Grassy Park sailor wins big yet again

Byron Lukas | November 4, 2023

A Grassy Park sailor is riding a wave of success, as he and his crew won the fourth annual Great Optimist Race.

The “world’s most inclusive” sailing event took place last Saturday at the Boatica in the V&A Waterfront.

Seventy skippers participated, including celebrities, children, disabled men and women, development sailors, cancer patients and transplant survivors.

However, it was the Italtile boat, crewed by sailors Amir Yaghya, Shane Joseph and Josh September, who took top honours.

Yaghya, 23, who hails from Grassy Park, says anything is possible for anyone if given a chance and opportunity.

The avid sailor works for The Little Optimist Sailing Academy and recently clinched the national championship that was held at Club Mykonos in Langebaan in September.

The youngster is proud of his achievements, saying: “Having had little to no access to sailing in the past, sailing is becoming more and more accessible and inclusive for all. After winning the SA national championship, then to be able to race to raise awareness and money for under-resourced communities through the Little Optimist Sailing Academy [is great].”

His crew member, Shane Joseph adds: “We are now able to inspire kids and serve as role models for others from heavy and difficult backgrounds where drugs and gangsterism are involved.”

R25 000 was raised for charities like A New Breath, Project Flamingo, Cansa and Jumping Kids.

Additional funds raised by the Little Optimist Trust and Academy will be used to build and renovate the bathrooms at Astra Special School, upgrade the Youth Centre at the Heideveld Baptist Church and for various youth programmes.