Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club

Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club
Burgee of the Mossel Bay Yacht & Boat Club.

View of the Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club and harbour.

Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club, (abbreviated: MBYBC) / Mosselbaai Seiljag- en Bootklub (Afrikaans), established in 1956, is a yacht club in South Africa. It is located in the harbour city of Mossel Bay on the Garden Route in the Western Cape Province.

The club is multi-aquatic for the disciplines of yachting (keelboat, multihull and dinghies), boating (motor yacht/boat leisure and deep sea angling), diving (snorkeling, scuba diving and underwater hockey), rowing (sea/surf kayak), development of the youth and social. This club is well-known for some of the yacht racing events as well as deep sea angling events it organizes.


Historical background

Melville Stephens was probably the most prominent role player in the early years of the Club. As owner of the then local Marine Hotel he was also a keen sailor. To launch his Flying Dutchman sailing dinghy "Condor" he approached the South African Railways to hire the present site. As this is not possible for a private person, the bar of the hotel provided a club membership of eight persons. This consisted of himself, the barman Tommy Meek, Dan van der Merwe, Mo Taggart, Basil Saayman and a stranger by the name of Owen Harris. The member list and the Table Bay Yacht Club constitution was submitted and thus the birth of the Mossel Bay Yacht Club. Stephens initially took it on himself to pay the lease and develop the site. The 'accidentally damaged' storm culvert under the railway line was repaired (deepened) to allow a car and trailer and the site in Munro's Bay was prepared for its launching ramp. A gear shed became the first structure, which was extended with a garage for his Flying Dutchman with the mast down.

The date 24 September 1956 saw the first official member meeting where it was decided that the Club will function in close co-operation with the Harbor Administration and embrace all types of sailing craft. Membership shall be open to Mossel Bay, George, Oudtshoorn and Knysna. C.H Shepherd was elected the first commodore, Dr P Johnson the vice-commodore, A. de Villiers the rear-commodore and M. Stephens the secretary-treasurer. A. Meek assisted in drafting the new constitution.

The early sailors sailed with a Dabchick sailing dinghy, self build in the Blue room, the function room of the Marine Hotel. Stephens obtained plans for the Extra sailing dinghy which was subsequently build and sailed by these enthusiasts. There was not much beach and the rocks made it difficult to expand the facilities. The ramp not always proofed to be successful and carrying the sailing dinghy over the rocks and under the railway bridge was quite a mission. With the help of a visiting dredger used to deepen the harbour the sand was used as landfill to cover the rocks. Over the years the rocks and sea was claimed and filled to the level of today. A Municipal loan secured taring of the surface and expansion of the building.

Establishment of the Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club

The interest towards power boating was growing and during 1971 a proper slipway was constructed. This was made possible by fund raisings, donations and a contribution from the Mossel Bay Lions Club. The decreasing popularity of sailing at the time hampered the expansion of the Club financially. Subsequently the growing skiboat deep sea angling fraternity was welcomed to the existing facilities and in 1976 the name was officially changed to the Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club.

The boating section allowed for continuous updating of the ramp and a major upgrade was done in 1998.

The Marina

In the early days the bigger yacht were anchored in the bay, but still within the relative safety of the harbour. As the harbour developed the yachts were anchored individually within the confines of the harbour and the sailors had to use a rowing boat to get to the shore. Visitors however were still on outside swing moorings. In 1995 the dream of the Club came true when permission was granted to construct a walk-on mooring facility. Club members that were the driving force of the project that need to be mentioned here were Louis Harris, Peter Lotter, Dr Hannes Meyer, Bill Roos as well as Dr Hannes Nel, Johnny Schaefer, Fritz van Vuuren and Wilhelm von Schütz.

The Marina is situated in the Mossel Bay harbour. Only Club members can become a Mooring-right holder and own a mooring. A visitor must become a Club member after six months of stay.

Club facilities

Club House

A complete rebuilding of the Club house was commissioned in 1980. The transformation over the years can be divided in five stages namely the shed (1957), single level with parking area (1968), the second level added (1982), the garages and pool room (1989), the deck and undercover braai section (1995). Today the facilities house an office, flat for the manager, toilets and showers, sail storage room, galley, bar, pool table room and committee room. Visitors have access to satellite TV, internet and public card phone.


Leisure: The bay allows for safe sailing for young and old. For those who want more, one can round the peninsula towards Vleesbaai (direction Cape Town to the west) and back or towards the next harbour Knysna (direction Port Elizabeth to the east).

Competitions: Club points are sailed every month. The different classes compete on handicap. During the school holidays competitions are open to visitors. The Round the Island and New Year Regatta are the highlight during December. The Club have hosted various interclub, provincial and national sailing events. Classes that can be mentioned here are the Hobie 14 and 16 catamarans, Dart 18 catamarans, Mosquito 18 catamarans, Optimist dinghy, Laser dinghy, GP14 dinghy.
In August 2011 the Club made history by hosting the L26 class Lipton Cup for the first time. This was made possible by the Knysna Yacht Club team who won the previous year. The winning team representing the False Bay Yacht Club (Valsbaai) shall host the competition in 2012.

