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A Brief History of the Club

Several gentleman of George, with an interest in Sailing, got together in 1954 to establish a yacht club. The inaugural meeting was held on the 4th October, 1954. The attendance of 30 people confirmed the election of the interim committee as being the first formal committee of the Club. The constitution, drafted by the interim committee, was accepted. E.C. Ashley was the first Commodore.
Russell Dumas, who owned Gretna Green, a resort on Swartvlei (now Pine Lake Marina), granted launching rights and boat parking to the new club.
In 1955, the club purchased a portion of Gretna Green from the Dumas family so as to erect a clubhouse on the banks of Swartvlei. The purchase price was £450. First boats of members included a Sprog owned by founder member Malcolm Fraser and a Flying Dutchman and 14' Redwing, owned by Ernie Ashley. In the first season, several dinghies were added to the fleet register. An Inter Club Regatta was held on Swartvlei between Knysna Yacht Club and George Lakes Yacht Club. A clubhouse was built and membership grew to 108 in 1956.
However, in subsequent years, membership declined. The distance from George and the perils of sailing on such a large expanse of water (with inadequate rescue facilities) were cited as reasons. At a special general meeting held on 1 April, 1960, it was decided to sell the clubhouse and to seek a more suitable venue.
In 1960 / 61, members constructed a judges box and flagpole on land leased from B. W. Dumbleton on an upper stretch of the Touw River - opposite the Fairy Knowe Hotel. In spite of this hard work, this venue was never used! The sailing waters were too restricted.
Then in 1961, Malcolm Fraser and his architectural partner Andy Smit explored the southern shores of Island Lake and declared this site to be ideal. The club approved and voted funds to provide facilities. The property was leased from the George Divisional Council. Initially, a small platform was constructed as a judges box, thereafter the clubhouse as at present was built by members.

Information obtained from the publication George Lakes Yacht Club Logbook 1954 - 2004, written by Malcolm Fraser.

Trophy History

Over the years, GLYC has acquired several trophies, used for various sailing series, etc. This is thanks to the generosity of its members, past and present. In order to preserve the knowledge of who these donors are / were, this document lists the trophies, with a short description of the origin of each.


Just exactly who Angus Hay was remains a bit of a mystery, but his magnificent trophy remains the most sought after award. It is presented by the Commodore to the member who for the year, has made the greatest contribution to the Club, or alternatively to Sailing in general. It should be for personal effort and commitment rather than for any financial consideration.


The original trophy was donated by the Grant family in memory of Peter Grant, a Spearhead sailor and club treasurer.
It is awarded to the "Member of the Year". The original trophy went missing. As it was felt that this is an important way of recognising our hard working members, it was replaced.


Presented by Max McRae who was Club President from 1976 to 1979 and it was he who officiated at the Club's grand gala 21st birthday dinner held at the Wilderness Hotel. - Pre-season Frostbite series.


Donated by Bill Turner for the Junior Frostbite Series winner.


Presented by E B Lye, Founder President -from 1954 to 1962. Alice Lye, his wife, lent her name to the club rescue craft and was a generous donor to club funds for about 10 years after his death. She also left a handsome legacy to the club.


Donated by Ernie Ashley, who was a Founder Member and the first Commodore of GLYC. He was proprietor of the Victoria Hotel (now George museum) where the inaugural meeting of the Club was held.


Originally presented in the 1960s by Eddie Toker who owned a jeweller's shop in Hibernia Street - present Old Mutual building. This was to have been a one-off race cup but was won by Attie Verhagen who then donated it back to the club as a floating trophy. The last surviving founder member, Attie was Commodore from 1968 - 1971 and President from 1979 -1981


Donated by JMT Bell in the early 60s. Supposedly related to the Bells Whisky family and hence the name Whisky Woods allocated to the picnic site which he occupied under the milkwoods at the entrance to the carpark.


Commodore from 1957-59. Woolfie Israelson had an upmarket men's outfitter in Hibernia Street and was the ultimate man-about-town and ladies' man - unmarried but never without an attractive woman on his arm. Sailed a Flying Dutchman and is rumoured to have helmed it on one occasion in long white flannels and navy blazer.


First Secretary/Treasurer of GLYC. He had arrived in George after retiring in the UK to open a tearoom in Hibernia Street. This had become the Saturday morning social hub of the town.

He sailed a Redwing which had been presented to the club by Ernie Ashley.


Lisa Wyatt was known throughout the whole sailing fraternity as "Ma", and was one of the sport's many characters. She was largely responsible for bringing the Sprog's Glinane Week to Swartvlei in the 1970s, which was run by GLYC. Well known sailing names - Meek, Hudson, Ellens, Provoyeur, Koper and many more, were all included in the 70+ entries. Though well into her sixties, Ma finished in the top 25% of this august group of sailors. At the age of 80something she crewed for Jenvy Nissen one Sunday afternoon at GLYC in 1999 just a week before dying while queing in the bank in Knysna. The trophy which bears her name is a GLYC burgee found amongst her stuff by her daughter and given to the Club. Thelma and Norma Metelerkamp had it framed as a trophy.


Donated to the Club in 1979 by Kurt Swartzkopf, who owned a knitwear factory in Mossel Bay. He himself sailed (badly) a Fying Dutchman, but he bought a Fireball for his two sons. This they learned to sail and with much vocal encouragement from father on shore, became fairly proficient. The tray was intended to be an additional incentive, but unfortunately he closed his M.B. plant and moved it and the family to Cape Town.


