Marine Inspirations’ voyage of a lifetime boosts young South Africans’ superyacht and maritime career prospects
Four young South African sailors from less-advantaged backgrounds arrived in Ibiza Town last Wednesday (7 October) on board the 24-metre classic schooner, Aloha-J of Cariba, after a 70 nautical-mile passage from Palma de Mallorca. The maritime students have been in the Balearic Islands participating in a two-week mentoring project organised by Marine Inspirations to give them hands-on seamanship and navigation experience.
The four sailors, aged between 16 and 21, were selected from Cape Town and Durban to take part in the international ‘Marine Inspirations’ programme, which introduces young people to career possibilities in the superyacht industry.
Mfundo Joseph (18) and Xolani ‘Innocent’ Jali (18), both students at Lawhill Maritime Centre in Cape Town, and Nhlanhla ‘Lucky’ Phakathi (21) and Menelisi Mkhize (16), from sail development organisation Sail Africa in Durban, were the four youngsters selected for this opportunity of a lifetime. They were chosen by their teachers based upon the potential and enthusiasm they demonstrated in their maritime-related studies in South Africa.
Marine Inspirations was founded in 2014 by semi-retired superyacht captains Phil Wade and Anthony Just, both originally from South Africa, who have had successful careers in the yachting industry and wanted to “give something back”.
Phil Wade graduated from Merchant Marine Training Institution General Botha at Gordon’s Bay in 1961, and Anthony Just graduated as a naval officer at Gordon’s Bay Naval Officer Training College in 1981 – the same institution, albeit under different organisation and some two decades apart.
“Phil and I founded Marine Inspirations to introduce youngsters from less-advantaged backgrounds to possible careers in the maritime industry. This is the first time traveling on an aircraft for these boys, let alone visiting and sailing aboard superyachts in the Mediterranean,” Marine Inspirations co-founder Anthony Just said.
“This is the third group of youngsters for whom we have organised programmes here in the Balearic Islands. We are extremely grateful to Spike Thompson and Amanda Butler at the Ibiza Rendezvous for inviting us last year to participate in their inaugural regatta in Ibiza last year, which gave our first two young participants hands-on experience of racing in a superyacht event. It was a great experience for the guys last year, and we’re looking forward to taking part in next year’s Ibiza Rendezvous with more visiting student-sailors once again,” he added.
In June this year, another two young students, Thami Hoza and Archie Leeu, from the Lawhill Maritime Centre were invited by Marine Inspirations to fly to Mallorca for two weeks to participate in the prestigious Palma Superyacht Cup event, racing aboard the Perini Navi superyacht P2, while living aboard Aloha-J of Cariba. They also participated in various work experience programmes during their stay.
A total of 13 young sailors have so far participated in Marine Inspirations initiatives in Europe and the Caribbean since the very first initiative of this kind in October last year.
During this recent event just concluded, the four young sailors from South Africa took part in training exercises aboard the classic wooden schooner Aloha-J of Cariba, which was built in 1930 and is part-owned by Anthony. Under the expert guidance of these two highly experienced mariners, Phil and Anthony, activities aboard included rope-work, knot-tying, man-overboard drills, helming, navigation, and passage planning.
During their stay in the Balearic Islands the four young South African sailors visited a number of marine-related businesses to get an insight into the diverse activities and services that are needed to support the superyacht industry. They also visited a number of sailing and motor yachts for guided tours aboard.
Marine Inspirations co-founder, Phil Wade, said: “Our aim is two-fold in that we want to inspire both the young people taking part in our programme and also to inspire marine businesses, yacht-owners, captains, and associated individuals to get directly involved by supporting the project and giving opportunities for young people who would not otherwise dream of this option, to potentially pursue careers in the superyacht industry or other maritime avenues.
“We have an expanding network supporting the programme and that is something we are keen to grow further to provide more opportunities to many more young sailors, not only in South Africa but worldwide. For instance, we invited a number of young people in the Caribbean to sail and race aboard superyachts in Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, and St Barths, during the last winter. These youngsters came from Guyana, Antigua, Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands.”
Marine-related businesses provide the initiative with goods and services in kind, and also by provide work-experience opportunities and yacht visits for participants. The businesses and individuals who kindly hosted the young sailors for work-shadowing visits and yacht tours in Palma were:
Astilleros de Mallorca Shipyard – Jennifer Maul
Master Yachts – Richard Masters and Rob Van Wieringen
Complete Marine Freight – Tom Sell
Carkeek Yacht Design – Shaun Carkeek
J-Class yacht Ranger– Dan Jackson, Captain Tim Michalick and crew
Expedition MY Seawolf– Captain Hugo Herregods
MY Ilona– Chief Officer/Captain Derek Barker
Racing yacht Singularity–Tamzin Gennissen
‘Object Print’ 3D printing – Sebastian and BB Allebrot
North Sails – Scott Zebney and Mark Saddler
Perini Navi, USA – Bruce Brackenhoff
Mike and Tonya Joubert and family
S/Y Clan VIII – Captain David Evans
‘Deckers’ Uniform Supply – David Ireland
SY Lady B - Captain Peter Metcalfe
The four sailors sailed back to Palma from Marina Ibiza on Saturday 11 October and flew back to South Africa on Tuesday evening (13 October).
Source: Seagrass Communications