Despite a wet and chilly start to our Sailing Therapy Day on the 16th October 2021, it turned out to be a beautiful day full of sailing, learning, smiles, laughs, fun, food and gifts.

The children of the vendors working for the Big Issue Magazine, living in Gugulethu and Delft, arrived at the Waterfront just after 8am and were full of excitement for what the day was to bring. The Little Optimist Team welcomed and greeted them with some awesome IMPORTERS hot chocolate – perfect for the cold morning start! They also received an ULLMAN gift bag consisting of a Little Optimist cap, bracelet, the Little Optimist book and workbooks!

As the morning unfolded, the children were given an inspirational talk by our energetic and fun Founder Greg Bertish, who inspired them to survive and thrive regardless of their current situation. They learnt about the importance of water safety and watched some really interesting videos.

It was then time to learn about sailing – The children were very excited and couldn’t wait to get into the Optimist boat on land, before attempting it out on water. After some snacks, the time had finally come to do some sailing! Bublabakhe aged 12 from Gugulethu said that she was nervous to sail, but was also excited. Mogamat aged 17 from Delft said that he had never been on a small boat before and was excited to experience sailing in a dinghy.

The weather conditions were not the best, with some strong gusty winds and sprinkles of rain. This did not dampen the excitement amongst the children. One by one each of the children sailed off in a dinghy with an experienced instructor. This was an experience of a lifetime – Their first-time sailing! Their smiles said it all! Thanks to the gusty winds, it added an extra bit of adventure to the day and gave some of our Little Optimist instructors a run for their money! Many of the braver kids, got to sail their own boats and were able to experience the freedom, speed and feelings of joy, excitement, self-worth and achievement.

After an adventurous sail, there was nothing better than a delicious hot dog and chips for lunch. Unoko aged 15 from Gugulethu, said that sailing had been the best experience ever! Back in the lecture room, the kids learned to tie Knots and then watched a movie about plastic pollution and ocean health. Prizegiving was up next. Each kid received a certificate and a medal for the completion of the Sailing Day.

There was one more surprise waiting for the children, a trip to the TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM. Thanks to the AQUARIUM FOUNDATION, they had the opportunity to have a private lesson and learn about different sea creatures, the rocky shores and the oceans around them. The children were then able to wonder around the beautiful aquarium to visit the sharks, penguins and all their friends.

What a special day! The kids were all smiles and chatter as they climbed into their AFRICAN BLUE TOURS bus for their trip home.

This day could not have been made possible without our sponsors, TWO OCEANS MARINE, ITALTILE, THE EXCELLENCE GROUP, ULLMAN SAILS, SOUTHERN WIND SHIP YARD. And thanks to the V&A WATERFRONT who made this day possible. Little Bublabakhe said “I definitely want to come back, and wish that all my friends could attend to, as it was the best day ever!”