Bradley Felix and Ronaldo Strauss are surely very lucky lads. They are students at the Lawhill Maritime Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, where they are finishing their last three years of secondary schooling, studying the normal curriculum subjects plus Marine Economics and Nautical Science
. They are bursary students from underprivileged and less-advantaged backgrounds, and both aspire to embracing a maritime career at sea.
Marine Inspirations, a charitable initiative founded by two retired super-yacht captains, arranged sponsorship to fly the two seventeen-year-old lads from Africa over to Mallorca to expose them to the dynamic super-yacht scene here in the Balearics over an eleven day period.
The two candidates were chosen by the headmaster of their college based on suitability within their study-year and their study results. It was the first time that Bradley had been on an aeroplane, let alone out of South Africa. Ronaldo is from the small fishing town of Luderitz, in Namibia. The boys arrived in Palma on Saturday the 4th of October, and sailed aboard the 24 metre classic schooner “Aloha-J of Cariba” across to Ibiza to participate in the exciting new Ibiza Rendezvous Regattaevent. During this time they were fully integrated as part of the yacht’s crew and gained valuable hands-on seamanship experience.
As part of the mentoring program they were also taken for tours aboard eight other yachts – both motor and sail – meeting the crews and being shown the diversity that exists in yachts and boats, both in size, concept, and type. With a busy sailing programme underway in Ibiza not much spare-time was left over, but the boys did get the chance to see and explore the old-towns and culture of both Palma and Ibiza. All-in-all this has been a life-changing experience for both of these young men. One can imagine the stories that they will be able to regale their friends with when they get back to Cape Town this week…
Marine Inspirations, the brain-child of Anthony Just and Phil Wade, was started in May this year and this is their first project. Anthony and Phil say that their ambition is to encourage youngsters to take up and embrace the career-path that gave both of them such an adventurous lifestyle in yachting and world-experience in years gone by. They want to inspire and involve other yacht owners and captains to assist with similar mentoring programs on a direct student-by-student basis. Marine Inspirations will act as the platform and forum to put boat captains and owners in direct contact with prospective young mariners. This would mean that the interested sponsor would contact Marine Inspirations via their website www.marineinspirations.org and would then be put directly in touch with a suitable young candidate – not necessarily only from southern Africa, but from anywhere in the world. The sponsor can then offer a berth or sailing-time aboard their yacht for a regatta, delivery-voyage, or simply for a work-experience period.
If a yacht is not readily available for use, or not actually owned by the interested sponsor, then the inspired supporter could themselves anyway sponsor a student aboard another yacht by providing a flight-ticket, or by helping to cover event-expenses, in amounts no matter how large or small. Marine Inspirations intends to avoid handling – as far as possible – any cash donations, but rather structuring the concept so as to put the two parties in direct contact with each other during the planning stages and event period.
Following the great success of the dynamic new Ibiza Rendezvous event, the Marine Inspirations team are now actively researching the next suitable event and are encouraging people to visit their website so as to get actively involved with such a worthwhile and valuable initiative. www.marineinspirations.org