The Great Optimist Race 2019

The  Great Optimist Race 2019  was held during the Cape Town International Boat Show, on October 19th at 12 o’clock.  40 Optimist Children’s dinghies were raced by adults ( Celebrities, Medical Survivors & Captains of Industry)  not only for glory, but also to raise money and awareness for the charity of their choice . The Race is a FANTASTIC and UNIQUE fundraising event , spreading Optimism and Hope across so many sectors. All the funds raised by each boat will be split between The Little Optimist Trust and the charity supported by that boat. 

Charities Represented at The Great Optimist Race

The Great Optimist Race will be taking place on October 19 in the V & A Waterfront, during the Cape Town International Boat Show.  It is one of the most unique and fun charity events in the country, raising awareness for The Little Optimist Trust and all of the charities participating in the race this year. It is also a major fundraising event and we hope to raise R500 000 this year for all the charities involved. 

For 2019 all our Optimist boat sponsors are partnered with a charity of their choice. These are the charities involved in the 2019 Race:

Shark-attack survivor sails to glory

Shark-attack survivor Caleb Swanepoel showed disability is no match for determination when he claimed the Great Optimist Race winner title for the second year in a row at the V&A Waterfront this Saturday.

The Stellenbosch University student, who has a prosthetic leg, was first over the finish line in his Two Oceans Marine boat. He was closely followed by big wave surfer Matt Bromley in the Sail and Leisure/ Sea Change boat and double lung-transplant recipient Tanya Bothma.

“I just think it’s such a special event. As much as we are having fun and getting in the water, there’s a bigger picture to it. It’s for an incredible cause and there are so many charities involved, so for me it’s just a privilege to be here, to learn and grow. It’s really special knowing that it’s for something bigger than yourself and it doesn’t matter who comes across the line first at the end of the day,” said Swanepoel.

Bothma, who is a sailing novice, took the early lead in the Spear Riet/ New Breath boat, before being overtaken by Swanepoel and Bromley. However, she claimed the fund-raising crown, collecting R40 000 that will be split between Groote Schuur’s Lung Transplant Unit and the Little Optimist Trust.

“Last year someone raced with me. This year I did it entirely on my own,” said Bothma. “There was no wind, so it was really hard, and I was totally exhausted by the end of it, but I loved every minute. The highlight is being able to raise money for the Groote Schuur Lung Transplant Unit.”

Springbok rugby player Scarra Ntubeni (sailing for Newborns Trust) and adventurer Riaan Manser (Sunflower Fund)  joined the unique collaborative charity event, although their size proved a disadvantage when racing the boats designed for children. Singers Craig Lucas (The Justice Desk)  and Majozi (Paedspal) and Cape Talk radio host Pippa Hudson also took part.

The Great Optimist Race was a highlight of this weekend’s Cape Town International Boat Show, and involved celebrities, captains of industry and medical survivors – many of whom are completely new to sailing — racing to raise funds for various NGOs and charities.

The race, which is the brainchild of charity campaigner Greg Bertish, raised over R500 00 for charity. This was via the sponsorships of boats that raced on the day, and via fund-raising efforts by participants for their chosen charities and the Little Optimist Trust.

“This was a truly fantastic day,” said Bertish. “So many charities, celebrities, captains of industry and survivors, all having fun, all doing good, all raising funds and spreading inspiration by the boat load!” 

All photos by John Hishen at  @capetownsportphotography

Video by John Hishen at  @capetownsportphotography

Please take a read through the PR Report for the 2019 Great Optimist Race.