Chairman’s Report for 2017
Another whole year has passed and when I look at last year’s report, I cannot believe that there is not much that has changed since then?
- We are still here…
- We are still fighting to keep our identity in the “new club”
- The same old faces are on the beach and water regularly, fishing and paddling.
- DUC and DSBC are still trying to hoodwink their members about their new “club” plan
- Mackerel are still plentiful and shad still small
- Beach is still being pumped full of sand
On a more serious note….it has been a very tough and stressful time spent with lawyers and advocates whilst we continue to negotiate what was promised to us in the 2012 agreement. My thanks go out to Johnny V for his continued support and pit-bull terrier like tenacity in keeping all the players involved on their toes, and to Peter Rowan and Karin Solomon who have spent many hours in assisting both Johnny and I whilst we soldier on to ensure that we end up with a fair deal as promised.
As we stand right now we are faced with a “PWC” board that seems to have signed away the freehold property given in the 2008 agreement in exchange for a dubious 15 year leasehold property at R108k per month. We are also still being denied proper representation in the current PWC structure. This will be discussed later this evening in depth and we as members need to agree our standpoint as to the way forward. Hereunder is a copy of what was in last year’s report which may help to refresh some and enlighten newer members:
- In 2012 we signed an agreement with the developer that ended our opposition and legal wrangle to the Marina development proposed, based on certain proposals.
- In terms of that agreement we would be entitled to become the 4th club under the PWC umbrella, with the same rights as the other 3 clubs had agreed in their 2008 agreement.
- This we believe entitles us to have representation on a board of directors (2 from each club) of the PWC Company (NPO) and to retain our identity as an independent club within the main club.
- Sadly, the DUC and the DSBC do not agree with this board representation. They have also set up the PWC Company contrary to the 2008 agreement by not allowing each club to retain its separate identity, but for each person to become a member of the PWC.
- This is being contested by PYC and now also DPSC and we are at present involved with attorneys again to discuss and compile an amended Memorandum of Incorporation for the new umbrella club that is in accordance with the signed agreements.
- What this means for us is simply that we will retain our identity as a club and collect fees from our members and pay a levy to the PWC for using their facilities. It will also provide us with representation on the PWC board.
- The developer has also been reminded that the 2012 agreement between SVA and DPSC needs to be adhered to and if not, could delay the development again – which I am sure they do not want.
We now have a date in September where an arbitrator will hear both sides’ arguments as to who has the fairer Memorandum of Incorporation for the new club. Should the arbitrator judge in our favour we would more than likely overcome all the issues we have with the proposed MOI currently on the table.
The fishing this year has been better than usual with some nice gamefish and Geelbek being caught for those that know how. It is interesting that we always seem to launch and simply try for shad and mackerel or snapper in season. I remember when there were members that fished for grunter, stumpies and rock cod and always were successful. Maybe the fish have gone (as Johnny suspects) or maybe we don’t try hard enough? When last did anyone fish near the groynes, the wreck, piers etc? Or inside Limestone, that used to be a hotspot for Stumpies? I suppose the sand soldiers (reds) have something to do with that as well?
The finances reflect a rather lean year in the sense that we have kept expenditure to a minimum in view of the uncertainty (once again) of the club’s existence. We have averaged only 380 or so members this year so in effect we have dropped about 20 or so from last year. The audited accounts are available for inspection and question from anyone. My sincere thanks to Brent Slade, our Treasurer and Mike Richardson, our honorary Auditor, for compiling and auditing the finances of our club for the past year.
We may need to discuss the raising of a special levy sometime during the year to boost the bank account in preparation for our contribution to the new club house (assuming all goes well with the negotiations and /or arbitration). We will need to raise at least R300, 000 in the next 2 years so I suggest that fees will increase next year by at least 14% to R400 per year. I also propose to increase entrance fees substantially to inject further funds from new members.
Lastly, my thanks firstly to the committee members who have assisted me during this year as Chairman and secondly to all members for the continued support for our club and all it stands for.
2 August 2017
NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2017
Greetings Friends, Paddlers and Fishermen,
I hope you will forgive me for not coming up with any weird and wonderful tales to tell you this time round, but with so much happening around our club right now, I have not had the time to read the papers or even watch the evening news, to give me any inspiration. Never in my life have I been so out of touch with the world. I did however hear that a tribe of cannibals were discovered and arrested just up the road in Estcourt, while someone else was arrested for trying to sell a human head in West Street and people tell me that Zuma is still President – not sure which story is the weirdest of the lot. Anyway, it’s a dog-eats-dog world out there guys, so let’s cut to the chase and get stuck into the business right away.
WELCOME TO MORE NEW MEMBERS
Being a stickler for tradition, let’s once again kick off by extending a warm welcome to our new members and wish them many, many enjoyable years at our club. They are: Andre Bester, Marius Minnar, and Martin Fishet. Welcome aboard chaps!
ANNUAL FISHING COMPETITION
This year’s Annual Fishing Competition took place on the weekend of 24 & 25 June. With so many new and enthusiastic members having joined us of late, I was expecting a good turn-out, but unfortunately it ended up as the least supported competition in living memory, with less than forty guys and one nice lady (Hi Lyn) rocking up. To be polite, I’ll just say that you guys were quite pathetic.