Safety: The Club has one official accredited safety officer responsible for the annual craft survey.


Leisure: Some members who belong to this section go out to sea mainly to enjoy the day and find an odd fish.

Competitions: A minimum of one monthly deep sea angling competition is held. The Cob Derby (December) and Saltic (March) are two of the main annual angling events with prize money as an added bonus.

Safety: The boating section is responsible for their own annual safety survey of the skiboats by qualified accredited South African Deepsea Angling Association (SADSAA) officers from their own ranks.


The bay has well known star rated diving spots[1]. To the east of the Club is the Dolosse ** (approximate diving depth 6m), concrete structures that strengthen the harbour wall. It is a shore entry and possible to walk or scuba from the Club to the diving site. It is advisable to accompany a guide when first attempting this dive. Here one can see large Red Bait pods, Anemones, Black Tail, Doublesash Butterfly, crabs, crayfish, octopus and cuttle fish. A surface buoy is mandatory to warn ski-boats that use the channel.

To the west of the Club / Santos beach is the Santos Reef *** depth 3m. A shore entry is possible. A short boat ride leads to a garden of featherworms, sea fans and redbait.

  • Santos Wreck (1874). Covered with sand. Mast, anchor and chain visible.
  • Mitch's Reef **** depth 8m.
  • Butterfly Wall **** depth 8m.
  • Windvogel ***** depth 3 - 20m maximum 30m. Advanced and experienced diver.
  • Sponge Reef ** depth 25m.
  • Phluffy Reef ***** depth 17m.
  • Rudans Run *** depth 12m.
  • Mussel Cracker Reef ***.
  • G Spot *****.
  • Atlantis **** depth 18m. Advanced and experienced diver.


Even before sailing, coxed four rowing regattas date back as fas as 1877. The aquatic discipline of rowing is not represented by a specific section in the club and the members belong to the social or other group. This group of enthusiasts are growing though. Members can stow their solo or tandem sea kayak on the premises in a rack. This allows for easy launching from the boat ramp. Most of the members use the kayak for exercise and fitness, but some do kayak fishing.


The Club established a development section for the younger members to embody the practice of good seamanship. Craft are expensive so for that reason the Club tries to provide boats and opportunity especially for underprivileged children as the parent do not have to be a member. The Club has an accredited world class sail training officer (2010-).

Sailing: The Club provide sailing boats for teaching purposes. The class available is the Optomist dinghy. They also have the chance to crew on the keel boat class.

Boating: Youngsters have the opportunity to accompany boat owners on there angling trips. They also have the chance to show their skills during the monthly deep sea angling competitions.

Diving: Underwater skill is developed in underwater hockey training and competitions. Snorkeling and spearfishing as well as scuba training is part of the curriculum.


Social members are part of most clubs. Not all members want to be actively involved in the sport activities, but the facilities allow for a membership to aid with the financial expenses of the Club.

Panorama of the Mossel Bay harbour, Dolosse and MBYBC
Panoramic view of the Mossel Bay harbour, Dolosse and MBYBC.

50th Anniversary

During 2006 Dr Loftus Heunis compiled a 75 page book named Highlights from A journey through time [2] . The source of the information came from interviews with Melville Stephens and other knowledgeable Club members and locals, the MBYBC minutes of meetings, the historical articles in the Mossel Bay Advertiser, the Mossel Bay Post Office Tree Museum Complex and the book A History of the Royal Cape Yacht Club, 1904-1990[3].


The MBYBC has a very close relationship with the local National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station 15. Every year the members are asked to include a donation with their annual subscription fees which is officially handed over during the Annual General Meeting at the end of the financial year. This substantial amount is used to good use, as the NSRI does not receive any help from government and all the members are volunteers. The local NSRI is situated in the Mossel Bay harbour.

The Club's newsletter dates back to 1991 and was edited by the managing team Arrie and Kiki Ihloff until 1995. Club member Ronald Lareman took it over until 2004. In that year the newsletter became the Voicepipe/Spreekbuis.

The Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club web site of the Club was created and launched on 12 October 1997 by the first webmaster Ronald Lareman and managed until 2011. During 2011 the site was changed to a content management site to allow the different sections to update their news and events themselves.

The burgee of the Club was re-designed by and registered at the South African Bureau of Heraldry in 1998 by Ronald Lareman. Different depictions of the insignia are used on ties and clothes.

Club member Rob Holden (Dart 18 World championship participant x4) became the official National Training Manager of South African Sailing in 2010.


  1. ^ Walmsley, Ken (2004). "Diving sites of Mossel Bay". MBYBC Voice pipe: 12. 
  2. ^ Heunis, Dr Loftus (2006). Highlights from a journey through time, Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club 1956-2006.. Mossel Bay Yacht and Boat Club. pp. 75. 
  3. ^ Rabinowitz, JS (1995). A history of the Royal Cape Yacht Club, 1904-1990.. Cape Town: Royal Cape Yacht Club. pp. 620. 

Coordinates: 34°10′45″S 22°08′26″E / 34.17917°S 22.14056°E / -34.17917; 22.14056

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