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 in Cape Town on 19th October 2019.
The Stellenbosch University student, who has a prosthetic leg, was first over the finish line, skippering the Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing 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
“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.
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 the 2019 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!”