Unique sailing race goes global

Sailers are being called to participate in a now going global Optimist Race.

Covid has forced many a business to think out of the box, and in the case of a Cape Town-based charity, it’s a case of testing new waters.

For the past two years the by-invitation-only Great Optimist Race has been held in Cape Town, and has involved experienced sailors, celebrities and medical survivors sailing for charity and the work of the Little Optimist Trust.

But the Covid pandemic meant the postponement of Boatica Cape Town 2020, the traditional race host.

Instead of completely cancelling the race, a new, global “Covid-compliant” challenge has been launched.

This year, sailors of any age from across the country and around the world will be able to sign up for The Little Optimist Global Race, and raise funds for charity at the same time.

Anyone who has ever sailed has been invited to climb back into an Optimist sailing dinghy, and take part in the inaugural 2020 charity event.

It is open to anyone of any age, anywhere in the world – as long as you can sail, and can participate between October 9 and 18.

Participants will be required to sail any “Opti” for an hour or more – on any body of water, anywhere in the world – during the race window of October 9 to 18.

Each boat entered will be able to raise funds for charity, which will be split between the sailor’s chosen cause, and the Little Optimist Trust, which hosts sailing therapy days for disadvantaged children.

“I’m so excited to challenge everyone to climb into a Little Optimist children’s dinghy, and sail it for charity, fun and inspiration,” says Greg Bertish, the founder of the Little Optimist Trust. “Even Covid will not stop the Little Optimist and his friends from sailing to raise funds for our foundation and many others.”

If you don’t have access to an Optimist, there are hiring options, at clubs all over South Africa and the world. Or register to use one of the Trust’s Optimists in Cape Town free of charge.

And non-sailors can also sponsor their sailing friends – so everyone can be part of this historic event. Race entry is R150. See www.thelittleoptimistglobalrace.org for more information.