A Class Afloat


When the tall ship Gulden Leeuw departed Cape Town this morning [20 January 2016], her crew was one stronger with the addition of Cape Town Grade 11 learner Luke Planting on a four-month “Class Afloat” scholarship.

The South African Maritime Institute (SAIMI) assisted in making the voyage possible, as a first step in partnering with international programmes that expose learners to life at sea and maritime career opportunities. Promoting awareness of maritime careers is part of SAIMI’s skills development role to support the growth of South Africa’s maritime economy under Operation Phakisa.

A pupil at South African College High School (SACS) in Cape Town, Luke, 16, will be continuing his Grade 11 curriculum while gaining experiential learning, life skills and sailing skills. Opportunities to explore the ship’s various ports of call during his semester at sea that ends in Amsterdam in the Netherlands on 18 May, will enrich his favourite school subjects of geography and history.

The Gulden Leeuw is a Canadian sail training vessel operated by Class Afloat - West Island College International in Nova Scotia, Canada. The programme provides opportunities for Grade 11 and 12 learners, ‘gap-year’ and first-year students to continue with their formal education while experiencing life at sea for a semester or full year.

Luke’s voyage was fully sponsored by Class Afloat for the onboard costs and arranged by the South African Sail-training and Life-Skills Association (SASLA), while SAIMI is sponsoring his visas, uniform and flight home in May.

The South African Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA) assisted with the administration and logistics in getting Luke safely onboard.

A keen surfer, whose main goal for 2016 was making the first hockey team, Luke was selected for the voyage after a rigorous swim test, medical examination and two interviews. He hasn’t yet finalized his future career plans, but is leaning towards BSc studies in an environmental science or sports medicine direction.

The Gulden Leeuw is scheduled to depart the Port of Cape Town this afternoon [Wednesday 20 January], calling at Walvis Bay, St Helena Island, Ascension Island, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Dominican Republic, and the Azores before arriving in Amsterdam on 18 May.

The vessel is a Dutch-flagged sail training tall ship, originally built in 1937 and completely refurbished in 2010, maintaining the classic 1930s hull design with modern training and accommodation facilities on the interior. She is 70m long with 40m masts and three-mast topsail schooner rigging.

To follow the voyage, and for more information on the vessel and the Class Afloat programme, visit www.classafloat.com


About The Author

Samantha Venter - SAIMI project coordinator
082 4515 292 / project.office@saimi.co.za