The Hout Bay Youth Sailing Development Trust bought the yacht Gryphon in 2017, a modified Fast 42, originally built by Robertson and Caine in 1993.
Gryphon was bought with the help of sponsors, and renamed Gryphon after the mythical creature who was half man half beast. A lot of work had to be done on the boat to make it race ready but the day finally came and they set out on the epic crossing. Of the crew of eight, which Theo Yon skippered, seven had come from disadvantaged communities and been trained by the Development Trust. Before they even started, it was a triumph of overcoming adversity
The race was tough, with strong winds and many obstacles to overcome. In the 19 day journey the crew had a maximum of four hours of sleep at a time, working shifts to keep the yacht moving. 160 nautical miles from the finish they lost their rudder and had to steer with buckets, a spinnaker pole and floorboards. But nothing was going to stop this determined crew from finishing, they had come too far to give up now. Two days later, they crossed the finishing line, fifth in their category and with a sense that nothing you put your mind to is impossible. They had earned an incredible 10th place overall.
The team received an unprecedented amount of media coverage – links are below or can be viewed in the Media Section of this website.