‘Voice’ winner Craig Lucas to swop mike for Great Optimist Race boat

‘Voice’ winner Craig Lucas to swop mike for Great Optimist Race boat

Cape Town – Voice SA season 2 winner Craig Lucas will swop his microphone for a boat when he sails an Optimist (children’s dinghy) in the Great Optimist Race at the V&A Waterfront tomorrow.

His mission is to raise funds and awareness for charity.

Lucas is an ambassador for The Justice Desk and is so passionate about the work the organisation does that he put aside any apprehensions he had about learning to sail and climbed on board.

“A lot of people come to me and ask me for assistance with charity organisations but you always feel after you’ve done something (you’re) not really making a long-term impact,’’ he said.

“I heard about the Justice Desk through them contacting my mom and they are not a charity organisation as much as they are a human rights organisation. They go into underprivileged communities and teach them about human rights.

“They’ve done incredible things. For example, they’ve gone to a school where human trafficking was a bad problem. They taught the kids how to prevent it and actually stopped two girls from being taken within a year.

“The school kids themselves did that. And that’s what they do, they empower communities.”

The organisation also teaches boxing to girls that have been raped and abused. “They get them in every Saturday and give them a boxing class.

“I attended one where they showed me a girl who was new and the girls who have been there for months and the difference in their confidence was amazing.

“The new girl was so sad and quiet and her self-esteem had been destroyed.

“But the other girls were helping her. It’s incredible and they are going to make a big difference and I’m just really happy to be a part of it.”

South African shark-attack survivor sails to victory

South African shark-attack survivor sails to victory

Shark-attack survivor Caleb Swanepoel showed disability is no match for determination when he claimed the Great Optimist Race winner title for the second year in a row at the V&A Waterfront this Saturday.

The Stellenbosch University student, who has a prosthetic leg, was first over the finish line in his Two Oceans Marine boat. He was closely followed by big wave surfer Matt Bromley and double lung-transplant recipient Tanya Bothma.

“I just think it’s such a special event. As much as we are having fun and getting in the water, there’s a bigger picture to it. It’s for an incredible cause and there are so many charities involved, so for me it’s just a privilege to be here, to learn and grow. It’s really special knowing that it’s for something bigger than yourself and it doesn’t matter who comes across the line first at the end of the day,” said Swanepoel.

The Great Optimist Race

Bothma, who is a sailing novice, took the early lead before being overtaken by Swanepoel and Bromley. However, she claimed the fund-raising crown, collecting R40 000 that will be split between Groote Schuur’s Lung Transplant Unit and the Little Optimist Trust.

“Last year someone raced with me. This year I did it entirely on my own,” said Bothma. “There was no wind, so it was really hard, and I was totally exhausted by the end of it, but I loved every minute. The highlight is being able to raise money for the Groote Schuur Lung Transplant Unit.”

Springbok rugby player Scarra Ntubeni and adventurer Riaan Manser joined the unique collaborative charity event, although their size proved a disadvantage when racing the boats designed for children. Singer Craig Lucas and Cape Talk radio host Pippa Hudson also took part.

The Great Optimist Race was a highlight of this weekend’s Cape Town International Boat Show, and involved celebrities, captains of industry and medical survivors – many of whom are completely new to sailing – racing to raise funds for various NGOs and charities.