Botswana, a land-locked desert country with no permanent outward flowing rivers and the famous Okavango swamps with its hippopotamuses and crocodiles, does not automatically spring to mind as a sailing nation.
However, with a large number of man-made reservoirs sailing is thriving and the Botswana Yacht Racing Association have become the newest International Sailing Federation member. "The Botswana sailing community is looking forward to being part of the international sailing family and to benefits of interacting with other sailors
" commented Chris Long, the Association's General Secretary.
The Botswana sailing community has been active since 1965 when the Gaborone Yacht Club was formed. Since then Botswana sailors have competed successfully in the Southern African region. They were represented in the Finn Class in the Los Angeles Olympic Games and in 2009 had a team sailing a Hobie 16 in the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Brazil as part of the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme.
The most popular boats currently sailing in Botswana are: Optimists, primarily used for training; Lasers, Dolphins (a local Southern African class), Hobie 14s, Hobie 16s, Hobie 18s, Halcats and Dart 18s.
The principal sailing season is from mid August to March with the National regatta being held in mid October attracting sailors from around the region. The Association and Gaborone Yacht club are a driving force in promoting youth sailing holding regular sail training for junior and novice sailors. The Gaborone Yacht Club is in the process of converting the training fleet to RS Teras, which have proved to be most popular and are ideally suited for the local conditions.
Gabarone Yacht Club Website - http://www.gyc.org.bw/
Gabarone Yacht Club Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gaborone-Botswana/Gaborone-Yacht-Club/111581598859054
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