Clipper Race – Mency Modolo Takes on the Pacific

clipper san fran to panama
Invest Africa

A young Mtubatuba resident is preparing to take part in the penultimate race of the 40,000 mile long Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Mency Modolo, 20, is one of ten young South Africans aged 18 to 23 who have been chosen to take part in the Sapinda Rainbow Project. The aim is to develop young community leaders of the future and the ambassadors will also raise international awareness and funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital through their participation in the race.

Mency has joined the fleet on board the Invest Africa entry, one of twelve Clipper 70 foot ocean racing yachts to race 5,240 miles of ocean, from San Francisco, USA transiting the Panama canal to Jamaica to finish in New York – spending over three weeks at sea.

Embarking on her adventure, Mency says: “I was at school when I heard about the Sapinda Rainbow Project and I was one year from graduating – I did not have a job or any hobbies, so the project was my first experience outside of school. I did not know anything about sailing at all, I had no idea what it was or what the race was before I became an ambassador.
“When I told my friends and family I was joining the race as part of the Sapinda Rainbow Project they were happy for me – I tried to explain to them what I was doing but they didn’t understand so I showed them a couple of videos of the race and then when they understood they told me it would be really difficult and that I am too young  – that made me more determined!”

The initiative is funded by the Sapinda group, an investment holding company with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Dirk van Daele, Sapinda Executive Committee member and CEO of Anoa Capital, participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and saw how it developed young people from around the world in building their confidence and leadership skills. It inspired him to see how he could offer a similar opportunity to young South Africans who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.

Mency adds:  “I have been told by other crew members that the race to New York via Panama and Jamaica is a good one, I have been waiting for my time for over a year – I am ready to go now, I just want to get started. I am not looking forward to getting seasick and getting cold. I am sensitive to getting cold!”

The Clipper Race was set up by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-9. His vision was to enable people, regardless of their sailing history the chance to take part in ocean racing no matter what their background.

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