Conditions on the first day weren’t ideal, with a huge swell, bumpy ocean and a brisk icy north-easter making things a little uncomfortable. But after reports that shoals of sardines were being netted close to Durban and one having entered the harbour mouth, we braved the elements and took our positions on the beach ready for the six o’clock launch. After a few hairy launches and a bumpy ride towards the horizon, we all settled on our preferred spots eager to get stuck into the fish. Unfortunately, we did not last too long on the water, as many guys were soon seen heading back home with their tails between their legs, frozen to the bone and feeling a little green around the gills. In amongst all this misery, Craig Weekes managed to bag a decent cave bass and Sean Vincent a small rockcod and apart from a few shad, we did not trouble the weigh-master too much.
For me personally the first day was a disaster. Within a few minutes of launching, I lost my anchor and was forced to tie up on the nets and remain there, scratching for a few measly shad. After having hooked a few gannets that kept taking my live mozzies, and reeling them in like kites, I did hook a few shad but had to fight for each and every one with another flock of gannets that kept dive-bombing them whilst still on my line. By then I had had enough of these pests and after a few serious clouts on their heads with my rod, they soon got the message, regurgitated my fish and left me alone. Yes I know, I am not very nice. By nine o’ clock, I too was back on the beach…gatvol and frozen solid.
Anyway, after a short south-westerly that blew during the night and quickly petered out, we were treated with perfect conditions on the second day. Not a breath of wind, no shore dump, not a ripple on the ocean, and believe it not, the fish were ravenous. I was more pleased that the gannets were also gone. It really turned out to be a most stunning day on the water.
All the guys managed to bag their quota of some really big shad and even bigger mackerel. The mackies were enormous, almost like small snoek! To add to the enjoyment, a few “lucky” anglers, found a shoal of geelbek feeding barely 100 metres from the tip of The North Pier making pigs of themselves and walking away with all the main prizes. Darren Ritter bagged two fish weighing around 8-9 kg each, taking the first prize. Craig Weekes who also bagged two fish of similar weights, took second place, while Hilton Harmsworth also jumped onto the bandwagon with another two geelbek, taking the third prize. All the rest of the prizes went to shad bags with Andrew Mackintosh winning an extra R1000 cash for his “mystery weight” prize. Dirty rotten scoundrel.
The day was not over yet. While we were out braving the elements trying to put food on the table, the duty guys, committee members and several other volunteers, made sure the beers were cold and the free boerie rolls that were being handed out, were cooked to perfection. All in all a great weekend. I hope all you guys that did not participate, were forced to work like dogs at home by your wives. Serves you right.
A big thank you to the committee for their hard work, particularly to Vice-Admiral Mario Waldhausen, to our weigh-master, Rob Taylor, Claudette Roodt and the duty guys for keeping law and order and running the bar and braai so efficiently. A big thanks also goes out to all our sponsors, particularly to committee member, Anthony “Rockcod” Khan, for arranging so many prizes and a bigger thanks to Mrs Khan for wrapping the prizes so meticulously and artistically for us. Thank you Mrs Khan; you really spoiled these hooligans.
REGISTRATIONS AND BOAT INSPECTIONS 2018
This year’s Annual Registrations and boat inspections will take place on the weekends of 28 & 29 October and 4 & 5 November 2017 between 6.30 am and 2.00 pm. Guys please diarise these dates and times and comply to make this tedious task as easy as possible for the Committee. If for some genuine reason you are not available during these two weekends, please make alternative arrangements with any Committee member before Friday 27 October. Unless alternate arrangements have been made a fine of R300 will apply for any late payment or late ski inspection and a fine of R500, if done after 31 December 2017.
Guys please ensure that your skis are seaworthy and ALL your safety equipment accompanies your ski at the inspections. If just one piece of equipment is not available, NO REGISTRATION WILL TAKE PLACE. Let us spare a thought for our Committee who give up two weekends to carry out this tedious and thankless task. With so much other stuff going on right now, let’s show a little appreciation and make their lives as easy as possible.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This year’s AGM took place on 2 August 2017 and as expected, it was possibly the best attended meeting ever held in our club, with 129 members turning up. (90 more than participated in the competition – what is the matter with you guys? Considering the serious events recently unfolding around our club, it was what we would have expected. Initially the AGM was scheduled to take place fourteen days later, but after the club having been served a notice to vacate by 8 August, a Special General Meeting (SGM) was required to obtain a mandate from the members as to whether to comply or not. To avoid having to hold two meetings in such a short period of time, the Committee decided to hold the AGM earlier and include the new issue on the agenda.
While all the usual topics, such as Committee elections and finances were discussed, the Point development issues took up most of the evening. We are grateful that our advocate Peter Rowan SC, took the time to attend our meeting and brief the members of the recent events, giving us his legal opinion on the way forward as well as a detailed rundown of the events leading up to the current situation. He reiterated that the Club was in a far stronger position now than ever before, as we had a legally-binding agreement, guaranteeing our tenure within the new development. He also stressed the point that the Club should resort to litigation only as a last resort and advised the Club to first try to negotiate with the developer, before litigating.
After a lively debate and numerous questions put to the Committee and the advocate, the issue of agreeing to vacate under the new terms or pursue the negotiation route, failing which, to litigate, was put to the vote. With a unanimous show of hands the members voted in favour of not vacating the premises on 8 August, but litigate if all attempts to negotiate a better deal failed. These and other issues will be covered in greater detail a little later under “Point Development”.
