Thandolwethu Thwala, Sunita Hekeman, Nomkhosi Mbatha and Nicolene Hekeman during the sailing excursion. Picture: Zanele Zulu
Thandolwethu Thwala, Sunita Hekeman, Nomkhosi Mbatha and Nicolene Hekeman during the sailing excursion. Picture: Zanele Zulu

Sail Durban's waters for only R100

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Dec 10, 2019

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Most people associate sailing with the mega-rich, but I found that the world of sailing was accessible to everyone for R100.

The Durban sun was out in all its glory when I arrived at the Royal Natal Yacht Club on a Thursday morning for an hour-long sailing excursion.

Seated on the wooden bench overlooking the ocean were four sailors who regularly take people on educational trips.

Sunita and Nicolene Hekeman from Bayhead led the sailing excursion, while Thandolwethu Thwala and Nomkhosi Mbatha offered interesting information about the sailing world.

The four recently came back from a sailing trip in Spain.

As someone who has not mastered his swimming, the girls put me at ease.

“One of the most common questions asked by beginners is whether they were going to die,” said Nicolene, 17, as we proceeded towards the yacht.

“Most of them ease into it as soon as they step onto the pacer 27 (the type of yacht). Most of them end up having a good time,” she added.

Sunita and Nicolene started the engine, while Thandolwethu and Nomkhosi hoisted the sailing flag.

After a few minutes, the yacht started to move deep into the ocean.

Sunita, 19, started sailing at 13.

“For a while now, sailing kind of lost its appeal, or wasn’t considered as an activity for Durbanites, but recently we have seen a lot of interest from people about sailing,” she said.

Thandolwethu, 16, said: “Sailing is a great adventure that everyone should enjoy.”

The girls shared their insight on sailing, and for teenagers, they were quite clued up.

Sailing taught them to step out of their comfort zones.

At one point during the journey, I steered the yacht as we made our way back to its berth.

“Left means right, and right means left,” the girls said as they cheered me on. Back on land, the girls said every Durbanite should consider spending a few hours on the ocean learning how to sail.

“There are many people who are interested in sailing.

“I remember a child as young as 3 and a pensioner aged 70 who came for lessons.

“Literally, anyone can do it,” said Sunita.

The Royal Natal Yacht Club hosts leisure sailing excursions three times a week on Thursday at 5pm and twice on Saturday and Sunday.

The excursions cost R100 a person. Booking is essential. Call 0313015425 or email [email protected]

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