First “Italian Ambassador’s Trophy” regatta in Simon’s Town for youngsters
Saturday 1 December 2012 saw the first edition of the “Italian Ambassador’s Trophy” sailing regatta, held at the Simon’s Town naval base, promoted by the Ambassador of Italy to South Africa, Vincenzo Schioppa. Eight crews of young sailors aged between 8 and 18 from the “Izivunguvungu” Sailing School of Simon’s Town, coming from the most disadvantaged areas of the region, took part in the race. The event is a further sign of the willingness of the Italian Embassy to support community-oriented activities.
The Ambassador, himself a keen sailor and a former sailing instructor, is convinced that the values and the culture of the sea are amongst the best possible stimuli to the education of young generations and is willing to create partnerships with the millennium-long Italian sailing tradition.
The Izivunguvungu Sailing School currently enrolls 80 pupils, who attend sailing classes (under the direction of Jonathan Cole and his staff) and music lessons at the end of their school time, when they are picked up from their schools and driven to “Izivunguvungu”. They also receive meals and help with their school work. The successes of the initiative can be best expressed by mentioning that one of the pupils was part of Team South Africa at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, in the men’s 470.
The Italian Ambassador Trophy regatta took place in a festive atmosphere, fuelled by the enthusiasm and curiosity of the young recruits. The trophy was handed to the winning team by the Ambassador and the team’s name engraved on the Cup, to be displayed in the School’s trophy cabinet until next year, when the second edition of the regatta will take place. Commodore Dave Herman was handed the Italian Navy crest, a gift from the Chief of the Italian Navy, Admiral Binelli Mantelli, and a further symbol of support from Italy’s institutions. Each student then received a Christmas hamper containing several imported Italian goods generously donated by “Rialto Foods” of Cape Town.
Founded in 2001, Izivunguvungu-MSC Foundation for Youth is a non-profit organisation supported by the South African Navy and financed by the well-known MSC - Mediterranean Shipping Company, the second world-largest cargo company in the world. The South African Navy, on the basis of an agreement signed in 2003, provides the School with premises within its Simon’s Town Naval base, including equipment and mechanical assistance as well as facilities for the construction of boats. The funds allocated by MSC contribute to covering costs for staff, food for the pupils and the teachers, clothing for the competitions and maintenance of the premises. Since 2011 Pirelli has also joined the project, within the scope of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.
Embassy of Italy in South Africa