The other important matter worth noting, is that the Committee remains almost the same for the coming year, with new comer, Gordon Banks coming on to replace Warren Green, who sadly, will be immigrating to Ireland shortly. On behalf of all the members, I would like to thank Warren for his dedicated service he has given our club over many years and wish him all the success in the future. We know, like so many other members who have emigrated, Warren’s heart will remain here with us and I am sure we shall stay in contact for a long time yet. We are just a mouse click away Warren. At the same time, I would like to welcome Gordon on the Committee and wish him many happy years serving us all. Welcome aboard Gordon! You have joined a real band of brothers.
The Politburo for 2018 is as follows: Chairman – Ernie Hovelmeier, Vice Chairman – Mario Waldhausen, Treasurer – Bren Slade, Secretary – Johnny Kruger. The rest of the committee is made up of Subash Mohadow, Shaun Slade, Tony Erasmus, Anthony Khan and Gordon Banks. Good luck guys; a hectic and vital year is awaiting you. We have no doubts whatsoever that you will pull us through these difficult times once again.
Wow! Where do I start? Before you start reading any further, just go and pour yourself a long drink and make yourself comfortable as this may take a while. All set? Okay, here we go.
First and foremost, let’s get the bad news out of the way and tell you that on 8 June all the clubs on Vetch’s Beach were served with notices to vacate our premises by 8 August 2017. The plan was for all the clubs to relocate to a temporary site behind the sand pump offices, for a period of two years and thereafter move into the permanent site beneath the promenade after it is completed. PYC, DUC and DSBC were given two leases to sign, while our club was not.
Problem No 1 is that construction of the building on the temporary site had not even commenced on the date the clubs were required to vacate and no building plans had actually been submitted. Upon several enquiries being made, the city approved the building within ten minutes, saying they were “courtesy plans”. Not sure what safety building regulations will apply. Problem No 2 is that no plans have actually been submitted for the permanent site beneath the promenade, which we are told construction is due to commence shortly. Problem No 3 is that it has just been discovered that the promenade is to be built below the erosion line, which flies in the face of all national and municipal building laws and in total contradiction to the 2012 Agreement signed by DPDC, as well as being a vital condition of the authorization. This serious disregard of the law has already been legally challenged by the Save Vetch’s Association. Problem No 4 is that DPDC are disregarding the agreements they signed, firstly with DUC, DSBC and PYC in 2008 and with the SVA and our club in 2012. Those agreements clearly state that a site would be sold to the clubs at the reduced price of R872 928 on a freehold basis. Now the developers are disregarding that agreement, demanding the clubs accept to be accommodated on a leasehold option with a monthly rental of R108 K with a 5% escalation clause for a period of fifteen years with an option to extend for a further ten… and then nothing.
DUC wasted no time and held a Special General Meeting, in which the members agreed to sign the new leases, without even considering obtaining a legal opinion on the validity of the previous agreements. A few members tried to raise their concerns, but were shouted down. At the Ski Boat Club things were a little different. Their Commodore, Hilton Kidger and Vice-Commodore, Shaun Lavery were aware of the serious implications of this decision and met with the leadership of PYC and our club to discuss the situation. The Commodore, asked that this meeting remain secret, obviously concerned that his puppet-master at DUC would find out that he had been talking to us without his knowledge. Anyway, after making it crystal clear that signing the new leases was not a good option, the Commodore soon did a U-turn and urged his members to follow the DUC approach and sign the new leases, also without bothering to obtain a legal opinion. Initially he called for an electronic vote and even notified the members that a “non-vote” would be counted as a “yes-vote”! This of course, is not only absurd but in total contradiction to the club’s constitution and common logic.
This led to what can only be referred to as a mutiny and certain concerned ski boaters (Action Group led by Gareth Davies) managed to convince their Committee to abandon their daft and unlawful voting process and go by the book, calling for a Special General Meeting. A “working group” was formed, to gather all the facts, regarding the 2008 and 2012 agreements, after having being deliberately kept in the dark for the last ten years or so. This fact, coupled with the members’ own apathy meant that most of the members had no idea of what has been happening under their noses for the last decade and were not be in any position to make an informed decision particularly on an important issue such as this. While the “working group” was making progress gathering the information it required, the Committee called for the Special General Meeting in order for the vote to go ahead. The Action Group, not having all the information it required, applied to interdict the meeting hoping for a postponement. This was denied by the court and the meeting went ahead.
Although certain ski boat members referred to this meeting as “a shambles”, the bottom line is that the vote went for the signing of the new leases with a count of 98 for and 96 against. The Action Group is currently in the process of lodging a legal appeal to overturn the result, particularly when 39 “yes” votes and 8 “no votes” were sent in by proxy! Some of these proxies were also done in an improper manner. The Action group’s legal opinion is that voting by proxy was certainly unconstitutional and the whole process improper. They have notified the Committee, PWC and the developer of their findings. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, it basically means that out of a membership of around 2000, a mere 147 members bothered to turn up to make the most important decision in their club’s history!
There seems to be some urgency for the clubs to sign these leases, and almost immediately after the Ski Boat Club vote was taken, DUC and DSBC called for a meeting of the directors of the so-called Point Watersports Club (PWC) in order to discuss and whether to vote for the signing of the new leases. If the SGM of the ski boat club was called a shambles, then this “Directors meeting” was a total farce. Firstly, the PYC directors, Craig Millar and Dave Cuthbert, were told by the Chairman, Cuan Hall (DUC chairman) to switch off their recording devices resulting in a long and heated debate. They stood their ground and the devices eventually remained on.
