The Youth Regatta starts tomorrow at the Royal Cape Yacht Club. Picture: Warren Williams/Supplied
Cape Town - Cape Town’s young sailors are gearing up for the annual Youth Regatta starting on Saturday at the Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC).

The two-day event invites sailing youngsters from all backgrounds not only to come and enjoy racing, but also to leave the ocean surrounding the Western Cape a bit cleaner and plastic-free.

The organisers of the regatta, the RCYC’s own sailing academy, have teamed up with global non-profit organisation Sailors for the Sea this year in delivering a “clean regatta”.

Every participating boat will be handed a biodegradable bag for collecting waste from the water - the team who returns with the most plastic on board wins a prize.

RCYC Sailing Academy head Lindani Mchunu emphasised that educating young sailors about the environment and combating plastic pollution of our oceans was vital, as they learnt to respect and protect their own “playground”.

“Our youth will inherit what we leave behind. To make them aware of the plight of our oceans and the urgency required to keep them clean is to secure their future.

"The Youth Regatta represents the celebration of youth from all walks of life coming together to share in our natural heritage, the incredible and indomitable ocean.”

Formed about 20 years ago, the RCYC’s Sailing Academy now trains about 100 Cape Town youngsters from various backgrounds, enabling them to learn skills related to sailing and the boating industry, with the long-term goal being to introduce them to participation in the oceans economy.

Several academy students have been employed by the local maritime industry.

RCYC Commodore Vitor Medina said: “Cape Town is surrounded by water. It only makes sense to train our youngsters not only to enjoy our oceans for leisure, but also to be taught technical skills, for them to ultimately benefit from the huge potential of our maritime economy.”

Cape Argus