The Bluff Yacht Club has been operating in the Port of Durban, as a Family Sporting Club for the past 61 years.
Bluff Yacht Club has been in operation since August 1956, having been founded by Captain Hub Rowntree, a past Port Liaison Officer in Durban.
The Club started on a small scale for small bay fishing boats on a piece of ground lent to us by the S.A. Navy on Salisbury Island, which at that time was used by the Flying Boats.
We built ourselves a small wooden hut which served as a clubhouse, (please see attached photograph), at which we served refreshments.
As word spread, we were asked if a sailing section could be included. This was agreed to and many a young sailor learnt his art the Bluff Yacht Club and went on to make names for themselves. One of our founding members were Mr Rupert Ellis Brown (Ellis Brown Tea and Coffee), one of South Africa’s biggest importer of teas and coffee at the time. Among our young members was Penny Coelen, who became the first South African Miss World, and many messages of congratulations were received that the newest and smallest Club could boast of having the most beautiful girl in the world as a member.
Unfortunately time did not stand still and in due course we had to move as the land was required by the Port Authorities for Pier No.1. One of our well known boats, Gauntlet, was beginning to disintegrate and it was decided to bury her under Pier No.1.
Some months later, we were asked to move again and landed further down, by what is now known as the Silt Canal, aptly named, as the area we were allocated was nothing but mud. However, undaunted, we set to work to make a decent area of it and in due course developed a beautiful lawn. For our beach, which was mud, we trucked in load after load of beach sand from the Salisbury Island area. This new sand was laid on top of sheets of heavy duty black PVC plastic, to cover the mud and stop it oozing though the new sand. The next project was to build a proper club house and this we did with the help of John Larter, the father of one of our members, and a substantial sum of money from the Municipality.
Our first Honorary Life President, Captain Peter Cox, Durban Port Director, unfortunately passed away, but we were delighted when Captain Michael Cooper, another Durban Port Captain, accepted our nomination as Honorary Life President. Sadly he too has now passed away.
Captain Sanjoy Sen, after twenty-two years service with Transnet National Ports Authority, retired on May 2015, as Manager (National) Marine Safety and Quality Systems.
Prior to that he was Marine Safety Manager at the port of Durban, specifically looking after Pleasure Crafts and Boating Club activities. He has graciously agreed to accept the nomination, as our new Honorary Life President.