Another heated argument broke out when Millar and Cuthbert tried to tell “the board” that this voting was unlawful in that our club was not included and that the new leases were in total contradiction to the agreements signed by the developers in 2008 and 2012. When Dave Cuthbert, a highly esteemed and Honorary Life Member of PYC, handed Cuan Hall a letter from our club’s lawyers, Hall tore it up and threw it away, calling Cuthbert a “dick”! This gives one a good indication of the character and calibre of the person that has entrenched himself as the so-called chairman of this so-called “PWC” and purporting to be representing the interests all the clubs’ members. How the ski boat club’s Commodore and Vice Commodore can sit back and accept this person as their “Chairman”, is way beyond me.
At the end of that meeting, the vote went ahead, with DUC and DSBC voting in favour of signing the new leases while the two PYC directors voted against. The full transcript of that shambolic and disgraceful meeting is on our club’s website and has also been widely distributed. Many DUC members expressed their disgust and anger at their chairman’s behaviour. Perhaps the biggest question out of all this mess, is how we did move from a freehold option to a leasehold, without ever engaging with the developers? This question was put to the ski boat club Commodore who answered with: “The Minister of Public Works issued a directive that no further State land be sold until further notice due to the losses incurred by the city on the privatization and sale of State land.” The facts are that all the land on The Point had ceased to be State land from the mid ninety nineties, when it was sold to a Malaysian Consortium, Renong. When the Durban Metro became a 50% shareholder, the land was then transferred to DPDC. Since then, there was no public land as Kidger claims. In a nutshell his answer was one big fat lie.
Another concern is that while this “PWC” is signing new agreements with the developer, its very own existence is being challenged by PYC and our club being currently locked in an arbitration process, due to be commence on 15 September. Just exactly what legal rights does this body thinks it has to be entering into any agreements with the developer? There can be no doubt that the “PWC” they have created, is totally inconsistent with the terms of the 2008 Agreement all the clubs signed. The bottom line is that neither of the clubs had the mandate to create such a body in the first place, and which is becoming a very costly affair to all their members. When one adds the PYC/DUC dispute, which is also scheduled to hit the court rooms soon and the bullying charge on the DUC chairman by Karin Solomon, legal costs of this whole saga must be astronomical. We, on the other hand are indeed fortunate to have no legal costs as we have entered into a contingency fee arrangement with our advocate. This means that should we win, and we are extremely confident of that, the advocate’s fees will be paid by the opposition.
Just when we thought things could not get any more complicated, we discover that the developer is planning to construct the promenade below the erosion, totally disregarding another term of the 2012 Agreement it has signed with our club and the Save Vetch’s Association (SVA). A letter has already gone to the developers and the Department of Environmental Affairs, raising SVA’s concerns warning of the precedent that this could set nationally. An added concern is that if the clubs are indeed to be placed beneath this promenade, it should not be placed in a vulnerable area prone to flooding in a major storm…as we keep seeing happening to the promenade on our beachfront only too often of late.
As far as our club goes, and as mentioned earlier under “AGM”, we invited the developer to meet with us, but so far we have not had any response, not that we expected one. All the clubs did however receive notices from the developer advising us that they did not have any plans of our buildings and unless we produced copies, they would be entitled to demolish them. I am not sure what has made them believe they have the right to do that, but we do have copies of all our structures and we shall provide them with a copy.
From the very beginning, this development has been shrouded in secrecy and the developer will not even engage with the press, let alone with our little club. We have had no choice than to threaten with litigation should the terms of our agreement not be honoured. We hope that sanity will eventually prevail and a workable solution is found quickly. The situation is changing almost on a daily basis, so we shall continue notifying the members on a regular basis. Eish! Now I need a top-up.
MOANS AND GROANS
Not too much to moan about this time round guys. What’s come over you? You have all been good, which is nice for the club, but makes it boring for me having no one to moan about. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here goes.
Please be aware that if you cannot make your duty date, it is your responsibility to swop with any other member and do not expect our secretary to do that for you. It is advisable to try to swop as early as possible and not leave it for the last moment, as some members have discovered. Just remember that doing one’s duty is a serious matter and disciplinary action is taken on anyone that does not pitch up.
We also ask all members to inform the secretary of any changes of contact details, particularly email addresses. Far too often, emails are returned as unknown address making it difficult to communicate with the members.
Once again, it is with great regret that I report on the recent passing of one of our early members from the 1970s, Colin Mc Rory, who will always be fondly remembered for his magic shows, entertaining the kids and adults of our club in many of our club’s Christmas parties of yesteryear. Colin will also be remembered as the only member in our history to have been rescued late at night with son Darryl, after having been blown out to outer anchorage off Umhlanga by a south-westerly buster. Believe it or not, Darryl and brother Jody, are still active members of our club. On behalf of all the members, we extend our heartiest condolences to the family.
