Andrew Pindar from GAC Pindar hosted the second ‘On the Horizon’ panel discussion
GAC Pindar hosts expert panel discussion at The Ocean Race Cape Town stopover
Cape Town, South Africa, 7 March 2023 – GAC Group’s marine leisure, sports and events division, GAC Pindar, hosted the second ‘On the Horizon’ forum during The Ocean Race stopover in Cape Town, to promote diversity and inclusion in sailing.
GAC Pindar collaborated on the event with The Magenta Project, World Sailing Trust and The Ocean Race in partnership with BlueCape, a not-for-profit local organisation which supports the ocean economy, and the South African Boat Builders Export Council (SABBEX), an industry association which links companies across South Africa to represent and grow the local boating industry and promote exports. It featured discussions focusing on how global sailing and the local maritime communities can unite to break down entry barriers in their sectors.
Sam Davies from Biotherm Ocean Racing opened the panel discussions in Cape Town
The Ocean Race has a tradition of supporting inclusion in sailing, with 136 women having competed in The Ocean Race since 1973.
The panel discussion was attended by 80 people, including students from the Lawhill Maritime Centre & South African Maritime Training Authority, the Royal Cape Yacht Club Academy, and young instructors from the Little Optimist Trust, who had the opportunity to network with sailors and technicians from teams competing in The Ocean Race and other stakeholders.
“As a charter member of Maritime UK’s Diversity in Maritime group, it is our duty to champion crucial diversity and inclusion in the sectors we work with,” says GAC Pindar General Manager Jeremy Troughton. “We were delighted to see such a great turn-out at the event which facilitated introductions we hope will positively influence the future direction of those young people who attended.”
Panellists Annie Lush, Thina Qutywa, Linsay Ferguson, Lindani Mchunu
The panellists showcased progress made whilst prompting discussion about what more still needs to be made. They included:
- Sam Davies, sailing with Biotherm Ocean Racing, and Annie Lush, crew member of GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, both competing in this edition of The Ocean Race;
- Linsay Ferguson, from BlueCape, an advocate of transformation of the sailing industry;
- Lindani Mchunu, Marina Manager with V&A Waterfront, credited with driving transformation programmes through his work on diversity in sailing and the wider marine industry in South Africa;
- Nquobile Khuzwayo, a student at South African Maritime Training Academy studying to become Officer of the Watch and has ambitions to be a Captain of a container vessel;
- Michaela Robinson, an intern for 11th Hour Racing Team.
Another panellist Thina Qutywo, a marine engineer working on cargo vessels prior to joining SABBEX as Executive Manager, shared the importance of viewing herself as an engineer amongst engineers: “I am a product of inclusion. More women are becoming part of the boating and boatbuilding industry. But also, more and more people of colour are becoming part of the industry. We need input from everyone to ensure that no one is left behind and people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds know exactly what the industry is about and how they can get into it.”
Panellists Nqobile Khuzwayo & Michaela Robinson
Afikamathemba Mabeso, one of the Lawhill Maritime Centre students who attended said the forum gave her a boost: “I am a sail captain at Lawhill, but I’ve been losing confidence because sailing is known as a male-dominated sport. Hearing all those wonderful women talk about how they became stronger inspired me. Now I know that I too can achieve my goals.”
Creating new pathways
The Cape Town panel discussion follows the first ‘On the Horizon’ forum which was held in Alicante, Spain, a day before The Ocean Race 2022-23 started.
Richard Brisius, Race Chairman for The Ocean Race, says: “This project is an unparalleled collaboration between leading sustainability, diversity and sailing organisations doing what we do best, and working as a team to accelerate action. This means striving to change perception, create new pathways into sailing and even changing the rules of the sport.
“Since the last edition of The Ocean Race we have included women on every team, increased the number of female Race officials and are providing shadowing opportunities in the cities that the Race stops at across the world to give local people the chance to get experience in sailing roles.”
Bruce Tedder, co-founder of local event partner BlueCape adds a legacy project is under discussion: “It was a unique opportunity to work alongside the owners of a world-class sailing event and the presence of The Ocean Race team owners, sponsors and sailors helped highlight what is happening at grass root levels and the positive impact they have on our work.
From left to right – Kutloano Makana, Anga Ndika, Thando Nyawose and Zanele Markus
“It has been 27 years since we had an all-female entry in one of our transatlantic races and we are committed to having another. Working with programmes like World Sailing’s ‘Steering the Course’ and The Magenta Project’s mentee programme will help us get there.”
“Horizon 2030 is a bold goal — achievable if we put in the work needed to reach 50:50 men:women by 2030, but not if we don’t,” adds Jonquil Hackenberg, Chair of The Magenta Project. “The ‘On the Horizon’ events and discussion are keeping us in check, ensuring all stakeholders are actively part of this journey and that we keep moving forward in creating a more diverse and equitable sport for all.”
The next ‘On the Horizon’ event will be in Newport, Rhode Island ahead of the IMOCA fleet’s transatlantic leg to Europe where the final event of the series will take place. For further in-depth analysis of the discussions in Cape Town read The Ocean Race article here.