Doutless there were boys of all ages messing about in boats on the waters of Zandvlei long before the first South African Freshwater Regatta was held there in 1884. But it was not until May 1906 that the Lakeside Boating Club was founded. The club Flag was to be blue with the letter “L ” supperimposed in white. The subscription, according to the book of Rules and Bye Laws was five shillings (R0.50) per annum and any member “being found guilty of imprper or ungentlemanly conduct at any time shall forfeit his membership”.
Unfortunately early records have been lost but by 1921 the name had been changed to the Imperial Yacht Club and the burgee colours to red and green with a white anchor.
The vlei was a great deal larger in those days and there was an hotal , a pavillion and a boat house on the north west bank. The pavillion was a gracious three gabled double storied building situated right at the waters edge so that punts, canoes, rowing boats and yachts could be moored only a few meters away.
Because the railway line cut across portion of the vlei, the larger boats had to have hinged tabernacle masts that could be lowered as they passed under the bridge into the main part of the vlei. And because the waters of Zandvlei have always been shalow, many of the yachts were keeless.
Ladies and Juniors took an active part in sailing even in those days. The Dockerall Cup was first competed for in 1921 and was won by Iris Mc Claren, a thirteen year old school girl! Subscriptions had risen to one guinea (R2.10) per annum, though Juniors and Ladies paid only five shillings.
Scrapbook photographs show members, both men and women wearing white slacks, dark blasers and peaked caps and very smart they looked too.
Over the years there have been many well known names associated with the club and among those who were prominent in the 1920’s was Billy (later Sir William) Butlin. According to a newspaper report on the opening cruise of 1925 “W. Butlin was as usual, an effective member amoung the executive officals in marshalling the parade and in offering hospitality to the visitors”. he was also ” continuously giving assistance and lending tools to the younger members”.