After having seen no sardine run for several years, we all got a little excited when a few shoals were netted along the lower south coast towards the middle of July. They continued been netted up to Winklespruit and one shoal was actually spotted inside Durban harbour the day before our fishing competition. It was no surprise therefore that some nice geelbek were caught on our competition day and continued to be caught sporadically for the next few weeks. Darren Ritter and Craig Weekes, who both won the two top prizes at the competition, caught several more geelbek during the following week with Mario Zamponi also bagging one. All were around 8-9 kg. A geelbek was speared as recently as Saturday 26 August. So they are still around and we should be putting down some decent bottom baits at all times, particularly in front of the North Pier, which seems to be their favourite spot.
During this period it is possible to hook into almost any type of fish, whether it being a warm water species like a cuda or a cold water Cape species like a geelbek. After my episode with the gannets during the competition, the very next week I managed to hook a turtle, yes a turtle, the size of Mario’s bakkie. It took me about twenty minutes to get it to the surface and next to my ski on my Penn jigmaster, and boy, did it have an attitude! It wanted to eat my boat. My crew, Johnny Kruger put his life on the line stretching out his arm trying to remove the hook, which he bravely did. I was so proud of my boy. I had actually told him not to worry about having his arm bitten off because turtles have no teeth. Come to think of it, I did not lie to him.
Shad have continued to make up the bulk of our catches and although no humungous specimens have been caught most have been decent sized. Sometimes we find these fish not biting in the early mornings, as we read in the books, only for them to switch on around ten o’clock. So if you have woken up a little late, rock up anyway, it may not be too late. Let us not forget the shad season will be closed soon at the end of September and reopen on 1 December again. Currently most members are able to catch their quota of four on every launch, so come down and join in.
If you have not as yet stocked up on bait for the year, hurry up and get onto the water asap, as the mackerel are still here in their millions. They have been hanging around for a few months now but could disappear at any moment. These fish make excellent live baits and we should be putting some out on the surface or on the bottom at every chance we get.
There have not been too many rockcod caught in our waters this winter and this could be the result of the excessive pumping and dumping of sand in the vicinity. At times the dredger has been spotted awfully close to Limestone Reef and although we cannot see if it is dumping sand there, we cannot discount that. We do know that the dredger has been dumping sand on the deeper waters, smothering all the small reefs on which the rockcod and other reef-dwelling fish inhabit. If you do catch any rockcod, please remember that 50 cm is the minimum size for spotted/catface (How’re you doing Anthony?) and 60 cm for yellowbellies.
The red piranhas (sand soldiers) seem to have been rather scarce of late, so let us also drop some fillet or chokka baits onto the bottom hoping for a spotted grunter or stumpie. These two species were regular catches in past years, but the infestation of the sand soldiers has just about made the catching of these bottom-dwelling fish impossible. Good spots are around the shark nets, particularly near The Wreck or on the inside ledge of Limestone Reef. Let us not forget that very shortly it will be time for the Javelin grunter, more commonly known as Moff grunter. These fish usually rock up around September/October and do not hang around for too long. They can be caught on the bottom or in mid-water with a sardine head being the most successful bait. The nets, particularly from the Wreck towards the Snake Park area have been good spots for these fish in the past. They have not shown up for a number of years, so perhaps they’ll surprise us this season.
Anyway, let us also not forget to try fishing the harbour as some decent size grunter are currently being caught there.
My apologies for such a long winded newsletter that has more to do with fighting than it does with fishing, but we live in interesting times. We are certainly up for the challenge and we ask all the members to remain positive and hope to see you all at the registration tables in a few short weeks.
Take care everybody and see you all on the water of course.
NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2017
Greetings Friends, Paddlers and Fishermen,
Although we are already deep into the New Year and Easter is just around the corner, this is still our first newsletter, so let me start by wishing you all of the best for 2017 and may we all catch the fish of our dreams this coming year. As there have been so many developments, particularly regarding our future relocation and acceptance into Point Watersports, let me not waste any time and get stuck into the serious stuff.
WELCOME TO MORE NEW MEMBERS
After going through a lean patch recently, the flood gates have suddenly opened and within the last few weeks we took in 26 new members. So in keeping up with tradition, let’s kick off by extending a warm welcome to all the new kids on the block and wish them many enjoyable years at our club. They are: Melvin Reddy, Mahendra Mangaroo, Allan Wittstock, Theo De Jager, Sudesan Pillay, Ruben Deoraj, Iqbal Naroth, Ikraam Ismail, Brad Woods, Ahmed Haffegee, Tyron Steele, Selvan Perumal, Jason Rhynes, Savelle, Kissoonhund, Marlene Pretorius, Nydia Bean, Don Williams, Kosta Zloshcastiev, (My God! I thought Vassilaros was bad enough) Claude Roodt, Luis Alves, Shaun Horne, Wade Pierrus, Mark Rhynes, Casey Morris and Charlotte and Brandon Reid. Welcome aboard chaps!
After a lengthy consideration and discussions with the harbour authorities, we have been granted permission to extend our area of operation, which will be as follows: LONG SKIS ONLY will now be able to paddle across the harbour mouth and operate up to 3 kms south of the southern breakwater, more or less to the old Cave Rock area. For all skis (LONG SKIS AND CROCKERS) our most seaward boundary has also been extended to one kilometre seawards of the tip of the southern breakwater. The northern boundary remains the Umgeni Mouth. Please note that no drifting, fishing or anchoring is permitted in the harbour channel. The total area of operations is displayed on our website.
