Port Elizabeth is served by two sailing clubs – Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) and Redhouse Yacht Club (RYC). ABYC is sitauted in the Port of Port Elizabeth and caters for ocean going sailing as well as for dinghy sailing. RYC is situated on the banks of the Zwartkops River in the village of Redhouse and caters exclusively for Dinghy Sailing.
The Algoa Bay Yacht Club incorporates the Zwartkops Yacht Club which closed it’s club house doors in 2001 and amalgamated with ABYC.
Port Elizabeth has had a number of yacht and sailing clubs throughout the years with sailing taking place from the Prince Alfred Club on the North End Lake, on the Trinder Square Vlei and St Georges Park.
The Hobie Beach Yacht Club exists in name only as the popularity of these sailing machines dwindled leaving their naming of Hobie Beach behind for prosperity.
Sailing is seen as a vital component of Nelson Mandela Bay’s claim as the ‘Watersport Capital’.
The Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) is based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Port Elizabeth forms part of the Nelson Mandela Metropole. ABYC has been host to many national and international sailing events.
ABYC exists to; “Foster an interest in sailing” and we provide the facilities to meet this objective.
An active sailing section, marina, convivial pub and excellent restaurant (The Chartroom) with a great view all combine to make ABYC one of the friendliest venues in the Friendly City.
A rich nautical and competitive sailing history with many resident and visiting characters assure you of a unique Port Elizabeth experience.
Competitive sailing takes place every weekend throughout the sailing season and social Wednesday Evening Sailing is open to all who want to; “try before you buy”.
ABYC is conveniently situated within the precincts of the Port Elizabeth Harbour just north of the National Sea Rescue (NSRI) and Port Elizabeth Deep Sea Angling Club (PEDSAC).
Membership is open to all who express an interest and active participation in sailing and offers many benefits.
History of ABYC:
The history of Algoa Bay Yacht Club begins in the 1880’s. In this period the waters of the Zwartkops River proved to be a great attraction and the Beaconfield Yacht Club, later named the Zwartkops Yacht Club, came into being in 1884. Further up the river Redhouse Yacht Club was formed in 1904. The river made a wonderful venue for dinghy sailing and in the early years many Provincial and National championships were held there. However, the river was gradually silting up and with more and more yachts competing in less and less water it became inconvenient for large events.
In 1948 an advertisement appeared in the local press inviting any interested parties to attend a meeting at the Edward Hotel with a view to forming a club to use Algoa Bay as a sailing venue. Only nine people put in an appearance, but a committee was formed to pursue the cause. Ronnie Lambson was elected to the chair and Harold Kohler, Ken Pearson and Bill Cross were members. Local Port authorities were far from enthusiastic at the prospect of a number of amateurs cluttering up their harbour and causing mayhem amongst the traffic in and out.
Nevertheless they persevered and eventually a letter was received from the local M.P., Mr.W.M.Oosthuizen, advising that the then Minister for Railways and Harbours, Mr.F.C.Sturrock, had ruled that a piece of land, within the protection of the harbour, be earmarked for a yacht club. Local authorities retaliated by asserting that space limitation precluded this being done. There the matter rested for 22 years.
The Redhouse Yacht Club (RYC), which is amongst the oldest yacht clubs in South Africa, hosts dinghy races and operates a training program that has produced international champion sailors.
Located on the Swartkops river just outside of Port Elizabeth, in what can best be described as the village of Redhouse, RYC is very much a community sailing club.
The club has a traditional club feel and it certainly maintains some unique habits, probably formed 100 years ago. Top of the list of these has to be the serving of tea and cake between races during regular Sunday afternoon club racing. In fact it seems that there is a meal and drinks break between every race that takes place at RYC.
The Club welcomes visitors and is endorsed as one of the regional attractions by the Eastern Cape Tourism Board.
Redhouse Yacht Club History:
Founded on the 24th of October 1904, when 16 gentlemen met at the Zwartkops Rowing Club in the little Village of Redhouse, under the chairmanship of Mr R.P. Jones, to inaugurate a sailing club at Redhouse.Mr J.C. Carden (first manager of a Springbok Rugby team to tour the UK) proposed that the name of the club should be “Redhouse Sailing Club”, seconded by Mr T.V. Paterson. At the very next meeting (4th December 1904) the name was changed to “Redhouse Yacht Club” to avoid clashing with the existing “Redhouse Swimming Club”.
The annual fees were set at 10 shillings and sixpence.
The first Committee consisted of: Commodore: Mr R.P. Jones Sec. /Treasurer: Mr T.V. Paterson Mr E. Marks Mr A.E. Griffiths Mr J.C. Carden
A proposal by the Beaconsfield Sailing Club (subsequently the Zwartkops Yacht Club) for the establishment of a challenge cup was considered and led to the famous (sometimes notorious) annual River Cup event. The adoption of the motion was proposed by Mr Carden and seconded by Mr Girdlestone.
The first ever race under the Club colours featured three boats, respectively five, three and two tonnes in weight. By comparison, modern day Lasers and Optimist racing yachts are governed by a minimum weight of 55 and 35 kilograms!
Since that faraway time, the RYC has lived through some turbulent times. It had its beginnings in the gracious Edwardian era, but ten years later World War I intervened, and while the world was changing forever, not much sailing took place on the River.
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