Ross MacKinnon & Alex Falcon ‘Optimist’s of the Month’ – November 2018

Ross & Alex, winners of the 420 Nationals 2018

Ross and Alex both learnt to sail on Optimists. They sailed in all the Western Cape and National Championships over the past few years. Alex represented South Africa at the Optimist Worlds and African Championships and Ross at the African Championships last year. At the start of this year they started training on the 420 together. Their goal for the year was to win the u17 section of the 420 Nationals. They exceeded this by winning the overall title. They will be sailing in the Youth Nationals at the Vaal Dam next month.

Ian Walker ‘Optimist of the Month’ – October 2018

SA National Optimist Champion (2017), Ian Walker finished in a very credible 41st place overall from a fleet of 264 boats at the recent Optimist World Championships held in Limassol Cyprus. Sailing for Team RSA, his position improves on the previous best set by David Wilson (47th) at the Worlds held in New Zealand.

Well Done Ian! You can be very proud of your achievement. We certainly are.

Worlds Team – Karl Hofmeyr, Matt Ashwell, Bryan Carstens, Keagan Nel & Ian Walker.

More on Ian here

Gold Fleet results here

Helen Jansen van Vuuren ‘Optimist of the Month’ – June 2018

Helen first sailing experience was as crew with her Uncle, Andy Wahl in Sept 2013 in the Mirror Nationals at the Vaal dam. That was all it took.
Under the watchful eye of Shellee Nel, Helen started sailing Oppies. At her second Youth Nationals at Wiggleswade 2015, Helen won the first girl. Thereafter she was selected to the African Championship on two occasions, Angola 2016 and Egypt 2017.
In the Mirror class she has also represent SA at two Mirror Worlds, 2015 Theewaters and 2017 at Restronguet Sailing Club near Falmouth in Corwall,UK.
Helen has opted to move onto the Laser class and would like to take this opportunity to thank all her fellow oppie sailors for all the memories and friendships made. Wishing Team RSA all the best for Africans and Worlds.

Rivaldo Arendse ‘Optimist of the Month’ – April 2018

Rivaldo started his sailing career in optimists being part of 6 sailors selected from Du Noon. Immediately out of the 6 he showed the most potential. Of the 6 he was the only one to persevere with sailing and he genuinely loves to sail.

Rivaldo has competed all over the country competing in all the Grand Slams as well and Regional Championships and Nationals as well as Mirror Worlds.

Rivaldo out grew his Optimist at 13 after sailing it for 4 years and moved onto the Laser. He was quickly spotted by Roger Hudson and Asanathi Jim from Race Ahead and invited to join their program. He competed in the 2017 Sonnet Nationals with Roger where they placed second.

Rivaldo was then selected to compete in the 2017 Youth Worlds in Sanya, China, with Benji Daniels on a 420. With only 2 months to prepare they achieved a middle of the fleet finish in a highly competitive competition on a boat neither had sailed before.

Most recently Rivaldo sailed his Laser 4.7 into first place overall at Hermanus Classic Regatta.

Rivaldo is always smiling and cheerful and is the first person there when you need help. He is a true inspirational sailor.

Sean Kavanagh ‘Optimist of the Month’ – March 2018

When I first met Sean about 6months ago he was sailing in the B-fleet at ZVYC. But within 3 months of watching him improve Sean ended up in 3rd position at nationals which is a great achievement. I’ve never seen anyone improve so quickly and understand the sport so well and that is why I feel he should be sailor of the month.

Sean competing at the recent Youth Nationals in Midmar

Greg Bertish ‘Optimist of the Month’ – February 2018

In April 2016 Greg Bertish sailed an 8 foot Children’s Optimist dinghy around the Cape of Storms. He crossed False Bay, rounded Cape Point and headed for Langebaan Lagoon on the wild West Coast. His 200-kilometre journey matched the 200 days he had spent in hospital fighting life-threatening heart infections.

He raised R300 000 towards a new Intensive Care Unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Greg hopes this journey of a REAL Little Optimist and his Children’s book about a little believer with a HUGE heart,will help teach kids that being small, sick, poor or different is OK. And prove that they too can survive and thrive. His  story will inspire kids and the world to believe in themselves, get better, be better and follow their passions and dreams.

Greg Bertish is a big wave surfer and a South African Champion Lifesaver and Stand Up Paddle Boarder.

He is an ambassador for the Children’s Hospital Trust and the National Sea Rescue Institute,and founder of the Shark Spotter Program. He has helped raise over R2 million for these charities to date.

He has achieved all of this as a Multiple Heart surgery survivor and patient. He continues to promote conservation, water safety, healthy living and optimism.

He is supported and empowered by Warwick Wealth, to go out there and Just Do Good!

Thank you for choosing an Optimist in your endevour to make a difference. We salute you!

Be an Optimist & Never Ever Give Up!

The Little Optimist http://thelittleoptimist.org/