The Beginnings of the Club
During the course of 1974, a group of catamaran owners on the reef banded together to form what was then known as the 'Roving Catamaran Racing Club'. The club was aptly named as they had no permanent base and their activities were very nomadic in nature. Racing was organised on a fortnightly basis at numerous venues such as the Vaal , Boskop Dam (Potchefstroom), Jericho Dam (Ermelo), Hartebeespoort Dam (Pretoria) and Bronkhorstspruit Dam. The intermediate weekends saw members congregating at Germiston Lake for constricted fun reaches (when possible) across this small stretch of water. The main movers in the establishment of the club were George Philo (Commodore), Geoff & Rod Teasdale, Peter Henning, Dudley Algie, Fritz Van Vuuren and Reg Stone. During 1976 'Uncle Tom' Algie took over the reins from George Philo.
Serious efforts to find a permanent base for the club commenced. This culminated in the negotiation towards the end of 1976 by Fritz Van Vuuren of a five year lease on a portion of ground with a water frontage belonging to the Bronkhorstbaai Pleasure Resort. The initial rental was R1500 per annum. The club was re-named the 'Transvaal Catamaran Club' at that stage membership was +/- 30. The ground leased by the club was situated on a steep rocky slope on the northern side of the dam. Access was through the Bronkhorstbaai resort and then via a narrow, rough, dirt track carved along the side of the hill bordering the dam.
Members were able to rent from the club a caravan site around 6 x 6 meters in extent for about R60 per annum with the proviso that they developed the site at their own cost. Some of the development can only be described as major engineering/mining feats. Sites were carved out of the slope using muscle, blood and ingenuity. Large boulders were attacked with picks, poles and many expletives. Some were cracked by the building of fires around and under them, to break them down into sizes which could be moved by four or five young, strong sailors.
While this was all going on, an active and enthusiastically attended sailing program was arranged. Members were given assistance by the more knowledgeable sailors on the sailing rules.
Strict compliance with racing rules was maintained in club events. Enthusiasm grew as did club membership. There was a swing in Catamaran types from the initial predominance of 'surfcats', now known as Hellcats, to Hobies. A number of other classes were also represented such as Paper Tigers, Cat 500's, Tornadoes, etc…
Bronkhorstbaai resort erected an ablution block with a supply of cold water and the club installed the hot water system. At one stage as the site developed and membership grew with the improved facilities, membership had to be closed. Additional ground was obtained from Bronkhorstbaai which allowed for further expansion.
In 1979 Alec Ryall was transferred to the Cape and was replaced as Commodore by Vaughan Hetem. Eric Cook took over as club Commodore in 1980, and had a difficult task in re-building club spirit which seemed to have waned for various reasons in the previous year. Under his very able leadership, the club regained its path of progress and the lead into our present club commenced.
Rentals for our site at Bronkhorstbaai escalated unrealistically, and it became obvious that our landlord was not keen to allow us to extend our tenancy. Possible future expansion was also very restricted. Eric mooted a move to elsewhere and after much investigation of alternative sites at the Vaal among others, managed to talk our present landlord into considering allocating a section of his farm on the waterfront to the TCC. Eric's unrelenting work and farsightedness soon infected his committee and members, and finally resulted in the negotiation of a thirty year lease for the present property on which we find ourselves today.
Thirty-year lease for 40 caravan sites, life memberships and other schemes were offered to club members. This innovative scheme enabled the club to raise the funds for our magnificent clubhouse and all the associated facilities such as water supply, electricity, etc...
Eric stepped down as commodore in 1984 and Peter Henning (the only founder member of RCRC still active in our club at that point) was elected. Peter and his committee kept up the impetus initiated by Eric and the results can be seen at TCC.
The Club Today.
As with all things that change, so did the club's name. It has been known as The Catamaran Club since 2000, known in its shortened version as simply The Cat Club. The Cat Club exists as an entity to further the love of sailing and specifically the sailing of Catamarans in all their makes and configurations. The Cat Club has a membership of approximately 170 families. The club is continuously growing, and as such is at present experiencing very strong growth in new members and is holding its own against other forms of water sports such as Jet skiing and Motorboats.
The club has great facilities and one of the best club houses around. Many improvements have been made by the members over the years, and many more are in the process of being done as we speak. The club boasts a modern ablution block, and has many other facilities such as the swimming pool, camping areas, member's campsites, a Boma and the lounging areas around the pool.
Today our members can be justly proud of what is one of the finest sailing clubs in the country. We would be failing in our duty if we neglected to mention some of the following members, who's efforts have resulted in what we see at TCC today.
Hugh Moffat, Alistair Moffat, Lionel Goldstein, Art Booman, Henk Vedder, Mike Herald, Peter Henning, Bruce Jacobs, Dave Shaw & Willie Dalgleish.