Exciting league venture hopes to attract new crews | SASCOC - SASCOC

Exciting league venture hopes to attract new crews

KwaZulu-Natal have announced a diverse team to compete at the launch of SA Sailing’s national Team Sailing League in Cape Town next weekend.

With a mix of ages, backgrounds and experience, the KZN team are looking forward to getting out on the water at the Milnerton Aquatic Club for the launch on 9 September.

‘The oldest member of the team is 57 and the youngest is 15. The team is very varied, with some members coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, with little sailing experience and few opportunities in life, while other sailors have attended international regattas and have had a lot of sailing experience,’ explained Cay Hickson, SA Sailing KwaZulu-Natal regional coordinator.

‘Two young sisters, Sunita (17) and Nicolene (15) Henkeman, are members of the Sea Cadets, and though they are young they are very professional in their outlook.’

Asked what the benefits of the newly-introduced Team Sailing League are likely to be, Hickson said: ‘The launch of the TSL will introduce new people to the sport of sailing, and help youngsters develop both as people and in their ability to interact with other more experienced sailors.

‘The youth are learning life skills, such as being responsible, why they must reply to messages, why they should be at practice on time, and are being taught that if they are late the whole team is delayed. They are learning the team is only as fast as its slowest member.’

Hickson added that a sailing league in this team format is breathing new life into the sport.

‘Team sailing introduces a new aspect to sailing in South Africa in general, as it is a different way to race compared to the usual regatta format.

‘It means that the best sailor must try to stop the other team from getting to the finish line, by blocking the opposition team boat’s wind. The next best sailors in the team can then try to get to the finish line, while the best sailor is blocking the opposite team’s boats.’

Anyone keen to find out what team sailing is all about, is encouraged to join in the fun, as different groups will go head-to-head in a demonstration of what can be expected in the national league. There’ll also be a chance for the public to rub shoulders with the country’s top sailors as they show how it’s done.

The TSL will essentially be split into four tournaments: a Youth Team Sailing League, an Inter-club Sailing League, a Corporate Challenge and a Women’s Sailing League – targeting specifically identified areas in which the sport can expand and develop.

Teams from across the country will converge on Table View for the launch, and Hickson can’t wait.

’I’m looking forward to seeing 28 boats out on the water, creating a great visual spectacle, and I’m hoping to see the team having fun and working together.

‘With the support of the whole team, the less experienced members of the team will be encouraged to gain confidence in their sailing abilities. The more experienced sailors are helping the novices learn how to sail, and they hope to go out and see if they can win some races.’

Those interested in more information or getting involved in the SA Sailing TLS can contact: [email protected]

In the picture are Sunita and Nicolene Henkeman

KZN team: Lorraine Duggan-Jones, Cheyenne Maxine Naidoo, Nomkhosi Mbatha, Nicolene Henkeman, Sunita Henkeman, Mpilo Xhosa, Andrew Heathcote, Nhlanhla Phakathi, Rudi Fokkens, Dylan Albert, Tristan Uys, Jethro Brophy Tintinger, Reserves: Refeloa Zililo and Chad Stevenson

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