PORT OWEN’S HISTORY
In 1969 Mr H Owen Wiggins decided to create South Africa’s first marina on a piece of land which was surrounded on three sides by the Berg River. It was going to be called Belvedere Marina. There was a fine all-weather river passage to St Helena Bay, which afforded the finest sailing water in South Africa.
It took many years of commissions and studies before dredging could take place. Dredging was a massive part of the project as it involved removing one million cubic metres of earth and rock. In 1980 the local town council decided to change the name from Belvedere to Port Owen, and the first sites were sold during this year.
THE BEGINNINGS (and extensions) OF PORT OWEN YACHT CLUB
The inaugural meeting of the club was held on 22 November 1985 at the Marina Centre. This area served as the meeting place and clubhouse for the new Yacht Club. As at 13 December 1985 the club boasted 72 members. In February the following year it increased to 138 and to 141 in April 1986! The first Annual Dinner Dance was held on Saturday 27 July 1986 in the boat shed adjoining the yacht club premises. 160 guests enjoyed an excellent four course dinner with dancing. (Not much has changed over the years except the venue) In 1988 a conflict arose between the Marina company and the club, and the members voted to become an independent members club.
A mandate was received from the members to acquire our present site in 1989 and negotiations with the Velddrif Municipality began. The marina company blocked this move, which resulted in a possible court case. The club then lost the use of the clubhouse at the Marina Centre. This state of affairs lasted for three years, until a final agreement was reached, and the club attained the site from the municipality on 1 February 1994. Plans were drawn up for a clubhouse of our own, but only half of a requested loan was granted, so the size of the building had to be curtailed till a later date. This did not take long as by November 1996 a Special General Meeting passed plans for further extensions and a donation of R25,000 was received with the suggestion that members match it. By May 1997 this new extension was opened.
In March 1998 it was decided to pursue the possibility of buying the clubhouse grounds from the municipality. After protracted negotiations, a very favourable agreement was reached in April 2000. A major upgrade of the gardens, with rockeries and sprinkler systems, was started in 2001. The building of the Boma was passed at a SGM and an allocation of R30,000 was passed. A fund-raising committee was formed and the club would match Rand-for-Rand on any moneys raised.
The Boma was built specifically to entertain up to 200 people attending the various yachting events, such as the Dart Nationals and Internationals, as well as many West Coast Cruises. It has more than paid for itself as we would not have been able to accommodate this volume of people in the clubhouse as it was then. In 2008 the clubhouse kitchen and bar again underwent very successful extensions, and more extensions and improvements are at present being investigated.
OTHER ACTIVITIES which are offered by the club is the powerboat section, the Petanque players who meet every two weeks on a Wednesday morning, and recently a rowing section has been started. The club is open on Wednesday evenings from 18h00 for drinks and snacks while chatting with friends and visitors. Friday night is the main get-together of members, where a two course meal is served and it gives the Commodore a chance to announce any future activities or make any other announcements. Now and then we have a film evening or a video of members’ holidays, sailing activities etc. About every two months the Rear Commodore (Social) will organise a social evening on a Saturday, very often with a theme, together with probably a three course meal provided by our Catering Committee.