South Africans set sail from L

South Africans set sail from London in Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

Eight of the South African entrants on one of the fleet of twelve ocean racing yachts are from The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, a youth initiative who are part of Nelson Mandela’s children’s charity

South Africans set sail from L

clipper 2 (Medium)The only African yacht in the world’s longest ocean race took part in a spectacular parade on the River Thames as the British capital waved off twelve 70-ft boats at the start of their 40,000 mile adventure from Tower Bridge.

Crowds estimated in excess of 120,000 lined the banks of the Thames on Sunday 1 September to cheer on the colourful pageant to mark the start of the Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race.

Invest Africa was one of the fleet of ocean racing yachts that will face the ultimate endurance test.  18 South Africans will take part in the race, as will Sylvia Chahonyo, the first Kenyan to take part in the circumnavigation and Abdoulaye Tangara, the first ever Malian entrant who is a crew member of ONEDLL.

Eight of the South African entrants on Invest Africa are from The Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, a youth initiative who are part of Nelson Mandela’s children’s charity. They were specially selected to participate in the Clipper Race and will form a relay with each team member completing one race leg each.

During the race to 16 ports on six continents they will aim to raise £20 million to help realise the last major legacy of Nelson Mandela.

There are nearly 450 million children in Africa, and only four dedicated children’s hospitals (one in Cape Town, one in Nairobi, and two in Cairo). Initiated by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust has an immediate objective to raise funds to design, build and equip a children’s hospital that is comparable with the best in the world. This hospital aims to admit its first patient in November 2014.

Speaking ahead of the Clipper Race departure, UK-based skipper Rich Gould said, “We are ready to race. Invest Africa are prepped and ready to go sailing. No nerves — just sheer excitement and determination at this point. We feel good.”

“I feel very good about our chances of success in the Clipper Race. I think we are ready and we’re certainly going to give it our best shot. Now, let’s go sailing!”

Clipper Race chairman and founder, the legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, congratulated the Sapinda Rainbow team on successfully completing their extensive three-week training programme in the UK. He said, “I have been involved in a wide range of youth initiatives and have seen what a difference going to sea can be, taking on new challenges and responsibilities in a team environment. I am really pleased that the Sapinda Group has taken the initiative to make this happen. It is wonderful to see these gutsy people set off on one of the greatest adventures left on the planet.

“Departing from the iconic Tower Bridge is something really special for the crews and skippers who have been building up to this moment for months. To see them return to London as accomplished circumnavigators in 11 months’ time will be a special moment,” Knox-Johnston concluded.