It has been a year of considerable change for South African Sailing (SAS). Having inherited a strong base the present Council has been determined to further grow sailing and develop wind borne water activities into a premier sporting code in South Africa with international reach.
Some notable achievements include:
- Developing and widely disseminating a SAS Strategy completed with the assistance of Clem Sunter, the renowned futurologist.
- Restructuring the Council to become representative of all disciplines of sailing by co-opting leading proponents of kite boarding, keel boats and multi- hulls to join the already strong representation for dinghy sailing.
- Appointed our first Councillor with an absolute focus on the Transformation of our sport not just in terms of ethnicity but equally with respect to gender and our disabled community.
- Realigned the regional sailing boundaries to match national Constitutional boundaries so making sailing fit our country’s new political dispensation for the first time. This will not only align our administrative structures and facilitate optimal governmental fund raising; it will most importantly provide a proper political foundation for our Transformation ambitions.
- Launched the District Development Program to grow sailing through clubs and regions.
- Established the SA Sailing Team providing clarity to the criteria for Olympic qualification.
- Set out clearly the requirements and the programme to be selected to represent South Africa at the Youth Worlds.
- Making a start on addressing improved Communications.
It is worth restating the SAS Strategy in bullet form:
- Professionalise the management and administration of all aspects of the sport including appointing a CEO of SAS.
- Gaining access to water both for our coastal clubs with the nexus they have with our port authorities and for inland clubs dependant on their good relationships with, inter alia, the Department of Water Affairs.
- Exponentially grow the base of sailing by providing access to a widely diverse spread of South Africans with a special focus on our schools.
- Transforming our sport with an infusion of women, ethnic diversity and disabled sailors.
- Target Elite Performances at the top end of the sport globally with success in the Olympics, ISAF Sailing World Championships, Volvo Ocean Race and Youth World Championships as examples.
Repeating the Strategy will turn it into a mantra by which we evaluate our choices and drive our programmes. Repeated successes will generate the Halo Effect that captures the imaginations and the trust of our sailors, the general public, our government partners, sporting administrators and sponsors both in the public and private sectors.
All sailors are encouraged to take ownership of SAS. This is our sport. Challenge your Councillors and hold your nominated representatives to account. A programme based on the Strategy has been widely disseminated. Check on it from time to time. See what we are doing about it and ask yourself how you might contribute, in whatever way, be it on a grand scale or on a small bite basis. Every building block counts!
We benefit from the support and goodwill of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), the National Lotteries Commission, the National Department of Sports and Recreation, the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation and various Provincial Sports Departments especially Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.They have all helped across a wide front, including making financial contributions. In expressing our appreciation we assure them we are also conscious of the high expectations they have of us and commit to not letting them down.
There are a wide range of activities covered in the report backs of Members of Council. Each one has a specific set of responsibilities. I wish to record my thanks to all Councillors and Sub-Committees for their hard work, self-sacrifice and determination to grow the sport of sailing. A special word of thanks goes to the newly co-opted Councillors for their fresh views and willingness to step into the Deep End with us.
The sterling contribution of the SAS permanent staffers is deeply appreciated. Their knowledge of the organisation is invaluable and good humour in changing circumstances hugely important. I know none will take exception if I single out Rob Holden and Russel Dowse in thanking them as they take leave of SAS after many years, for their sustained efforts over all this time. We wish them well in their endeavours which happily still keep them rooted in the sailing world.
The final and most important thank you goes to our sailing membership. So many have participated in such a wide variety of ways to have made the past year such a phenomenally successful one by any measure for our sport. Keel boat events across the country, multiple national championships and provincial regattas, no fewer than three world championships- Dart 18s, Mirrors and 505s- as well as the first stopover in the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race,were all totally dependent on the selfless sacrifice of so many race officials, race administrators and volunteers. Many doubled up these contributions by simultaneously participating in the events as well.A very big Thank You from SAS for without you there would be no competitive sailing.
We are also are deeply appreciative of the pioneers who are taking on the challenges of introducing new sailors to the exciting world of wind driven sport. There are sailing schools, instructors and benefactors who are increasingly making it possible for many more people to become sailors be they scholars, women, people from historically disadvantaged backgrounds or disabled sailors. Yours is an inspirational contribution that will bring about a Tipping Point that transforms our society.
Internationally, South Africa enjoyed great success. Many raised the flag high with exceptional performances seeing us secure one of three potential Rio Olympic slots (the qualification for the 470 class takes place in October 2015 and the 49er selection is contested in November), no fewer than five world titles and nine world champions, multiple podium finishes at top events and no fewer than three top ten finishes in ISAF World Cup regattas. The range of ages of the competitors, their gender, ethnicity and family relationships speak volumes for sailing being a sport for life, strong in family values and providing a unique platform for transforming a fractured society.
The achievements of South African sailors internationally include:
- Stefano Marcia qualified for the Gold Fleet at the World Championships, thereby securing a Laser spot for South Africa at the Rio Olympics.
- Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson qualified for the Medal Races in the ISAF World Cup events in Qingdao (9th overall) and Miami (8th overall) and in the Kiel Week Olympic Classes Regatta (4th overall), qualified for the Gold Fleet at both the World and European Championships and for the World Cup final in Abu Dhabi.
Other One-Design Classes
- Michaela and Ryan Robinson successfully defended the Robinson family’s Mirror World title
- The Hobie Worlds were a great success for South Africa.
- Hobie 14 Worlds – Gold won by Blain Dodds
- Hobie Tiger Worlds – Gold won by William and Douglas Edwards, Silver won by Blaine and Peter Dodds, Bronze won by Shaun Ferry and Lee Hawkins, The Gold and Silver were won by father and son combinations.
- World Catamaran championship- Gold won by William and Lucinda Edwards (husband and wife team)
- Dart 18 World Championships- Gold won by the family team of Alan and Fiona Kernick, Silver won by Ben Mienie and Lloyd Beyers, Bronze won by Chris Clarke and Morgan Rusch
- Alan Keen finished 2nd in the Laser Great Grand Masters World Championships after the tie break for first place went against him.
- Team Western Cape, a great Rainbow Nation competitor, finished 3rd overall at the 7th International Regatta in Qingdao, China, led by Sieraj Jacobs (Tactician & Team Manager) and Paul Vivian (Helmsman).
- The Race Ahead team also comprising a rich mixture of the Rainbow Nation finished 4th in the 92 boat fleet at the SB20 Worlds with Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson.
- Oswald Smith competed very successfully in four World Kiteboarding events and is currently ranked 3rd overall in the Slalom class.
- David Rae helmed the Carkeek 47 Black Pearl to 2nd place in the IRC 0 Class in the 2015 Annapolis to Newport race.
- James Blakemore’s Swan 53 Music, with its SA crew led by James and Gerry Hegie, notched up a string of podium finishes racing in the Caribbean and Mediterranean this past season, including 2nd place in their class in the 2015 Annapolis to Newport race, 3rd in the Block Island Race Week, 2nd in Class B in the Swan Cup in 2014 in the Mediterranean and joint winner of the 2015 Swan Cup in the Caribbean.
- Mike Bartholomew’s Tokolosh has had a great year racing in the Solent. They were second in Class 1 in the British IRC Championships, 3rd in Class 0 in Cowes Week, won Class 1 in the Myth of Malham Race and 2nd in Class 1 in the Fastnet race.
- Paul Wilcox helmed Tonerre to first in IRC 0 at Cowes.
The SAS Mission Statement is to “Enable sailing for life across all sailing disciplines for all South Africans”.The past twelve months were an important, albeit humble; step in the journey to begin fulfilling this Mission. Much needs yet to be done!