It was donated in 1969 by the business, as trophy for the Sonnet Class, which was becoming a very popular boat at that time.


Donated by Derek's widow Sheena, following his death from a heart attack while helping to launch his GP14 from the slipway at the club - he had made his boat available for GP14 training prior to a National Championships

A dedicated GP man, he had built this boat in the 1950s and had sailed it for many years at GLYC.


Donated by Attie Verhagen on behalf of Western Bank, known at that time in 1966 as Western Credit. This was, as the Open Class, to be in effect, for any class other than Finn or Sprog. (Attie sailed a FD.)


Donated by Bernard Parkes of Knysna in 1955. Erroneously called the Hard Luck trophy, it was originally intended to be for determination and effort. This is a handsome barometer, and came to be awarded to the skipper with the best season's aggregate but not having won any other trophy.


Donated by Herbert Evans, paint merchants, for the best aggregate over all races in a season. (Named for Parthenon Paints - a well known high quality brand in the 1950s) . Over the years the manner in which its award is calculated has varied, but it has always remained an aggregate trophy.

M & G Crew Cup.

This was donated by Jack Page,the manager of Motor and General, (A car spares business) who was a non-sailing member of the club, but an active social member who made a big contribution to club affairs. The trophy was intended to be for a race in which skippers and crews of 2 man boats would swap places.


Paul was not himself a great sailor, but his son and daughters were very keen juniors. One of his daughters married the SA Xtra class Champion whose national champs had been sailed at GLYC in conjunction with our New Year regatta.

Paul who ran an auto- electrical business in town was ever on hand to assist with club affairs and maintenance, and it was his children who donated the cup in his name.


Donated by Gordon Rivas (Commodore 1971, 1991 & 1998: President 1997) Named for his daughter in 1967.


Arranged by Eddie Fuller in 2000. Eddie and his family were keen GP 14 sailors and their son Nick on leaving school became a member of the S.A. team which sailed "Shosholoza" in an International season.


This was presented by Chris's brother Tony. Chris was totally deaf but managed to communicate with his fellow sailors to the extent that he became a popular and valued member of the club. He was a highly competent Hobie 14 skipper and was sadly missed after his untimely death.


Donated by Di Turner, it was originally intended as a junior inter-club trophy in 1995. As there was little or no competition at this level for a while, it was used as a seniors trophy.


Presented to the Club by Roy Paxton and Eddie Fuller in 2000 to mark the end of an era to coincide with Ma Wyatts death.


Presented by York Motors, which was what the service station at the bottom of York Street was called in the 1990s, as a multihull trophy. With the decline in catamaran popularity as racing craft at the club, it has had various uses in recent years. (Currently used as a Youth series trophy).


Donated by Malcolm Fraser in 1960. A Founder member and keen supporter of GLYC until his death, he was Commodore from 1998 to 1999. He had organised the building of the original clubhouse at Swartvlei and was a keen Finn sailor for many years. With the fall in numbers of heavy single handers and and the rise in popularity of the Laser, it was natural that this single hander trophy should be re-assigned to this class.


Ken Roff, Club President from 1965 to 1976, was a director of D De Klerk & Co., an agricultural supply firm situated in the building between the Post Office and Barclays Bank. On behalf of his company he donated the de Klerk Cup, which for many years has been Junior Champion Trophy.


Donated by Tom Sprong, who owned the tavern in the Wilderness village. His son Zon was a leading junior sailor for a number of years, and then went on to perform well in ocean events. E.g. Cape to Rio


With the current system of holding some junior fleet series over the same weekends as senior fleet series, a shortage of junior fleet trophies was apparent. To fill the gap, this wooden shield was donated by Sailing School Coach Evelyn Osborne in 2014.


Donated by Paul Tops, sometime Vice-Commodore and Bosun. His son Wyndham, as a senior school boy, was a successful GP14 skipper. He then went on to a sailing academy and now runs the fleet of pleasure craft belonging to an Arab sheik in the Persian Gulf area.


Optimist Championship Trophy.

This trophy was actually sponsored by Sandy Witteveen (Joseph / Farrell) who approached Japie Naude of JJ Jewelers to make it. The name was firstly for Sandy's daughter Jessica Joseph, who was doing rather well in Optimist at that stage, inspired by JJ Proveur who Jessica had recently seen winning a provincial regatta. Japie was GLYC Bosun and got one of his employees, Daniel Bowles (who was a regular GP14 crew for his father Dave) to build the model Optimist. (And I mounted the model in the transparent perspex box.) Quite a bit of JJ and GLYC character in the Oppie Trophy.

Clive Davy Trophy

This trophy, in the form of a (functional) barometer mounted on a wooden tree trunk base, was presented in 2009 by the Davy family (Walter, Mark) in memory of their brother Clive, a keen Laser sailor at GLYC. The committee decided to use this trophy for Match Racing.


This was sponsored by Thelma, who in many seasons on the bridge at Island Lake had witnessed many incidents of sportsmanship, where possibly a good position had been sacrificed in order to assist or motivate someone less fortunate; and in most cases this had gone unnoticed or unrewarded. The idea here was to promote the traditional concept of "good sportsmanship".


Trophy donated by Di Turner, to be used for the winner of the GANDOLPH fleet. Di Turner was the creator of this concept - this fleet only sails triangles (no silly sausages!), thus is suitable for (senior) novices, or more elderly (decrepit?) sailors.

Information provided by Rod Farrell