The Great Optimist Race 2018
The inaugural race took place on Sunday 21 October 2018 in gusty and tricky conditions on a beautiful day in Cape Town. 42 Optimist sailors set off on a tricky 3 lap course through the V & A Waterfront, watched by 1000s of spectators. With the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain, the sailors raced for glory and survival. The competitors comprised of adults made up of medical survivors, local celebrities, Captains of Industry and some pro sailors. Three separate start, beginner, intermediate and pro sailors, allowed for a good handicap and a chance for those who had only learned to sail days before. This unique race was all about overcoming the odds and surviving. It’s about inspiring sick and needy kids to never ever give up and find a passion to live for. So, as in the race of life, this race had some unique curveballs and obstacles for the sailors to overcome. Not only did the wind squalls and gusts in the second basin cause havoc, but so did the pedestrian bridge that opened and closed at will, along with “water pistol armed and dangerous” local celebrities Kieno Kammies and Tanya Neft on their own bigger yacht. These were the disrupters. The competitors had to get past these to cross the line.
It was Caleb Swanepoel, an amputee and shark attack survivor (in the Primi Piatti Optimist) who sneaked in to win the race, just ahead of Jasper Eales in the Sealand Optimist. (Jasper is a liver transplant survivor).
First to sink – Ian Klopper of NSRi in the web tickets Optimist. Jumping the start award – Arno Carstens ( Rock Star). Most committed to the cause and in 3 rd Place – Maryke Musson of the 2 Oceans Aquarium. What a race and what a day! During the 3 days – the Little Optimist Trust hosted sailing experiences and academy’s for kids in less fortunate circumstances. Reach for a Dream kids and their parents got to experience sailing, a captain courage ceremony, the 2 oceans aquarium and lunch at a restaurant. Law hill academy kids and 9 mile project kids were also treated to a day at the boat show, which included all of the above. Fun was had, passion was found, skills were taught and dreams were made real! And that’s what it’s all about. All Optimists will be used in the new Little Optimist Sailing Academy being set up to teach sick and needy kids how to sail.