Rotary Scout

Rotary Scout is a 39ft Tosca owned by the Scout Association of South Africa and moored in Simonstown. The boat was originally donated as a bare hull by the Rotary Club of Bellville in 1987 and was built up over a number of years by veteran Scoutmaster Neville Coxon, who launched the yacht in 1994. Rotary Scout took part in the 2000 Cape to Rio race, crewed by teenagers. She has also taken part in three Governor’s Cup yacht races to St Helena Island.

The yacht fell into disrepair but was relaunched in January 2006 by an enthusiastic group of adult volunteers, mainly Dads and Moms of scouts. In three years well over 750 youngsters have gone sailing. The yacht is busy most weekends with only bad weather and maintenance preventing us from taking to sea. The yacht has been repainted, the engine repaired and safety equipment acquired – all with generous sponsorship from businesses and individuals. We were absolutely delighted when the Jewish Maritime League agreed to sponsor us and we renamed the yacht JML Rotary Scout for a period of five years from August 2007. To Alvin Kushner and the JML Committee, thank you – we are very grateful for your generosity. Thanks also to JML’s Russell Sher who has successfully coached three of our adult volunteers through the SAS Day Skipper’s exams, with two more volunteers to be tested soon.

Some of the sailing includes day trips around False Bay, visiting Seal Island or Cape Point – or overnight trips across the Bay with the youth sleeping at Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club and sailing back the next day. The Cape Windjammers NGO has used JML Rotary Scout for experiential training. The yacht has acted as a support vessel in the marathon Vista Nova School Freedom Swim from Robben Island to Blouberg Beach. And groups from Herzlia Primary School with Barbara Calothi have been day-sailing for a Sunday a month. A highlight was “Sailing Together” with a group of Muslim and Jewish Israeli youth around Cape Point to Hout Bay.

Recently JML Rotary Scout was part of the Volvo Ocean Race festivities in the V&A Waterfront. World Scouting is involved with Team Russia in tackling environmental awareness issues, with particular emphasis on whale and dolphin conservation. JML Rotary Scout was lucky enough to be allowed to moor at the Volvo Ocean Race jetty for a few days, attracting much attention from the public. Scouts came down to visit the yacht – and many of them are eager to sail when Scouts recommences in the New Year.

Next year we plan to have another 250 children sail on the yacht. We also want to present a Competent Crew course for the Scouts and we need to think about preparing a youth crew to enter either the Salvador race in 2010 or St Helena in the same year.

Sailing is a wonderful medium for teaching life skills, and JML’s sponsorship generosity is helping many children learn teamwork, develop leadership skills and explore ways of pushing the boundaries of their personal courage in a safe, nurturing environment.

Once again, many thanks to the Jewish Maritime League and we look forward to continuing our close association for many years to come.

With warm regards
Mark Jennings

Manager: JML Rotary Scout

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