29 er Team 23rd in the Worlds

2 September, 2022 | Den Haag

Khanya Mafuta and Oliver Holden are a team on the 29er, a two man sailing skiff. Khanya Mafuta is the helm and steers the boat and controls the jib. Oliver is the crew on the boat and trapezes to keep the boat balanced he also works the main and spinnaker sail. Teamwork is essential on this boat if they are even a few seconds out of sync the boat will not stay upright.

The team were selected for the second year in a row to represent their country earning them their Protea Colours.

Due to covid restriction the team could not take part in the Youth World Championship in Oman last year December

However, they got their chance to represent South Africa in the Youth World Championship in The Hague, Netherlands over the July holidays. Only the best youth team in the country is selected to participate in the Youth World Sailing Championship.

The boys flew over to the worlds on the 6th of July 2022. It was Khanya’s first ever trip out of the Cape what to say out of the country. But he is such a brave young man no stress showed and, in the end, he loved the flights.

They landed in Brussels after making a turn in Dubai and took a train ride to Den Haag. A first for both boys.

Here they received a brand-new boat to race in, you could imagine the excitement around the new boat. Every part got discussed and double checked before they were ready to sail.

The big wind that was forecast for this time of the year never materialised and the sailing was done in medium to very light wind.

The Hague proved to be a difficult venue with a very strong current and light winds, and they had trouble getting good starts in the event. The team finished 23rd overall but managed one 9th position, a 18th and two 19th position.

. They also found the large number of boats on the start very challenging as the local fleets are much smaller. The importance of international event practice was proven yet again. It will definitely become a focus to sail more international events in the future.

Both the boys enjoyed making new friends of the water and spent some time challenging the guys and girls on the foosball table. Khanya was quite the legend at this game.

The venue was about a half an hour’s bicycle ride from the launching site, so the boys enjoyed one of Netherlands great past times by riding everywhere on the bicycles that was lend to them.

For their qualifications these two sailors participated in the following events:

24-26 September 2021 29er Western Cape Provincial Championship –  2nd

16 to 22 December 2021 South African Sailing Youth Nationals – 2nd

15 to 18 April Western Cape Provincial Championship2022 Open fleet – 1st

28 April  to the 1 May 2022 – 29er Open South African Sailing Nationals 2022 – 4th

Khanya Mafuta comes from a single parent home and stays in a single room house with his younger brother. Khanya learned to sail about 5 years ago. His commitment to the sport was very prominent and the reason that the Skipperfoundation encourage him to sail on the 29er with Oliver.

Even though Oliver Holden has been sailing from a very young age he was never really interested in competitive sailing. He used to take his boat out in the bay, roll up the sail and fish. However, when he climbed on the fast-racing 29er he completely changed his mind. The fact that he can harness nature and travel the speed he does on the water has given him a new passion for sailing that he wants to take all the way to the Olympics.

The team have been putting in 14 hours a week on the water not counting the hours for fitness to achieve their goals.

Considering the lack of international exposure that the South African sailors receive the 23rd position in the World Championship is extremely good and is a reflection on the time and sacrifices these two sailors have made.

Khanya and Oliver will be spending their spare time teaching up the next generation 29er sailors. Their international experience will benefit their athletes and we are excited to see the calibre of sailors they can generate.



Click on image to enlarge the image.