Cape2Rio dream comes true for man from the Cape Flats


Marco Tobin comes from Grassy Park, a part of Cape Town more often associated with gangs than sporting excellence. But Tobin will be one of the senior yachtsmen in the crew of Gryphon, a leading contender in the 2017 Cape2Rio yacht race presented by Maserati.


And the nine-man crew of Gryphon has also been drawn predominantly from sailors with similar backgrounds.

The 43-foot racing sloop will be part crewed by nine members of the Hout Bay Youth Sailing Development Trust (HBYSDT), an organisation dedicated to fostering “empowerment, achievement, determination, hope, pride and success”.

HBYSDT explains that the Gryphon team, “have evolved from development sailing backgrounds, moving up the ladder and proving their worth as competent, competitive sailors”.

But don’t try calling them a development team. As Tobin, the Gryphon’s crew boss, puts it: “We are capable of winning the race.”

Skipper Theo Yon grew up in Hout Bay and recalls those days: “I used to look out my window and saw all these boats sailing on Wednesday night… I told myself that one day I want to sail.”

He is a little more circumspect about Gryphon’s chances than Tobin: “Making it to the start line will be more important to us than winning, but it is a race and we are racing for an overall win.”

Yon started sailing in 2000 when HBYSDT first introduced development sailing. “I have a really good team,” says Yon, who will be taking part in his second Cape2Rio.

“We are all locals, but the guys have done some international sailing. We are taking two students from our sailing academy – Lorenzo Yon, Theo’s brother and aged 18, and Daniel Agulhas, aged 20.”

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.

Tobin was approached by Zeekoevlei Yacht Club, who run a development sailing programme in partnership with Wynberg Rotary. Since then he has 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”.

Besides Yon, Tobin and students Yon and Agulhas, the crew members are: Andre Julius (49-years-old), Sieraj Jacobs (36), Leroy Rudolf (29), Rian Turner (44) and Clarence Hendricks (34).

Ray Matthews, Race Chairman Cape2Rio 2017, recently said “It has been very pleasing for us at Royal Cape to see the frenzied activity since Marco, Andre and Theo have taken over the Gryphon yacht. Their recent results in The Mossel Bay Race and the Overnight Race show they will be a force to be reckoned with. I wish them a safe and rewarding journey to Rio.”

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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