The Royal Cape Yacht Club, Cape Town
Did you know?
If you want a unique view of Table Mountain from the bay, secure a spot on the Wednesday night regatta as a guest of one of the skippers. Slots are advertised on the Royal Cape Yacht Club’s website and amateurs are welcome.
Look down on Table Bay from Signal Hill on a Wednesday evening between October and March and you’ll see a scattering of sails fluttering out in the bay.
This is the regular Wednesday night regatta, hosted by the Royal Cape Yacht Club, and an event that is as much part of the Cape summer scene as the south-easter that sends white clouds pouring over Table Mountain.
The club, based in the Table Bay Harbour, is closely associated with the city’s seafaring culture, harking back to the days when the city was known as the Tavern of the Seas, a place where sailors could unwind after many days at sea on the route between Europe and the East.
The Royal Cape Yacht Club continues this tradition by offering around-the-world sailors a place to moor their yachts and to meet members of the local yachting community.
The club started out life in a humble boat shed at the foot of Loop Street back in 1905 before a landfill project extended the city centre into an area now known as the Foreshore. It received the Royal Charter shortly after 1914, and moved into its present premises at the Small Craft Basin inside the harbour a decade after World War II.
However, it was only after the inaugural Trans-Atlantic Cape to Rio yacht race in 1971 that yachting in the city really took off. Today, the club’s membership hovers around the 1700-mark, the adjacent marina offers moorings for 412 yachts, and the club is the centre of the city’s amateur yachting community and the base for a sailing academy.
Visit on any given day and you’ll more than likely find a few 'yachties' messing about on their boats, a couple of international visitors passing through and some local folk catching up with each other over a beer.
The club is housed in an unassuming, low-slung building featuring a restaurant and sunny outdoor terrace overlooking the marina, a bar, visitors' lounge, offices and several venues, like the Galley, Chartroom and Regatta Centre, which are rented out for parties and conferences.
Although it’s members’ only, you may enter as a guest of a member, or you can take out a short-term membership for the duration of your stay in Cape Town. (And, no, you don’t have to own a yacht.)
Over the years, the club has played host to several international yachting events, among them the Whitbread, Volvo and Hong Kong Challenge.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Royal Cape Yacht Club
Duncan Road, Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 421 1354 or +27 (0)21 421 1356
How to get here
The Royal Cape Yacht Club is inside the harbour area so you will have to pass through security to get there. Just tell the people at the boom that you're heading for the club.
Around the area
The V&A Waterfront is a retail and restaurant hub. You can also catch a ferry to Robben Island from here.
You can get to the club by car or hire a taxi.
What will it cost
Enquire directly about temporary membership fees. The annual ordinary membership fee is R3805 per year.
What to pack
If you go out yachting, take a waterproof jacket and comfortable shoes.
Where to stay
Cape Town has a wide range of accommodation from B&Bs to backpackers' lodges, through to five-star hotels.
What to eat
Just down the road from the club on Quay 500 is an old seafood restaurant called Panama Jacks which is popular with the locals. The club also has a restaurant.
The Royal Cape Yacht Club will host the Cape 2 Rio Yacht Race in 2014, starting on 4 January.