SA Sailing mourn the loss of bright young star

Cape Town - The SA Sailing community were left reeling on Wednesday with the news of the passing of one of their finest young sailors, Cullen Keytel.

Keytel (18) succumbed to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident last Friday.

A very talented young man, he learnt to sail at the Hermanus and Zeekoevlei Yacht Clubs and sailed in many different classes. However, his real love was the Laser, once stating that: “When I went onto a Laser, I felt somehow connected to the boat.”

Keytel was awarded his national Protea Junior Colours in June 2018 and was part of the national youth team representing South Africa at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA and again in June 2019, in Gydnia, Poland.

Having already achieved so much success in the sport, Cullen’s ultimate goal was to participate in the 2024 Olympics.

In 2018 he was awarded the Under-19 Sportsman of the Year award for the Overberg District and this year was awarded the Rob Meek Memorial Trophy for the Junior Sailor of the Year Western Cape. Cullen regularly assisted in promoting the sport at boat shows, schools and events held around the country and gave back to the sport he loved so much by helping to coach and train his peers.

His teammates, peers and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him will remember Cullen as being committed, driven and passionate about the sport, always smiling, as well as being an all-round exemplary young man who cared deeply for those around him.

President of SA Sailing Peter Hall said: "Cullen was a very special person, a brilliant sailor and academic, full of smiles and life, and always willing to assist and support others. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

- SA Sailing