Please note operating in the new areas will be permitted provided that at least two members do so at the same time and that necessary means of emergency communication are carried (e.g. cell phone), no strong wind is forecast and that members are suitably fit and capable to paddle in the different conditions to those in the sheltered waters of the breakwater. Guys remember that we are solely responsible for our own safety and to keep well within our personal physical limitations. A cell phone is a must particularly when operating in the Bluff waters, as there will be nobody that will see a flare going off.
Guys please be mindful of the huge swell that often picks up and breaks around the South Pier so keep well clear of that area, particularly when the dredger is operating. The newer members must also be aware that conditions “around the corner” are totally different to what we see in front of our club. This fact is even more evident during and shortly after a strong south-wester as this wind tends to bring in a big swell. Guys must also be aware that once you have gone past the tip of the south pier you are exposed to the open ocean. Remember the golden rule of the sea, which is if you are not comfortable in the conditions, GO BACK!
By venturing further out to sea and going across the harbour mouth will also put us in the direct path of ships entering or exiting the harbour. Please be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep well clear of any vessel. Please believe me that ships can creep up on you a lot faster than you may think. We trust that all members, no matter how clever or fit they may think they are will use their savvy and only venture in the extended areas in calm conditions and to always be aware of the latest weather forecast and state of the tides.
ANNUAL REGISTRATIONS & BOAT INSPECTIONS 2017
Last year’s inspections and registrations took place at the club during the first two weekends of November. Although most members complied with the club rules, we still had several members not pitching up and coming up with feeble excuses, which were not accommodated. Once again some hefty late-registration fines were handed out resulting in a few miserable looking members. Numerous members that did not have their skis inspected merely deposited their fees electronically to retain their membership. This practice will not be tolerated in future and an audit of unregistered skis is currently being made. These members are not permitted to launch their skis until such time their craft and safety equipment have been checked and the late inspection penalties paid in full.
Guys please ensure that you carry ALL your safety equipment on the skis at all times and your craft is properly identified with your ski number at the stern (no Koki pen numbers – How’re you doing Eddie?) and your 2017 club sticker as well. Duty members are reminded to be on the lookout for any craft attempting to launch without the 2017 sticker. Not displaying the sticker means that the craft has not passed the inspection or has not been inspected at all and therefore not entitled to launch. Report the ski number in the club logbook.
TURKEYS AND GAMMONS, ELVIS AND MICHAEL JACKSON, OUR HANDSOME VICE COMMODORE AND THAT NICE LADY FROM MARITZBURG
Last year’s Annual Turkey competition was held on 10 December 2016 and once again fished in perfect conditions. About sixty anglers (same usual suspects) took to the water despite over a hundred having paid their entry fees. For some anglers it turned out to be a dead day seeing very little activity, but others hit it lucky finding some huge snapper salmon in ravenous mood. Fortunately I was amongst that group. The last time I saw snapper that size Elvis was top of the hit parade and Michael Jackson was black.
My personally-trained crew member, Johnny Kruger, took top honours with a huge snapper (seems that all the lessons I have given him are paying off) followed by another five happy anglers, who all went home with a lovely fat turkey or gammon for the Christmas table and a hatch full of snapper as well. A huge thank you goes to Tanya “Walden” (aka that nice lady from Maritzburg) for helping out and keeping law order for the whole day, and to Claudette Roodt for being such a huge help on the day as well as during the registration period. Thank you girls! (Don’t start crying now Claudette) Another round of applause must go out to Vice Commodore Mario Waldhausen (No, not the Italian Mario – the handsome Mario) for single handedly running the competition and ensuring everything went to plan. Of course, we mustn’t forget the duty guys who worked round the clock and cooked our FREE boerie rolls to perfection and ensured the FREE beers and drinks were ice cold. Not one belly went home empty. Great job guys! We have booked you for next year too!
As you all are probably aware, some serious developments have once again occurred, some actually quite disturbing. The background of the ongoing problems were explained in detail in the last newsletter and I urge the new members to read that up on our website, to grasp the nuts and bolts of this bitter battle that is currently being played out.
The situation is currently evolving almost on a daily basis but at the time of writing, was as follows: Durban Undersea Club (DUC) and Durban Ski Boat Club (DSBC) had originally deviated hugely from the original agreement they signed with the developers in 2008 and were trying to bulldoze through a business-type structure for the proposed combined club (Point Watersports or PWC). They have put forward a Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) for PWC which supports ONE huge club instead of the “umbrella body” scenario they agreed upon, under which the clubs would co-exist by retaining their own identities and separate constitutions. They have elected themselves as directors with the DUC chairman, Cuan Hall, as the PWC chairman and made provisions for them to be remunerated. They have been negotiating with the developers and may have perhaps even signed agreements, without sharing this information with PYC or our club. All this they have done without the mandate or even the knowledge of their own members.
The paddle ski club, which was solely responsible for saving Vetch’s Beach from certain destruction, is still being deliberately excluded from being an equal party within PWC, contrary to the agreements. The reason for that is not hard to find. While the members of the other clubs were sun tanning on the beach and eating and drinking in their pubs and restaurants, we were fighting for our lives, spending millions to save the very beach they are still able to enjoy. We have put egg on the faces of our richer and more powerful neighbours by saving the beach and reef, while they all sided with the developers and DID NOTHING.
