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Stars of the future take to the water to do their bit for charity
- Updated: March 9, 2016
A total of 30 young sailors will take to the water for the gruelling, non-stop MAC 24 challenge at Milnerton Aquatic Club this weekend in a bid to sail as many laps as possible in the allotted 24 hours.
Three teams of 10 kids, ranging in age from seven to 14 will sail unassisted, working in shifts to make it through the night. At the same time, they’re hoping to raise over R25,000 for the Afrika Tikkun charity that is dedicated to investing in education, health and social services for children, youth and their families.
‘The children have all taken part in the youth training programmes at Milnerton Aquatic Club over the past few years, so there is a mix of youth sailors from complete beginners, seven years old (only just passed a level 1 and 2 courses) to our more advanced sailors who race Optimists and regularly take part in Grand Slam regattas across the region, aged up to 14,’ explained Jason Baldwin, one of the organisers of the event.
‘Training for the MAC 24 has been progressing well, with three training sessions completed over the last eight weekends. They’ve been preparing the boat for speed, sailing the boat over longer distances, and practising changeovers from one crew to another,’ added Baldwin.
The MAC 24 is being held at the Milnerton Aquatic Club on Rietvlei near Table View, Cape Town. It starts on Saturday at noon, and finishes 24 hours later. There are over 30 teams competing in this year’s 19th edition of the race in different double handed (or greater) classes.
‘The kids will be managing and sailing the boats themselves, although also supervised by MAC safety boats and NSRI boats on standby,’ said Baldwin. ‘They’re not allowed to sail in over 25 knots of wind. They’ll take it in turns to do one-hour laps, changing over every hour, with the more experienced sailors taking on the stronger winds and night shifts.
‘This type of event really teaches the power of teamwork. They’ll only perform if they act and support each other as a team. It also helps to teach those who are not as experienced to learn from the more experienced sailors, those who have done it before.
‘They’re also learning about organisation and planning. Being able to schedule who needs to sleep, who needs to eat, who needs to sail is all important in having a well-functioning team. They’re also learning that everyone has a role to play, the top sailors can’t act as individuals. They also need to consider the role that everyone can play,’ added Baldwin.
To sponsor the teams and contribute towards raising funds for Afrika Tikkun, log on to: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/mac-24-hour-sailing-race