Background Image
the race of your life APPLY ONLINE

Sapinda Rainbow Project


Nominations are being invited for an exciting and ambitious new initiative to identify young South Africans from across the country who could be future community leaders and to give them a unique personal development opportunity through participation in a life changing global event.

If you are interested in applying or nominating a candidate please read the following information carefully.  Candidates must be aged 18 to 23, be South African nationals, feel capable of undertaking this remarkable challenge and be available for the selection and training dates and to participate in a leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Applications must be endorsed by an appropriate nominating community organisation or professional individual.

All travel, insurance, protective clothing, accommodation and food will be provided by the project during the selection, training and race participation phases.

Employees of the Clipper Race and project partners, plus former or current contracted Clipper Race crew are not eligible to apply

Key dates are:

31 May 2013 – deadline for submitting application forms
21-24 June – If shortlisted, available for a selection weekend in Durban
25 July – 3 September – If successful to be available for a press launch in Cape Town and training in the UK, culminating in watching the race start
September 2013 – July 2014 – to be available to participate in a leg of the race in this time period (see details below)

An application form can be downloaded here.


Eight young people aged 18-23 will emerge from a rigorous selection process, each will participate in one of the eight legs of the unique Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – the longest on the planet at 40,000 miles on board one of twelve Clipper 70 racing yachts.  It’s the only global sailing event that trains amateurs to take on the adventure of crossing some of the world’s most demanding oceans; it has a proven track record of personal development, especially with young people from challenging backgrounds. However, those shortlisted, who don’t make the final eight will still participate in events planned in Cape Town when the race arrives in South Africa in late October this year.

The project has been initiated and is being funded by Sapinda, an investment holding company with particular focus on Sub Saharan Africa with existing investments in South Africa and Zambia. Dirk van Daele, Sapinda Executive Board member participated in the 2009-10 edition of the race and experienced at first hand how the event was used to develop young people from other countries.

Sapinda is providing the financial support for the initiative in an endeavour to provide young adults from challenging backgrounds across South Africa with the opportunity to acquire a unique set of life skills and at the same time encourage them to become a catalyst and role model within their own respective communities.

The Sapinda Rainbow project is being endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund which will promote the opportunity throughout its network and encourage nominations from the communities it serves. Sapinda Rainbow will in turn promote awareness of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital project around the world during the year-long race which visits 14 ports of call on six continents. Each of the eight young people who participate in legs of the race will become Ambassadors for the Hospital project.

Sail Africa based in Durban will also promote the initiative through its network and sit on the Sapinda Rainbow Board to support the selection process which will include a challenging weekend in Durban where a shortlist of candidates will be put through their paces, including sailing, as part of the final selection.

The Clipper Race is fully supportive of the initiative and is project managing the programme which includes a month in the UK in August to undergo final training before participating in the race start from the UK. It will also support the Ambassadors in raising awareness and fundraising for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

There are nearly 450 million children in Africa, and only four dedicated children’s hospitals (one in Cape Town, one in Nairobi, and two in Cairo). Initiated by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust has an immediate objective to raise funds to design, build and equip a children’s hospital that is comparable with the best in the world. This hospital aims to admit its first patient in November 2014.

The Clipper Race was set up thanks to the vision of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world in 1968-9. He wanted people to be able to experience ocean racing no matter what their background.  45 years after setting off on that record breaking voyagehe is still very much at the helm of the Clipper Race and will play an active role in supporting the Sapinda Rainbow project.

Candidate Criteria , Terms & Conditions

Basic requirements

18-23 Years of age
Living in one of the 9 provinces in South Africa
Must be in good health. We require height, weight and any medication details
Marital status unimportant
Number of dependents unimportant
Candidates must be able to read, write and speak English
Clean criminal record, for visa application purposes

Academic requirements and other qualifications

There are no formal academic requirements. Candidates may be working or unemployed. They must be in a position to take extended time out from all of their day-to-day commitments. See notes on timescales below. 

Spending time away from home

Candidates must be comfortable with living away from home, family and friends, as well as travelling in unfamiliar countries.

Ambassadorial Role

Candidates will be subject to a level of media interest and should be aware that they will be photographed, filmed and asked questions by journalists as part of their involvement in the programme.

Prior Experience

No prior experience is required whatsoever.  The pre-race Clipper Training programme takes complete novices and teaches them everything they need to know to be a safe and competent member of a race crew.  The first part of the course is accredited by the Royal Yachting Association and crew gains their Competent Crew qualification on successful completion of the course.   

Time commitments

The time commitment comprises four elements. Selection, Announcements, Training and Leg

Selection commitment

We will shortlist at the beginning of June and contact approximately 15-25 successful candidates in the week commencing 10 June to travel to Durban in late June. Dates for selection are 21-24 June 2013, a four day commitment: one weekend in Durban, with Friday/Monday as travel days. This will include sailing, one-to-one selection interviews and media exercises.

Announcements commitment

This is to announce the 8 finalists, (plus one reserve) to the press and will include a sailing and global media photo opportunity, followed by travel to the UK for training. The date has been provisionally set as 25July. A three day commitment. One day in Cape Town with the day pre/post as travel days. This will take place in late July 2013.

Training commitment

Training will be for 3 weeks in the UK from 27 July – 18 August. Discussions are also under way to include the group in the delivery of the new fleet of yachts from Clipper HQ on the South Coast of England to UK Race Start, between 21-24 August. The group would then return to South Africa on 2nd or 3rd September, apart from the Leg 1 candidate.

Leg commitment

Each candidate will be allocated to a leg of the race.The Clipper 13-14 racewill last for eleven months, setting off from a UK port in August 2013 and returning in July 2014.  The race route will take the twelve crews around the planet. 

Leg dates are set out as follows:

Leg One. UK to Brazil. Late August to late September  2013

Leg Two. Brazil to Cape Town. Late September to late October 2013

Leg Three. Cape Town to Western Australia. Late October to Late November 2013

Leg Four. Western Australia to East Coast Australia. Late November to Early January 2014

Leg Five. East Coast Australia to Qingdao via Singapore. Early January to mid March 2014

Leg Six. Qingdao to San Francisco. Late March to late April 2014

Leg Seven. San Francisco to New York. Early May to mid June 2014

Leg Eight. New York to UK.  Mid June to late July 2014.

Financial Requirements

This opportunity is designed to be as accessible as possible to as many as possible and to eliminate cost to individual candidates. The project will cover the race joining fee, training, all travel in South Africa and to/from the UK and leg ports, accommodation, meals/living allowance, insurance and visa requirements.  A clothing allowance for sailing kit has been provided.

Candidate Characteristics

We are looking for candidates who will embrace the spirit of the project and who will make the most of the opportunities and experiences that it provides. The candidates may come from a deprived background; who have overcome adversity; they may be a young person who deserves recognition.

The selection activities are designed to put the candidates in challenging situations, enabling them to gain an understanding of the challenges that they may face during the Clipper Training Programme and indeed during the Round the World Yacht Race.

Application Process

Written applications must be received by the deadline by email or post. A shortlist will be selected from those candidates who best meet the criteria and show the most potential to benefit from this opportunity. The Judges’ decision is final. The judging panel includes representatives from the Clipper Race, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Sail Africa and a former South African Clipper Race crew member.

A reminder that the closing date for applications is 12 Noon GMT on Friday 31 May 2013

Download an application form here.