The club had to let out some seams again in 1996 by extending the balcony area outside the restaurant and making a large deck area which proved a little wobbly even in a light breeze and the engineers had to be called in to make the structure safe and sound. They did such a good job that in the course of re-vamping the club in 2006, the deck was merely lifted and placed in deeper and stronger foundations! The deck was subsequently roofed and glassed in which proved a real draw card for The Chart Room.
In 1997 Algoa Bay Yacht Club was chosen as the host for the 1998 Lipton Challenge Cup event held in August of each year at a venue chosen by the winning club. The organizing committee, ably headed by Vaughan Giles, put on a very professional event and this proved to be another great showpiece for the excellent organizing ability of ABYC and the great sailing conditions in the bay. The reputation of ABYC as an exceptional host for major events led to the J22 Worlds being held in PE in 2001, the African Optimist Championships in 2003 and the Mirror Worlds in 2007.
After losing the Conti sponsorship, 2001 and 2002 saw Algoa Bay Week being supported by numerous small but very valuable sponsors, which enabled the club to continue this annual tradition, started in 1974 by Richard Edwards.
Zwartkops Yacht Club, one of the oldest yacht clubs in South Africa, was experiencing major difficulties in 2000 with seriously declining membership and support. The trustees approached ABYC with an offer to amalgamate and after some months of discussion ZYC became part of ABYC and members transferred over in January 2001. This provided a continuing active sailing venue for their sailing members and a friendly, welcoming watering hole for their retired yachties. The funds transferred to ABYC were used to build the slipway and breakwater wall at the front of the club so that junior sailors would have a good place to park dinghies and to launch. This revived interest in dinghy sailing, which has continued up to the present day with many children being taught to sail over the years.
Our old friends General Motors South Africa, came to the fore in 2003 and together with the Nelson Mandela Metropole, sponsored Nelson Mandela Bay Isuzu Week in a three year contract ending in 2005. This was one of the most successful sponsorship partnerships and in 2004 the biggest fleet ever to sail offshore in Port Elizabeth participated in a great week of racing. There were three courses, two bridge boats, 6 classes including multihulls, and a total of 98 boats took to the bay!
As 2005 moved on into 2006, the continued and protracted negotiations with National Ports Authority regarding the lease of land and water, on going since the early 1980′s, was coming to a head and February 2006 saw a positive change in the negotiations and a new lease was finally was agreed and signed on 17 May 2006.
Following hard on the heels of success, came devastation. On Sunday 21 May 2006, the original section of the ABYC clubhouse was completely destroyed in a fire which started in the bar. Fortunately, it was found to be no fault of the club and our insurers met the bill. Designs were submitted arid approved by the membership and the phoenix was on track to rise again. The Mirror Worlds were held in Janunry 2007 and the overseas visitors, particularly the Irish, were most impressed at ABYC’s expertise in being able to arrange such a major event in the midst of such chaos. The members must be applauded for their patience and support during the very trying re-build period.
And here we are in 2009, fifty years down the line, with a fabulouss venue, a great clubhouse, a marina which caters for over 130 boats, a membership bosy that may be a little creaky but which continues to support the club, lessons learned from our successes and our failures, and ultimately, always the promise of better things to come in the next 50 years!
Gerry Baker and Lesley Webber (as at 2009).
and provide the facilities to meet this objective.