One positive development is that Point Yacht Club (PYC), under the new leadership of Craig Millar, has finally acknowledged our efforts and is demanding that our club be included as an equal party in PWC. We are extremely grateful for that and together we have proposed an MOI that is consistent with the original agreement as well as our own agreement with the developers, signed in 2012. So in a nutshell we have two factions (DUC and DSBC vs. PYC and the Durban Paddle Ski Club) disputing which structure the combined club (PWC) should adopt. Things however got a little more complicated.
After nearly a year of negotiating and having failed to come to an agreement, all parties agreed to take the dispute to an arbitration process, as provided in the agreements. Unfortunately DUC and DSBC did not pitch at the first pre-arbitration hearing at the end of January and another in February. They are obviously using delaying tactics, hoping the construction of the promenade will overtake the legal process. That of course, is wishful thinking.
Earlier this month, PYC held a public presentation to explain developments leading up to the current stalemate, hoping to enlighten the DUC and Ski Boat Club members, who we believe to have been deliberately misinformed and uninformed of the real situation. Incidentally, the meeting was scheduled to take place at the PYC beach site that is being “shared” with DUC. DUC Chairman, Cuan Hall tried to prevent the meeting from taking place, threatening to interdict. To avoid a lengthy court battle, PYC held the meeting in the car park under a marquee. It was well attended and highly informative and we believe it opened the eyes of many members who seemed to have no idea of the bitter disputes that have been going on between the clubs.
One important issue that was discussed was where DUC had been collecting subs from PYC members for a number of years and not paying that money, running into hundreds of thousands, back to PYC. DUC had also failed to pay PYC the 1.5% of their restaurant turnover as had been agreed. DUC club manager, Paul Smit, admitted to the debt but the excuse for not paying it was that they had not finalised the exact amount…after four years! Some excuse. DUC had also been telling PYC members to resign from PYC and join PWC, which in legal terms, simply does not exist. In my mind, this behaviour is nothing short of theft and does nothing to try to restore any confidence in all the clubs being able to co-exist in the future as is planned.
The end result of this information meeting was that a groundswell of criticism has arisen within DUC members regarding the conduct of their chairman, Cuan Hall. This was illustrated a few days later when DUC held their own presentation and asked their members to approve their version of the MOI, after having it sprung on them barely four days prior to the meeting. Needless to say, Mr Cuan Hall was given a nice fat surprise when his own members rejected it outright. Basically, they were asking for a mandate for something they had already done! The members did however give him the mandate to continue leading the club, but insisted a sub-committee (without him) be formed to try to restore the peace amongst the clubs and to negotiate the MOI.
Across the beach at the ski boat club, a simultaneous meeting also took place, but for some reason, the MOI issue was never tabled. Just what the purpose of that meeting was, is a mystery to me. So their members continue to remain in the dark having no clue that a bitter legal battle is about to erupt between the clubs. In a newspaper report shortly after these meetings, Cuan Hall made this statement: “At their meeting last Thursday, for the first time this year, the Point Yacht Club commented on the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) and we got the first inkling of what they were not happy about.” That statement was nothing less than a blatant lie! This man has been fully aware for over a year, of the differences in the 2 MOI’s and it is for this reason that he agreed to the arbitration process, which he is now desperately trying to avoid!
Although not official, there are rumblings that the city will soon be commencing construction on the promenade, beneath which the clubs are to be accommodated. They are eager to get going and hope to have the promenade completed during this year. We have not been notified on how the public and the boating clubs will have access to the beach during construction, but we hope to have some clarity shortly. It is a pity that this development continues to be shrouded in secrecy, complicating the situation further.
To end on a positive note, DUC are constantly amending their version of the MOI, with each amendment edging closer to ours. We remain hopeful that, with the formation of the DUC sub-committee, sanity will eventually prevail and all the clubs will be able to share facilities while still being in control of their own affairs. And that my friend, is all we ever wanted.
From a personal perspective, and having been deeply involved in the Save Vetch’s Association, it is sad to witness DUC and Durban Ski Boat Club jostling to be top dog in PWC, instead of appreciating SVA’s and the Durban Paddle Ski Club’s efforts and enjoy the beach we saved for them. The chairmen of DUC and DSBC need to put the interests of their sports over and above their own dented egos and keep their word by honouring the terms of the agreements they signed. How can that be so difficult?
MOANS AND GROANS AND OTHER THINGS
Members are not to request the club secretary to arrange beach duty swops as it is the sole responsibility of each member to do so should he/she be unable to carry out the duty. To make Bronwyn’s job easier, please notify her if you are planning to be away for a while, so she does not put you on duty during that period. Members are emailed their duty dates in advance and reminded by phone a few days prior, so there cannot be any excuses. Please do not forget to notify the secretary or any committee member, should there be any change of physical address, email address or telephone numbers.
While we’re on duty issues, quite often, some duty members seem quite content to just sit around and do nothing for the whole day. The committee has started a duty member’s check list giving the various tasks that need to be done for the day and the list signed off. Guys please note that this is YOUR club and try to do something to keep it clean and neat at all times. Despite being given instructions on locking up, we are often finding that it is not being done correctly leaving our club exposed and unprotected. If you are unsure of the procedure, please phone any committee member to ensure our club is properly locked. If club is found not to have been properly secured, duty members will be called in for a disciplinary hearing.
There are numerous members that never launch their skis and are merely using the club bunker as a storage facility. This is not fair for the regular fishermen who are patiently waiting for a bunker spot. These members that never fish are currently being instructed to remove their skis. If members fail to cooperate, their skis will be removed and left outside on the sand. A few uncooperative members have already had their membership terminated over this issue, so take it serious guys, if you value your membership.
