DURBAN – THIS week marked a significant milestone for Durban's popular sailing club, Point Yacht Club, which celebrated its 125th year.

With its rich history, the club has seen many a character pass through its doors with a number of Olympic sailors donning the club's colours and a number of youth sailors being selected to represent South Africa.

The club was founded by Commodore A Barnes who was the captain of the Government Tug, the SS Richard King, in 1892.

It was a small group of yachtsmen who decided to form a separate club, breaking away from the then-Natal Yacht Club, that later became the Royal Natal Yacht Club.

On May 14 it was announced that the Point Yacht Club had been formed and comprised mainly of Point residents.

So, initially the club was formed for working people including tradesmen and seamen who were deprived of being part of the Royal Natal Club, which was regarded as an “upper-class people club only” at that time.

Despite facing challenges at the beginning, the club has achieved many accolades over the past 125 years.

Point Yacht Club Commodore Craig Millar was delighted to celebrate the milestone during his tenure, he said: “It is a challenging time to be a sports club in this day and age, with access to water being an increasing concern for water sports clubs in the country.

“But looking at the positives side, our club is growing from strength to strength both on the water and socially, especially after the substantial renovation and our great new addition, Chef Markus.

"Our partnership with Sail Africa is breathing new life into the development of youth in our sport, together with the wonderful, proactive team running the club's PYC water sports academy. We are focussing on transformation and development.

Our top sailors are performing well on the water, both nationally and internationally. I would say that we can be proud and proudly PYC. Our future certainly looks bright.

“And we will continue to work hard to remain the best yacht club in this province and hopefully also in the country soon,” he said.

Millar said besides hosting a number of international events, the club won the Lipton Cup Challenge 10 times, which was an honour.

The Lipton Cup was the most prestigious, esteemed sailing event in the country, which made the Durban club the second most successful club in the history of an event that was started over a century ago by Sir Thomas Lipton.

As part of the celebration today (Sunday) they will be opening up the "Band on the Bay" to the public and they have a special Mother's Day lunch planned.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE