KwaZulu-Natal novice yachtswoman, Nomcebo Siyaya, has described her three-week adventure at sea as challenging.

She has been learning to bake bread and cakes at sea while sharpening her sailing skills.

Siyaya, 19, of Mtubatuba, and the crew of Invest Africa, arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, yesterday, completing the first leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

The Invest Africa is one of 12 70-foot ocean racing yachts participating in the race which started in London last month.

In the past three weeks, the crew have travelled more than 5 630 miles, crossing the Atlantic and the Equator.

Siyaya is one of eight South African participants selected as part of the Sapinda Rainbow Project, endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

Each of the eight youngsters, four from KwaZulu-Natal, will take a turn aboard the yacht until it reaches its final destination, in London, in July next year.

Having only ever travelled as far as Durban, Siyaya said this was the challenge of a lifetime.

“I’ve been on the yacht for a month with very nice people.

“The journey has not been easy. But I have learnt a lot,” she said.

“First we had to deal with the wind, then the lack of wind at the Bay of Biscay and the extreme heat of the Doldrums.”

She said speaking only in English, being away from home for a long period of time and learning how to make cakes and bread at sea was also a challenge.

But she has honed her sailing skills.

Siyaya will be “tagging-in” 20-year-old Hluhluwe resident, Nokulunga Nkwanya, who will assist with the second leg of the race, departing from Rio on Saturday, crossing nearly 4 000 miles of ocean, finally arriving in Cape Town in just over two weeks.

Nkwanya said she was very excited, but also nervous, especially about the massive waves.

Daily News Reporter