The committee has noted that several members do not carry all their safety equipment on their skis, particularly their anchors. This practice will not be tolerated and members will be suspended when caught. Guys remember these rules are there to ensure the safety of every one of us. Disregard them at your peril. There are so many things that can go wrong on the water, such as the loss or break of a paddle. If you are unable to remain in one spot, you could be blown onto the piers, the beach or even miles out to sea before any help can arrive. Think about it.
Guys please do not leave any rubbish or old bait etc lying around the club particularly at the wash bay. We are continually picking up old rusty hooks there. Recently an elderly visitor stood on a huge rusty hook with bait on it and had to go to hospital to have it surgically removed. This particular one had been left by one of the night shore anglers that are also using our veranda as their rubbish dump. We have also been finding used syringe needles in the sand, left by the druggies that hover around the Point. It is sad it has come to this but to be safe please wear some foot gear at all times around the clubhouse and on the beach.
Members are reminded that the 2017 Portnet discs will be shortly available, so keep checking the notice board or ask any committee member as to when they will be arriving. Until then, all members are to carry the 2016 discs on their craft at all times.
It is with great regret that I report on the passing of two of our members, Firstly Larry Ragunandan passed away in January after suffering a severe heart attack. Larry, known to all of us as “That Hare Krishna Fellow”, had been a regular and loyal member for many years. He was often to be seen at the club, enjoying the beach with this family and although a committed vegetarian, he was a passionate fisherman, but always returned his fish to the water. He is sorely missed and on behalf of everyone at the club, I offer our most sincere condolences to the family.
Another tragic loss is the recent passing of forty five year old Shane Verbuyst, also due to a massive heart attack. It is so sad to see him taken at such a young age. Perhaps we need to be reminded that we are merely passing through here, to enjoy each and every day with our loved ones and to live our lives to the full. Once again, on behalf of all the members I offer our deepest sympathies to wife Judy and son Devan. May God grant both families the strength to deal with their loss.
Despite seeing some promising signs at the end of last year, the summer gamefish have not really lived up to expectations. Although a few snoek have been caught sporadically in the Umgeni area, no catches had been reported in our waters at the time of writing. That is not to say that it is going to be a dud snoek season as these unpredictable fish can show up at any time. A few circuits around Limestone early in the mornings or late afternoons will not be a bad idea. When conditions allow, trolling a few lures or fillets behind the backline around the corner or off the Umgeni Mouth may also produce a few revs.
We also hear of some nice cuda being caught over the deeper reefs and now that we may venture a further kilometre out to sea, we may start hooking some big specimens over the next few months. With a constant supply of baitfish, mainly maasbanker, shad and a few bonnies readily available, we should be drifting a few live baits in that vicinity at every chance we get. A few weeks ago a ski boater scratching for baitfish on Limestone, foul hooked and boated a 12 kg wahoo on a yo-zuri! These fish are normally found in deep blue water and are very seldom seen close to shore. But, as they say in the classics – you never know!
Yellowfin tuna and Dorado are still coming out fairly regularly and ski boaters have been having field days as far south as the Eastern Cape. An upcountry visitor called Sean, recently hooked a monster tuna over the deeper reefs, only to have it half-eaten by a shark as he was about to boat it. The half he managed to boat weighed close to 20 kg! The favourite bait for these fish as well as Dorado is a live mozzie rigged on a heavy 60-80 lb all-nylon trace, preferably fluoro-carbon, as it is almost invisible in water. The problem is however, other toothy fish like cuda will nip you off so neatly without you even noticing. That’s the chance we take.
Shad have been playing hide and seek with us and although we are not really into the “shad season”, some nice specimens are still being caught fairly regularly too. There are also many small shad around, which make excellent live or dead baits for bigger gamefish. Normally it’s a case of moving around until a decent shoal is found. But they say that good things come to all who wait and within a month or two the new stock will be arriving from the cooler waters of the Cape and we can make pigs of ourselves once again.
As mentioned earlier, we found some really huge snapper salmon feeding during the turkey competition but since then, we have not seen too much action from these once plentiful fish. These fish hunt their prey by stealth and need murky ginger water before they venture close to the shore. Although we have had some good rainfall of late, we are not seeing the Umgeni River pouring brown water onto our beachfront to create ideal snapper conditions, as we had years ago. Perhaps we’ll find them feeding in the deeper waters.
As far as bottom fishing goes, Matthew Martin boated two nice rockcod of about 4 kg recently, over the deeper reefs. These fish are found on the reefs all year round, although they tend to be more prolific during the cooler winter months. Locating the reefs is the hardest part as they will swallow just about anything you throw at it. A live sand soldier on the bottom will not be ignored. Please remember the minimum size for spotted rockcod is 50 cm and 60 cm for yellowbellies. Let us not forget that we are right in the middle of the once regular moff grunter season, but these fish have been rather scarce over the last few years, or perhaps we are not targeting them enough. The millions of red piranhas (sand soldiers) are not helping the situation either. A sardine or mackerel head or any fillet works best for these fish, which average around 3-4 kg.
Well, that’s about all folks. Let’s take advantage of any good weather the gods throw at us and launch our ships as often as possible. See you guys on the water.