Proceeds from the Great Optimist Race will benefit numerous charities assisting disadvantaged children

The Cape Town International Boat Show has confirmed a three-year agreement to host a charity Optimist sailing race with well-known Cape Town charity campaigner Greg Bertish, the Cape Times newspaper reports.

The Great Optimist Race debuted at the show in 2017, attracting much public interest. It featured a host of local celebrities and business leaders who navigated a short course starring inside Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where the boat show has been staged for the past few years under the management of Messe Frankfurt.

Proceeds from the race go towards Bertish’s Little Optimist Trust that supports numerous charities assisting disadvantaged children.

“Last year, the Great Optimist Race was a highlight of the show and we look forward to raising even more money, and showing more disadvantaged children how to sail in October,” Messe Frankfurt’s Neil Piper told the Cape Times.

Bertish said he was ‘honoured’ to partner with the Cape Town International Boat Show. “We are going to grow the Great Optimist Race into one of the most fun and unique charity events in South Africa,” he told the Cape Times.

Cape Town-based boatbuilder Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing is a key sponsor of the Little Optimist. In a statement last year, the company said it was inspired by Bertish’s personal courage in overcoming a rare tropical infection, as well as his daring charity work, notably a unique fund raiser involving sailing an Optimist around the Cape of Storms. “He crossed False Bay, rounded Cape Point and headed for Langebaan Lagoon on the wild West Coast of South Africa. His 200km journey matched the 200 days he had spent in hospital at age 30, fighting life-threatening heart infections caused by a tropical bacterium,” the company said.

The Cape Town International Show will run from October 18-20.