False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC) in Simon’s Town may be 60 years old but it is vibrant, progressive and innovative – the envy of all who visit this haven. The club is still celebrating spring with the Spring Twilight Race tomorrow (Wednesday 3 October) from 18:00 to 20:00.
This follows on the FBYC’S Spring Regatta over the Heritage long weekend (Saturday 22 to Monday 24 September), when wind and weather combined to provide a thrilling three days of competitive sailing and festive fun.
“Spectators were treated to the bay brightened by the colourful sails of over 50 entries, all enjoying the perfect racing conditions. After each day’s racing the competitors enjoyed a busy social calender too,” says Gary Moss, spokesperson for the FBYC.
The FBYC was founded in 1958 and moved into its present clubhouse in 1984. The modern clubhouse and marina facilities are situated centrally in the historic naval village of Simon’s Town.
The town and Simon’s Bay, in the south-western corner of False Bay, were named after the Dutch governor of the Cape Simon van der Stel, who in 1741 identified the bay as the preferred winter anchorage for visiting ships.
FBYC’s marina is one of only two marinas in the Western Cape to have been awarded Blue Flag status. Blue Flag status indicates that the marina is clean, safe and secure, and adheres to international safety and tourism standards.
Visiting international and local cruising yachts are most welcome and vessels up to 22m (about 20 tons) can be accommodated on either swing moorings or walk-on marinas.
“The annual Intasure-sponsored Spring Regatta, which is sailed in September, is regarded as the premier offshore keelboat regatta in South Africa and regularly attracts a competitive entry of more than 80 keelboats across the various classes. This regatta is sailed usually in the last week of September,” Moss says.
The activities of the club are regarded as a major tourism asset for the Southern Peninsula area and contribute significantly to the economy of Simon’s Town.
The club is going from strength to strength, with a total membership of around 1000; the facilities are unparalleled in South Africa and continue to improve, Moss says.
“FBYC also set the bar high in the sustainability stakes when they implemented Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas programme. The initiative is a first for South African yacht clubs which aims to completely abolish the use of single-use plastics and to encourage recycling in line with the Blue Flag status of the False Bay marina.
“This shift in mindset helped eliminate single-use plastic waste in all forms, from straws and water bottles to food packaging. Competitors were provided with reusable water bottles and filtered water was made available for re-fill purposes. In addition, clearly marked recycle bins were placed around the club.”
FBYC commodore, Anthony Wentworth, adds: “This initiative was so successful we will be embedding the plastic-free policy into the ongoing running of our club and marina. Seeing how enthusiastically our Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regatta was embraced by all competitors reinforced our conviction of just how critical it is to prioritise maintaining our precious environment.”
Sponsored by Intasure, Buco, DHL and Cape Medical Response, the Spring Regatta Festival of Sailing is False Bay Yacht Club’s premier regatta and one of the biggest in the country. The regatta attracts entries from most of the keelboat sailing clubs in the Western Cape. It also serves as the preparation event for the iconic Mossel Bay off-shore race, which started in Simon’s Bay on Thursday 27 September.