PE sailors to take on world’s best

Port Elizabeth sailors Jamie McGillivray and Cameron Hills
Port Elizabeth sailors Jamie McGillivray and Cameron Hills
Image: Supplied

Two young Port Elizabeth sailors will put their skills to the test in English waters after being selected to represent South Africa at an international competition later this year.

Cameron Hills, 15, from Elsen Academy, and Grey High’s Jamie McGillivray, 14, will pull on the green and gold when they compete at the RS Tera World Championships and RS Tera Games in August.

The championships are scheduled to take place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on England’s south coast, with a field of more than 1 500 competitors from 30 countries set to participate.

Having represented SA at the corresponding event last year in France, the pair will be aiming to improve on that effort and try to bring home some accolades.

Having raced in the Tera Sports category last year, they have graduated to the Tera Pro Fleet.

The Redhouse Yacht Club sailors gained qualification after good performances at both the provincial championships and Tera class nationals held recently.

Redhouse Yacht Club coach and vice commodore John McGillivray said it was exciting that the boys would have another crack at taking on the best sailors in the world.

“Last year was the first time either of them had attended an international competition. South Africa has always produced great sailors. Our youth sailing fleets are relatively small so they don’t get exposure in sailing in a massive fleet,” he said.

McGillivray said with the boys now being bumped up to the Tera Pro Class, they would have the chance to sail in much bigger fleets and gain experience in racing against many sailors at the same time.

“It’s as much a mind game as it is a fitness game.

“They have to be extremely fit because races last anywhere from 40 minutes to 1½ hours, and they can normally race between four and six races a day,” he said.

The top three in the Tera Sport selections are Rhys Whitfield, Ashley Layland and James Matchette. In the Tera Pro team are James Vonk, Hills and McGillivray.