The mid 1970′s was a period of consolidation and slow growth for the club. The fleet comprised some sixteen or so yachts each on its own swinging mooring and a racing programme was enthusiastically supported. Course marks were something of a problem; Bell Buoy was an obvious permanent one as was a dumping buoy just off the harbour entrance. This latter being used as the offshore end of a start line, the onshore end being the signal station. Someone then came up with the idea of dropping a mark off the Papenkuils River mouth, a location well clear of any possible shipping movement. What was not taken into account was that an approach to this mark necessitated crossing the outfall from the City’s sewerage system, a crossing often rendering the fresh sea breezes of the bay more than a little odorous and in a sloppy chop the oilies of weather rail sitting crew members bore evidence of their passage! An interesting alternative mark was sometimes used – marine traffic. Harbour facilities were such that there were often up to eighteen vessels anchored offshore awaiting berths so it was not uncommon for the Duty Officer of the day to designate one of these as a mark of the course. A plume of smoke from the mark indicating its obvious movement sometimes led to an interesting chase.
The next significant event to affect the Club came about in 1975. Containerisation became a vital part of shipping circles and it was ordained that the Port Elizabeth Harbour be developed to accommodate this innovation. A massive container marshalling area was required, and amongst other things, the breakwater needed extending. To provide an area for the dumping and loading of the rock fill needed for these operations a reclamation of land from the front of Shop 17 was deemed necessary but this was a piece of water on which some of the club’s fleet luxuriated on individual swinging moorings. The reduced area of water allocated to the moorings was surveyed and members worked together to lay three rows of trots to which the yachts were moved.
The land reclamation being completed and surfaced, truck load after truck load of rock was dumped thereon. On the side nearest the club a lower level quay, from which the rock could be loaded and taken to where it was needed, was built. At the end of the reclamation and extension this loading area became the hard and was acquired for member’s usage. As a bonus, when the contractors were clearing away all the surplus rock from the area it was suggested that some of it might be conveniently dumped into the water in front of the club, thus alleviating the contractors of the chore of having to transport it elsewhere. It was so dumped, a few truck loads of topsoil were thrown over it and the lawn was born. The Harbour Engineer, in no uncertain terms, expressed his consternation at the club’s own reclamation activities, but by then it was too late!
Such was the expanding interest in yachting locally and the growth of the club’s fleet and membership was increasing rapidly so that once more the walls were beginning to bulge at the seams. In particular the shower and toilet facilities, still those of the original ‘gear shed, were becoming inadequate. Executive put its collective head together and extensions were planned. With some inconvenience to members over the following months the building was modernized and opened in February 1985. Inevitably, with all this growth in membership, the fleet was expanding not only in numbers but also in the size of yachts and more moorings were needed. After considerable research a plan was formulated and the first phase of the ‘walk-on’ marina came into being. Extensions and improvements in the form of protection from the surge by using a floating breakwater and the provision of power and freshwater points along its length have been ongoing.