THE PORT DICKSON YACHT CLUB – THEN AND NOW

With the Club’s early past somewhat in obscurity and having no proper documented evidence, it is difficult to really outline its humble beginnings. However, from pieces of information gathered from various sources, it is said that the present Port Dickson Yacht Club was originally sited in the town area. Known as the Port Dickson Club then, is was rebuilt in 1927, on the present plot of land, which was purchased from Harrison and Crossfields. This was initiated, presumably, by a band of die-hard Clubbers from the ranks of the Planting Industry and Army. Its first President was Mr. Fred Cunningham – a man renowned for his contributions to this town.

Developed basically as a social and family Club, which it still is today, it was the meeting place of the ‘old masters’ or Colonialists. Certainly, it was they who brought clubbing to this region. One can well imagine the scene of the small group of members then, sitting around and exchanging views over drinks of Whisky soda, Gin tonic or the then popular Tiger beer. The presence of the sea revived the spirits of a few old sailors, and that was how sailing came into the picture.

The formation of the Malay Regiment here, brought more British Officers and soon, they injected further life to the Club. Notably amongst them was Brig. J.G.V. Andre who took over the reins of the Club before the War started. The War years saw a lull in the activities, however, to Brig. Andre can be credited the revival of the Club. It was he who gave it the ‘kiss of life’.

Sailing soon gained popularity in the fifties and it was inevitable that the yachting section and the Main Club seek amalgamation. The man responsible for this was Mr. R.B. Perkins, one of the earliest members and a well-known figure in the Club. And thus the Club came to be known as the Port Dickson Club and Yacht Club. The sixties brought about renewed interests in the activities of the Club. With Mr. Perkins at the helm and his interest in sailing and other sporting activities, the Club continued to grow. Membership in the early sixties soon increased to over 400. Further development took place and in 1962 the old building was renovated, and a swimming pool built in 1965. The boat house and tennis courts were also upgraded. All these were made possible with the foresight and enthusiasm of Mr. Perkins.

The withdrawal of the British Army from the country, the retirement of planters and the returning home expatriates, saw the need for the take-over of the running of the affairs of the Club by Asians. The first Asian President was Mr. Ginder Singh, the grand-old-man of Port Dickson. This was in 1970. Further development of the Club was spread over the years, piece by piece, so to speak. Two Squash Courts were built in the eighties, to cater to the needs of members and the boat house (Bridge) was renovated. All these culminated in the recently completed project- the Club’s second development and renovation – a major task, costing $1.5 million.

Sixty years sailed by and the Club weathered the many ‘storms’ thanks to the able guidance of the ‘Skippers’. 1987 was a historic year not just because the Club was celebrating its Diamond Jubilee, but because a final chapter had been added to the long drawn sequel that its name has brought about- that the Club and Yacht Club are two separate entities. This was finally resolved when it was thought prudent that the Club be known as the Port Dickson Yacht Club.

The Club was granted “Royal” status in 1990 through the efforts of Past President Mr. R. Shanmuganathan and has Committee Members.

Recently, the Club celebrated it’s 75th Anniversary and we hope to celebrate the next 75.
Today with a membership of around 1,800 and boasting many facilities. The Royal Port Dickson Yacht Club can proudly claim to one of the top social and family oriented clubs in the country.