The World Hydrography Day and Transnet Port Festival together with the Junior J22 Championships and Flying Fifteen Provincial Championships provided a busy week for the Club which was well represented at the many events.
On Wednesday the Flag Officers and a group of Senior Members joined the Chief of the South African Navy, Vice Admiral M.S. Hlongwane, and officials from the South African Defence Force, Transnet, the Ethekwini Municipality, NSRI and Durban Chamber of Commerce amongst others aboard the South African Navy’s hydrographic survey vessel the SAS Protea for a short trip out to sea.
The day was a magnificent Durban winter’s day with clear skies and flat seas. The Royal Natal Yacht Club delegation were well received on board and all turned out in their Club regalia. We enjoyed the opportunity to network with the other invited guests and friends from the South African Navy. All the guests onboard the SAS Protea were treated to a guided tour of the vessel while out at sea. Of particular interest was the Chart Room and Hydrographic Survey Centre with its vast array of electronic equipment used to survey the seabed and produce the navigational charts of South African waters which we use when sailing along the coast and are so familiar with. Our understanding of how these charts are produced and constantly updated has been greatly enhanced and all the visitors now have a better understanding of this important work conducted by our navy.
The South African Navy certainly made sure all the guests were well catered for while onboard with an impressive selection of snacks served out on the flight deck. While enjoying the snacks and views of the Bay of Plenty the naval staff mingled with their guests and we all enjoyed interesting conversation. It was particularly pleasing for the RN delegation to experience firsthand the friendship and warm relations which our Club enjoys with the South African Navy. The Commodore’s suggestion that, following the practice of our friends at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, the Club should adopt a vessel from the South African Navy was met with great enthusiasm by senior naval staff and we look forward to developing even closer relations with the South African Navy.
On Friday evening the Commodore and other Senior Members were treated a wonderful evening at the Durban City Hall at the South African Navy Band Concert as guests of Vice Admiral M.S. Hlongwane who was represented at the occasion by Rear Admiral Hanno Teuteberg. It was a superb evening and the highly talented Navy Band produced a magnificent concert with a diverse selection of musical arrangements. The Navy Band was accompanied by the Drakensburg Boys Choir and pupils from the Umlazi Secondary School who produced a fine performance. The majestic City Hall with its excellent acoustics provided a wonderful venue for the concert and the South African Navy were once again wonderful hosts ensuring that the Royal Natal members were seated in the upper gallery together with the senior officers and from where we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the stage and band.
As part of Royal Natal’s contribution to the Port Festival the Club participated in a sail past on Saturday afternoon and arranged for yacht racing in the Esplanade Channel featuring the Club’s fleet of Pacer 27’s and Halcats providing a colourful spectacle for those watching from ashore.
Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the success of the Royal Natal Yacht Club junior J22 team consisting of members Michaela Robinson (skipper), Chad Stevenson and Bengi Daniels who won the J22 Junior Championships sailed in Gauteng. The Royal Natal Yacht Club is enormously proud of this talented and youthful team who represent the future of our Club.