Landlubber turns Clipper crewman

2007-11-21 00:00

JOE Xaba, development crew member on board the Durban and Beyond 2010 clipper, will be back at work next Monday - in Howick.

Having waved the boats out of port for the fourth leg of the Clipper 07-08 Round The World Yacht Race to Fremantle, Western Australia, he will return to the Midlands Wellness and Fitness Centre where he is serving his internship.

Xaba said that although the trip is over, he will remember his three-week sail across the Atlantic forever.

“My advice to anyone who gets the same chance is go for it,” he said.

The race is the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, the first man to sail around the world non-stop, single handedly. He created the race when he realised that more people had climbed Mount Everest than raced a yacht around the globe.

Xaba was a legger - a sailor who joins the crew for one or more of the 14 legs of the race. He was sponsored for the homeward journey by the city of Durban. He was also one of the 50% of participants with no sailing experience. For him, the journey was nothing like he had expected.

The most heartbreaking part was “being able to see land for the first time in two weeks and not be able to get to it”.

The local clipper was hit by a strong southwesterly wind on Friday morning and tore its main sail.

The boat limped into port late on Saturday night “counting the trees” along the coast en route, said skipper Ricky Chalmers.

The most challenging aspect of the journey was navigating relations with 15 fellow crew members (on a six-metre deck) who started out as strangers.

“Everyone was in the same boat,” he said. When the sea quickly changed from peaceful to rough and back again, living and working with the crew was a constant learning experience.

Xaba admitted that for an active youngster being confined on board for three weeks wasn't easy. While quiet periods were spent enjoying the ocean and the magnificent sunsets there was a great deal of hard work as well.

Xaba said that he would have loved to have continued for what is seen as the most adventurous part of the race - the trip along the Wild Coast, with land close by on the right, the Agulhas current on the left and massive surf as a constant companion, but said that he doesn't intend to give up sailing and will return to the coast as often as

possible.

The fourth leg of the Clipper 07-08 Round The World Yacht Race begins on Sunday at 1 pm.

Boats will leave the jetty in Durban at 10 am and sail past Wilson's Wharf before heading for open waters

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.