Yacht donation offers chance of ‘firsts’ for maritime lads

2017-05-04 06:01
Grade 11 students Menelisi Mkhize and Avela May, from Khayelitsha, are two of the many students who will hone their sailing skills in the new yacht. PHOTO: The Photographic Affair

Grade 11 students Menelisi Mkhize and Avela May, from Khayelitsha, are two of the many students who will hone their sailing skills in the new yacht. PHOTO: The Photographic Affair

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Maritime education at Simon’s Town School’s Lawhill Maritime Centre has been given a boost with the donation of a 26 foot yacht to be used for practical sail and navigation training.

The yacht is a donation from the international maritime mentoring programme, called Marine Inspirations and yacht sponsor, the Caimari family from Spain.

The yacht was named ‘Homero’, in memory of the late Homero Caimari, and christened by Anne Wade at an event held at False Bay Yacht Club last week on Wednesday.

‘Homero’ will in future be moored at the yacht club, which has generously provided a berth at no charge at Simon’s Town.

Maintenance of the yacht will be undertaken by maritime students, under the watchful eye of yachting experts.

The yacht, which was purchased second-hand, was refurbished by the maritime students, while the major refitting was arranged by David Abromovitz, a well-known yachting expert.

The Marine Inspirations programme is the brainchild of two South African super yacht Captains Phil Wade and Anthony Just.

Three years ago Marine Inspirations partnered with the maritime centre and the General Botha Old Boys’ Association to provide young South Africans with the opportunity to travel to the Spanish island of Mallorca to participate in a programme which offers young people from financially-challenged backgrounds an opportunity to learn about, and experience, the international superyacht industry.

For many programme participants, the Marine Inspirations experience is one of many ‘firsts’ – from leaving the country and travelling abroad for the first time, to even their first visit to an airport, their first flights, and being the first members in their families to travel abroad.

During their time in Spain, they are also mentored by experts in the yachting industry.

Whenever possible, they even participate in superyacht regattas.

While the Marine Inspirations programme is focused on providing students with practical navigation and sail-training, it is a personally enriching, life-affirming experience which boosts students’ self-esteem and shows them that, no matter where they come from, they have the ability to achieve the life they want if they are prepared to work hard and make the effort and sacrifices.

They are given a brief but important ‘taste’ of a possible future career in yachting and the maritime industry, which is very motivating, and dares them to dream big.

Supporting the Marine Inspirations programme in Spain are also the South African based ‘maritime mentors’ from the General Botha Old Boys Association, which provides bursaries to deserving maritime students.

The students who will participate in the 2017 Marine Inspirations programme will be announced shortly.

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