As a result of the nomination of ABYC by Noel Horsfield, the winner of the 1961 Lipton Cup , a fleet of 30 Sq’s once again graced the waters of the bay for the Lipton Cup and for the first time ABYC had an entry – Paddy Goodall’s “Sunmaid”. Harold Kohler was in there again with “Trickson II” under the Redhouse burgee while Graham Packer represented Zwartkops. Unfortunately none of these three local entries managed to win the event and the competition was not held in Algoa Bay waters again until 1998.
1962 saw disaster for the club. South Africa became a Republic and amongst all the other ramifications that this caused, security of Defence Property came under the spotlight. All civilian clubs were ordered off and ABYC was once again homeless. By now membership was fifty strong. Undaunted, meetings continued at a variety of venues.
The popularity of the 3OSq’s as a class was waning and being superseded by a new breed of yacht, the Royal Cape One Design (RCOD). Tough, hard chined, slim, speedy craft, they proved ideal for our coastal conditions and the exhilaration generated racing them in heavy weather far outweighed the discomfort and wetness involved. Sadly the graceful 30 Sq’s left our bay and wore replaced by these more aggressive craft. Also gaining in popularity was a class of smaller boats, the Buccaneer, the first local of which, “Bird of Dawning”, was built and launched by Basil Weale.
Eventually the Harbour authorities bowed to the inevitable and permission was granted to use a site “20′ x 25′ for the construction of a Gear shed”. This site is part of that presently occupied by the club. Members rallied around and they built themselves a Gear Shed which was officially opened on Friday 26 February 1971- this could account for the fact that Friday has always been something of a special night at the club. Not only was there somewhere to store all the tools and equipment needed for boat maintenance but also a venue where members could meet and exchange ideas and experiences. As all yachties know this was a thirst provoking pastime and a corner of the shed was devoted to the dispensing of ‘gear to satisfy this “need’ – an informal bar. And small it was – anyone who did a stint as barman was pinned behind the counter with barely enough room to breathe.
In 1972 the RCOD and Soling classes held their National Championships on the bay with ABYC hosting the event. Algoa Bay was proving to be a popular sailing venue, so much so that the “Gear Shed” began to bulge at the seams. Early in 1973 steps were taken to start its expansion. Cunningly Bob Tait had anticipated this in his original design. Plans were submitted to the authorities for the addition of another floor – the club still being restricted to its original 20′ x 25′ site. Among the Port Authorities were now some who were far more sympathetic to sailing and the plans were approved. Once more the members turned their hands to construction work. The roof was raised and a floor put in its place with a cantilevered balcony overlooking the harbour. The process was long and hard with many a rainy evening being spent with no roof and the upper floor not yet completely in place and members enjoying the hard earned conviviality sheltering under umbrellas.
It was decided to build a slipway operation and with members providing the spadework, it was laid and ran, as it still does today, beneath the lawn, from the Northern end of the building down to the water’s edge at low springs. A hand operated windlass was installed at its head but for some unrecorded reason they got the geometry wrong. The cable did not run parallel to the slip. As a result the hauling out of a comparatively small Buccaneer entailed a massive barberhauling operation to avoid an overriding turn on the windlass drum. Annual slipping was a hazardous feat involving not only plenty of muscle but also a careful calculation of time and tide if it was not to be carried out in icy water on a cold pre-dawn winter’s morning.