at Astra Special School and Heideveld Baptist Church’s Youth Centre, provide training courses for development youth, and launch multi-week Sailing Through Life programs for at-risk children.

The Great Optimist Race epitomizes the power of inclusivity and unity through sailing. In challenging waters and against all odds, the event continues to unite people and inspire positive change, demonstrating that with determination, hope, and a little optimism, anything is possible.

1. What is The Great Optimist Race?

The Great Optimist Race is an annual sailing competition hosted by The Little Optimist Trust that promotes inclusivity and inspiration.

2. Who can participate in The Great Optimist Race?

The race unites 70 skippers from diverse backgrounds, including celebrities, children, differently-abled individuals, development sailors, cancer patients, and transplant survivors.

3. What is the purpose of The Great Optimist Race?

The event aims to celebrate diversity and unity through sailing, and proceeds go to various charities. It is a symbol of hope that demonstrates that anything is possible with determination and optimism.

4. Who organized The Great Optimist Race?

The Little Optimist Trust, founded by Greg Bertish, organized The Great Optimist Race.

5. Who won The Great Optimist Race?

The Italtile boat crewed by development sailors Amir Yaghya, Shane Joseph, and Josh September claimed victory.

6. What was the significance of the Yoyo team in The Great Optimist Race?

The Yoyo team consisted of differently-abled sailors Caleb Swanepoel, Darren Thomas, and Antoinelle Hartze who finished fifth overall but captured the hearts of spectators with their display of bravery and determination.

7. What is the impact of The Little Optimist Trust beyond The Great Optimist Race?

Proceeds from the race will support various charities, including A New Breath, Project Flamingo, CANSA, and Jumping Kids. Additional donations and funds from The Little Optimist Trust will be used to enhance facilities at Astra Special School and Heideveld Baptist Church’s Youth Centre, provide training courses for development youth, and launch multi-week Sailing Through Life programs for at-risk children.

8. What is the message of The Great Optimist Race?

The Great Optimist Race epitomizes the power of inclusivity and unity through sailing. In challenging waters and against all odds, the event continues to unite people and inspire positive change, demonstrating that with determination, hope, and a little optimism, anything is possible.

Previous Story

United in the Square: A Cultural and Diverse Extravaganza in Cape Town

Next Story

Scheduled Water Supply Maintenance: Essential for Sustainable Infrastructure

Latest from Blog

The Hasher Family Estate: An Unforgettable Family and Fine Wine Feast Series

The Hasher Family Estate is launching its Family & Fine Wine Feast Series, featuring a range of events that combine family entertainment, delicious food, and fine wine. Led by coowner Frederik and winemaker Natasha Williams, each event has a unique theme, including exploring the Fynbos ecosystem and seasonal ingredient foraging. Chef Ricky Broekhoven provides refined and familyfriendly dining, making this a fantastic experience for all ages. Space is limited, so book now to celebrate life’s simple pleasures in the stunning HemelenAarde Valley.

Mastering the Art of Sleep During Long Flights: A Guide from an Expert

Finding sleep during long flights can be difficult, but sleep expert James Leinhardt offers practical advice on how to achieve it. Leinhardt’s tips revolve around three essential cornerstones: bodyweight distribution, neck support, and simulating a mattress. By reclining the seat to disperse body weight, using a selfmade neck support, and bringing a lumbar cushion to fill the gap between the back and seat, travelers can transform an airplane seat into a sleepfriendly environment. Leinhardt’s guidance promotes comfort and reinforces the belief that restful sleep is achievable even thousands of feet above the ground.

“A Cape Town Chronicle of Fear, Victory, and a Pursuit of Retribution”

In Cape Town, a 28yearold woman hailed an Uber after work but was met with horror when the driver pulled out a gun and demanded money. In a moment of bravery, she refused to hand over her house keys and fought back with a knuckle duster, managing to escape the moving car and seek medical help. The driver was caught, but the incident caused financial setbacks for the woman, who is seeking compensation from Uber and AIG. Her resilience and courage have inspired hope for justice to prevail.

The Dawn of a New Fitness Era at Cavendish Square with Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness Cavendish in Cape Town is a modern fitness club with stateoftheart technology and facilities dedicated to wellness. It offers an exclusive 4ORCE functional fitness program and new workout machines that are designed to shape the perfect derriere. With its prime location, extended operating hours, and exceptional customer service, Planet Fitness Cavendish is not just a gym, but a sanctuary for fitness enthusiasts. The gym has plans to expand and open 25 additional clubs in the next five years, providing the same exceptional customer service and worldclass facilities.

The Promise of Shelter: A Tale of Shared Responsibility

The South African government is committed to providing housing for its citizens and has allocated a substantial part of its budget to upgrading informal settlements and providing access to basic amenities. Despite fiscal issues and budget reductions, the government is focusing on social and affordable housing and launched initiatives to empower vulnerable groups and small businesses. The government is also aiming to create spatially integrated human settlements, improve disaster and emergency housing, and expedite the issuance of title deeds to deserving beneficiaries.