Monday 18 February 2013

The old & new HBYC club house?

This story starts about twenty years back  in 1993 when Alan Batley was the HBYC commodore and I was the Marina Officer, things were moving in the right direction as far as the move to the harbour from the beach site where the old club now stands, Its just about taken over by sand dunes now!

Picture taken in January 2013, all pictures by R McBride

When its time to move, its time to move!

The proposal to use the 17mtr GRP catamaran design by Bob Van Niekerk was seen to have many drawbacks, sewerage and  the water space it would take up being just two of them.

I then asked a well known architech to do a draft proposal based on a structure to be built in front of the hard standing site we now had the lease to.

A Revel Fox Architects proposal on Lot 86.

I had been able to secure the boat park space from the Nature Conservation Departments chief director, Dr Johan Neethling, who suggested we share the site with the ABC (atlantic boat club) after discussion it was seen they did not want a joint venture, so the HBYC Marina section took on the entire site as a boat park.

Revel Fox drew up plans for the building to be done  in three stages, the idea was to start the ground floor, then grow the building to the upper floors.Looking at the HBYC club house as it stands today, its clear to see we would have made a good job of it.

Note the water space, that was to be the length of the building and outwards nine meters, which is then deep enough for a keel boat.

We first had to develop the new club boat park and hard standing lot. The site was  open space in the front, a wire side fence to the left and a concrete slab fence to the right, with a rear boundary wire fence on the line near the main road outside.

 We had a front fence with seven meter wide gates installed (maximum catamaran width being built here then, Richard Berties idea) plus installed water, power, a container as a lock up store (a Robin Reid gift) plus a new Marina Managers office on top of the container, with access steps, the Marina section spent some R34,000 on the site.

At the time of the discussion over the hard standing site, I asked could we also have  the area known as Lot 86 which was in front of the new boat park, that area was 34mtrs long x 15 meters deep and with waterfront access, a perfect site for the much needed new HBYC club house.

This was taken under consideration at the time but we were granted the water space where Muirels Munchies is now to build a Travel Lift haulout structure. Added to that we were granted the use of the drying sand spit inside the end of the North wall, this later disapeared when the space under the wall was filled in with concrete.

We also had written  permission to move delinquent boats/owners to the outside of the North pier, plus place moorings for larger yachts inside the South East wall, this was granted but never used.

The period was 1993 and just before the elections which South Africa held with great success, however those which had been without the vote up untill the general elections,
were already making demands and even a non political post such as the Department of Nature Conservation were themselves feeling some political pressure, the signing of long leases was then becoming an issue.

In the end  the lease for Lot 86 was granted for just ten years, the Marina section wanted to fence it and place portable toilets on it and at their cost, however the main club felt we should not do so and as it was the HBYC that held the lease, nothing in the end was done to upgrade that site, we may have held on to it had they done so?

This would be part of the view from the clubs floating dock in front of the proposed new club house.

The eventual loss of the lease to another fish processing company now wanting our Lot 86 site became a court case, which ended in the Supreme Court, the lease was overturned and against the HBYC.

The committee then had little choice than to take over the boat park space from the Marina Section, a longer lease was required and that fell to the club to apply for, this will have been around 1999 or thereabouts. By then my time as marina officer had passed, Dr Johan Neething of the Department of Nature Conservation had taken an early retirement but his right hand man, Dr Van Zyl was still working  at the department.

The boat park was a large site, left unused for decades, our use was the first of any importance since I had moved to Hout Bay twenty years before. With the formal application of the HBYC to have an extended lease drawn up for the clubs new club house, another application was received as well.

This was for the second empty plot and next to what was by then our boat park, a company processing fish needed space to develop a new factory, they needed a larger plot than was the case with the vacant plot next to us.

Dr Van Zyl phoned me and proposed that the HBYC agree to loosing 25% of our boat park and as a part of the main clubs new extended lease agreement? While I was by then off committee I did agree that the offer made sense and the lease was made and signed on that basis.

The rear of the new HBYC club house, the high building  with the green roof is the unused fish factory process plant, thats two fish process plants in such a small harbour, the other and first one is in the building to the right of my picture.

The three story factory then built to process fish was later a failed venture and now stands mainly unused and in front of the HBYC club house, effectively blocking the clubs view of the 122 berth marina that we have developed in the harbour.

The so called new HBYC, one of a few attempts to replace the old one on the beach. The club works well, its friendly and is very comfortable inside.

The fabrics and finishes in the new HBYC are far better than those at the old club premises.

Captain Notty, a visiting long distance sailor tests out a pint of his favourite Windhoek draft lager.


The Hout Bay Yacht Club as it is now, February 18th 2013.

                   As they say, the rest is just history as to what might have been?