Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
By Josh Spencer
On the 14th of February 2011, the SA Cape Horners met for the last time as an official association aboard S/V Barque Picton Castle in the Cape Town Waterfront.
After much deliberation the committee had decided that in view of the rapidly declining membership and the increasing inability of members to attend meetings that it was fitting that the SA Cape Horners should follow the example of the IACH and voluntarily disband the organization.
The final meeting was attended by Capt Bill Damerell (President), Capt Pail Staples, Capt Daniel Moreland (Honorary Member and host for the occasion) AB’s Dutchy van Dyl, Fred Muller, Tony Newton and Joe Brownless.
Associate members attending were Rear Admiral (Ret) Arni Soderlund, AB’s Elise Soderlund, Cedric Hunter and Bosun Josh Spencer. Guests included Kris Steyn and Dennis Stephenson of the Cape Windjammer Educational Trust and a few friends and relatives of Cape Horners.
As always we were warmly received on board by a good turn-out of Picton Castle crew members who enjoyed the opportunity to meet some ‘old salts’ from a now vanished era.
The SA Cape Horner’s Association ‘tops’l’ was hoisted on the bridge deck and for several hours the main deck buzzed with conversation as all concerned re-lived some of their experiences at sea, and poured over old photographs. At the sound of ‘three whistles’ the association mustered around the main mast for a photo-call and to listen to a short address by Dan Moreland and Bill Demerell who officially declared the association ended.
Although the end of this fellowship is a sad moment, the meeting was nevertheless a joyous occasion, enjoyed by young and old.
The SA Cape Horner bank account has been closed and the proceeds are to be donated equally to the Ship Society and Sea Cadets. The ‘tops’l’ will be cared for by Arni Soderlund who will give it pride of place amongst his incredible collection of nautical artifacts.
It is hoped that ex-members of this association will continue to meet informally from time to time long into the future.
Ships represented in the membership of the South African Cape Horners include the commercial age of sailing sailing ships Lawhill, Pamir, Passat, Herzogin Cecelie, Hougomont, Pommern, Commodore, Olivebank, Archibald Russell, Abraham Rydberg, Padua and Danmark as well as Romance, Eye Of The Wind, Picton Castle and others.