Friday, 29 February 2008

International Youth Exchange during Tall Ships´ Race 2008

South Africa joins this year aboard Norwegian Tall Ship Christian Radich

Cape Town, (February, 2008). It is official! For the second time, South Africa has been invited to send a South African team of 10 youths (between 18 and 25 years) to participate in the Tall Ships’ Race 2008, aboard the Norwegian Tall Ship Christian Radich. It is a very fast and impressive ship that has won several Tall Ships’ Races in the past. The voyage will start in Bergen (Norway) on 11 August sailing to Den Helder (Netherlands) where they will arrive on 22 August. The South Africa’s participation in the Tall Ships’ Race 2008 is made possible by SASLA, the South African Sail Training for Life Skills Association.

The South African Team

The South African team will consist of a mix of youth from different social and cultural backgrounds, both self paying and sponsored. On top of the list for sponsored youths are Sakhekile Qoyi, 18 from Delft, and Theo Braaf, 19, who qualified for the Tall Ships Race in 2007, but could not leave South Africa since their passport could not issued in time due to the public strike. They are followed by Valentino Scholz, 17, Phillipi and Thandikaya Ncosani, 23, Khayelitsha who were part of the back up team. The number of sponsored youths depends on the amount of sponsorships that the project can attract. A South African mentor will accompany and support the South African team during the voyage and will support the Christian Radich Crew in facilitating the international youth exchange.

Application process

Any youths between 18 and 25 is invited to apply to SASLA to receive sponsored berths and to become part of the South African team. No prior sailing experience is required but SASLA will assess all applicants in regard to a set of selection criteria. There are a limited number of full bursaries available.

Intercultural youth exchange

The South African team will sail together with 70 trainees from 16 different countries. The main part of the voyage is the race, so the crew and trainees have to cooperate closely on board: watch keeping, climbing the yards, setting the sails, steer the vessel, but also cooking and cleaning. The youth exchange programme on board is facilitated by the Dutch organisation At Sea Sail Training. During this exchange it is the SA Team’s responsibility to proudly represent their home country and to inspire as many people as possible to visit their beautiful country. It will be a great opportunity to make new friends, have a good time, learn new languages, other cultures and work together for another victory!

Preparation and Follow Up

The preparation and follow up program will be facilitated by Cape Windjammers Education Trust, who offers sail training voyages for life and leadership skills development aboard recreational yachts in the Western Cape. The preparation will focus on forming the South African team and on training team members in photography and video taking, writing, computer and public speaking skills. During the follow up the team will develop personal navigation plans for their lives back home. They will also organize an event where they report their experiences to families, friends, donors and the larger public.

Experience of a lifetime

Tall Ship Sailing is a life-changing experience – as Belinda, 21 from Langa, SA team member in 2007, describes her experience: The biggest achievement for me was climbing up the mast while the ship was moving. It was one of the greatest moments because I thought I never would be able to do it and I was so scared. I was so proud of myself that I conquered my fear. When you are up the mast you see a great view of the ocean and islands. After having climbed the mast I felt I could overcome everything in my life if I only work hard”.

Dreams can come true – Sponsorships needed

The program is partly sponsored by the UK based charity Tall Ship Youth Trust. Additional sponsorships are needed for travel costs as well as preparation and follow up program.

The Tall Ships’ Races

The Tall Ships’ Races are held every summer in European waters. Each year between 70 and 100 vessels from 15-20 countries, crewed by some 5-6,000 young people from over 30 countries worldwide, take part in this unique event. During the racing series the young crews get the chance to gain experience by sailing with their contemporaries from other countries while facing the physical and emotional challenges that only the ocean can provide.

South African Sail-Training for Life-Skills Development Association (SASLA)

SASLA has been formed after the success of the South African participation in the Tall Ships’ Races 2007. SASLA promotes and assists the provision of opportunities for training under sail to youth and adults to foster the development of sustainable life skills, constructive citizenship and the art of seamanship. SASLA is also assisting the campaign towards a South African owned Tall Ship. Part of the current SASLA working group are the two Cape Town based non-profit organisations Cape Windjammers Education Trust (, and Izivungu vungu Sailing School (, who selected and prepared the South African team in 2007. New SASLA working group members are the Western Cape Sea Scouts and the Jewish Maritime League.

For more information please take a look at the first South African Team participation in the Tall ship race 2007. (See:

If you are interested to become part of this exciting project as trainee or as sponsor, please contact: Dr Antje Nahnsen.


SASLA c/o Cape Windjammers Education Trust
Antje Nahnsen, 68 Chamberlain Street Woodstock 7925 Cape Town
Ph: ++ 27 (0) 21 4481618
Email: or