RSA 49er Olympic Qualification – Final Bid

by Richard Crockett

I do like to see positive sailors who help themselves rather than sit back, bleat and expect everyone else to make it happen for them.

Graeme Willcox and Andrew Tarboton are two people who have not sat back and waited, but have rather put their hearts and soles into their campaign to qualify South Africa in the 49ers for Rio 2016. Despite no sponsorship or any significant financial assistance other than their own, these two guys have juggled jobs in the UK while putting their Olympic aspirations at the forefront of everything they do.

They, better than anyone else, know that crunch time is soon, and that to qualify for Rio they have to be one of just 3 teams who will crack the nod. After that they are at the mercy of SASCOC who have made it clear that qualifying with one of the regional slots is not an option. Africa is one of those qualification slots, and with SASCOC’s firm stance, they simply have to be one of those 3 qualifiers from the Worlds which start on November 16 in Buenos Aries.

With the odds seemingly stacked against them, they are determined to beat them, and have soldiered on regardless.
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Just recently they held a fund raising dinner at Bonne Bouche in Hamble. It was a great success with good food, great games and a chance to catch up with people they had not seen for a while.


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A limited number of seats (25) were available for the paying guests.Each guest payed £15 at the door and brought change with which to play games. On each table was a jar with a lemon in it – if you could balance a coin on the lemon, then you could keep the money in the jar. Lizzie and Andy also organized a long plank, with a bottle of champagne at the end. You had to roll a coin along the plank and the closest coin at the end of the night got to keep the champagne. And then between mains and desert, each table got a cup of jelly babies, and an un-cooked spaghetti. The aim was to build the highest tower which could support a lime at the top. They also put together a hamper and got a small painting donated to us, which were raffled off during the night for much needed campaign funds.

With costs mounting, as well as their determination, they launched a ‘crowdfunding’ campaign to raise the funds to help cover their boat charter fees at the upcoming worlds.

From a South African sailing perspective it would be special to have 3 teams represent us in Rio, as Stefano Marcia (Laser) and Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (470) have already qualified.

So please support their Crowdfunding campaign in whatever way possible as every little bit helps. Get a bunch of mates together, or get some of your club members together to make a contribution. Connect to it HERE

Good luck guys. Here’s hoping that your determination and perseverance of an Olympic dream bears fruit.

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