Described by some as “apartheid’s dumping ground” and associated with gangs than sporting brilliance, Grassy Park has produced one of the nine yachtsmen, Marco Tobin, in the crew of Gryphon, a leading contender in the 2017 Cape2Rio yacht race presented by Maserati.
The 31-year-old Tobin’s introduction to yachting took place in 1997 when he was just 13 and in Grade 8 at Grassy Park High School. “I was approached by Zeekoevlei Yacht Club, who run a development sailing programme in partnership with Wynberg Rotary. Since then I have taken part in many sailing events in South Africa and abroad.”
“I also wanted to give back to the club, my school and sailing in the country, and thus we created HBYSDT,” adds Tobin. “My goal is to give sailors who come from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to sail on a highly competitive keel boat.”
Is he looking forward to his first Cape2Rio? “I always looked forward to doing the race, and I’m glad my first race will be with a group of experienced sailors that come from a similar background as mine. And I consider them all as great friends.”
Tobin describes his crew boss role on Gryphon as “basically ensuring that when the skipper decides on a manoeuvre the crew is briefed on what needs to be done”.
The nine-man crew of Gryphon has also been drawn predominantly from sailors with similar backgrounds. They are part of the Hout Bay Youth Sailing Development Trust (HBYSDT), an organisation dedicated to fostering empowerment, achievement, determination, hope, pride and success.
The Gryphon team has evolved from development sailing backgrounds, moving up the ladder and proving their worth as competent, competitive sailors.