Today, Sunday 14 January 1962 at 11.30 am, the following people met at the beach club “Kyani Akti” with the view to founding a nautical club.
Vasos Aivaliotis, Kyriakos Antoniadis, Marios Agathaggelou, Varnavas Alexandrou, Adonis Zachariou, Nikos Kirzis, Kostas Lamaris, Giannakis Nemitsas, Andreas Papadopoulos, Aimilios Pantelidis, Andreas Petridis (secondary school), Andreas Petridis, Giannakis Potamitis, Giannakis Sykopetritis, Christos Christidis, Andreas Razis, Rikkos Michailidis…”
These are the opening lines of the meeting minutes, which contain one of the greatest chapters in this city’s history. This history is our history: a glorious half a century of which we are proud. With its founding on 14 January 1962, the Limassol Nautical Club launched a continuing and successful contribution to the sports and culture of Limassol.
…“On Sunday 11 February 1962, at the restaurant “Flos Place” by the sea, a meeting of the Limassol Nautical Club founding members took place. The 40 members present appointed Mr Andreas Papadopoulos (Minister of the Government at the time) chairman of the meeting. During the meeting the members agreed upon the club’s constitution. The attendees unanimously elected the first governing board, which comprised Kostas Lamaris (Chairman), Giannakis Potamitis (Vice-chairman), Marios Agathaggelou (Secretary), Takis Nemitsas (Treasurer), Omiros Christodoulidis, Aimilios Pantelidis, Rikkos Michailidis”… From that day on, meetings were held on a regular basis, with the organisation and improvement of the club always the main topics. The first meetings of the governing board dealt with the allocation of a piece of coastal land by the Government for use by the club, as well as the finding of financial resources and printing envelopes, writing paper, notices of receipt and notices of payment…The first information appearing on those documents is “LNC, postcode 63, Tel. No. 2625, Limassol”.
The club’s initial costs were covered by the members at 10 shillings each. A ball at the club’s building was planned for the opening day in order to raise money for the premises of the club. That successful event was held at the “Kyma” venue, on 22 July 1962, and brought in a net profit of 230 Cyprus pounds. After that, boats and furniture were purchased, a dock was built and events, trips and water sport competitions were also held later. In 1963, the LNC took part in the Limassol carnival for the first time, with a float named “Alimenos Lemessos” (Greek for “Portless Limassol”). The number of registered members kept growing and so did the club’s reputation. Prominent figures of the city became athletes, chairmen and members of the club. In the club’s minutes book you can find the names of people who were the city’s legends at the time. In other words, LNC became a hang-out for celebrities. Sailing was one of the first sports practiced at the club. There were often competitions between the Nautical Clubs of Limassol, Famagusta, Dhekelia, Akrotiri and Episkopi and it was reported that the first competitions took place with simple fishing boats. In 1980 the LNC participated for the first time in the Olympic Games, held in Moscow. At weekends there were usually sailing races between members of the club with people of all ages on the boats. The starting signal was given with the ringing of the bell at what is referred to as the “bridge” point, the highest spot of the building, where an erected mast functioned as an imaginary starting line.
Fishing competitions, scheduled trips to Akrotiri, entertainment events and large parties crowded the club premises on an daily basis. Entrance was allowed to members only and Limassol Nautical Club membership was considered a great honour.
Ever since its founding, the LNC has made lots of sporting achievements, making it Cyprus’s highest winning club in sailing, rowing, canoeing, swimming and waterpolo. At the same time, it is a founding member of all relevant federations. Good organisation of the club and the excellent performance of its athletes over the last years, such as Pavlos Kontidis in sailing (ranked 7th in the world), Valentinos Sofokleous in rowing (ranked 13th in the world), Stavros Michailidis and Carolina Pelendritou in swimming, took LNC up to the top positions. Last March, the LNC won the 6th place and broke two Cypriot records in an international swimming competition in Germany, competing with 42 other clubs.
LNC has so far maintained excellent relations and collaborates with all nautical clubs in Cyprus, and is twinned with nautical clubs in Greece and all over the world. Through an intergovernmental agreement, some LNC athletes are also registered with clubs abroad. International experience leads athletes to a constantly higher level.
However, LNC is not only famous for its contribution to the city’s sporting life, but also for its cultural activities since various events are very often organised by the club, including speeches, lectures, beach parties, banquets, fishing competitions and award ceremonies for athletes. The club’s work is strongly supported not only by the CSO (Cyprus Sports Organisation), but also by prominent figures of the city and agencies, such as Limassol Cooperative Savings Bank and Cyta, major sponsors which financially support the club’s efforts.
Yet LNC’s work does not stop here. The club’s drive to contribute to people’s lives and sport continues. LNC has indeed always had a vision for the future and the progress of sports and culture in the city, since the time of first chairman Kostas Lamaris back in 1962, through the times of Andreas Papadopoulos, Stelios Michailidis, Aimilios Michalidis, Totos Theodosios, Akis Iakovidis, Dr Panagiotis Kontidis, Loizos Chotiriou, Giannis Fotiou until now with Eftyhios Odysseos in office since February 2010. “The club”, says Mr Odysseos, “aims not only at producing champions, but also athletes with good character and, above all, people without fanaticism. We are looking to transfer team spirit to these children and they need to remember that rivalries exist only while in the water. Out of the water there are no rivalries, no differences. We are all fellows, fellow athletes and fellow citizens. They should not have only the target in their mind, but also enjoy the path to it, which could be full of memories and experiences that they will share with their children some day.”
And, of course, the future continues. Thoughts and efforts towards a more active LNC carry on and both the reintroduction of older activities and the introduction of new ones are forming part of the club’s plans. One of the club’s short-term targets is to once again organise an International Sailing Competition at its premises, with the start signal given at the “bridge” point, which has remained inactive for years. Organising friendly competitions of “water Triathlon” (rowing, sailing, canoeing), reintroducing camps and taking opportunities to organise winter swimmers better, involving them in more sea sports, also constitute part of the club’s goals. As does the promotion of coastal rowing, which is performed at sea with special boats. There are also plans to bring in recreational sports, during which parents will be directly involved along with their children, by rowing, sailing or swimming together. This is planned for the coming summer, in addition to the sailing courses for adults, which have been offered for many years already.
The club’s work never stops and its vision does not require just its own efforts, but also the contribution of local authorities. For a more active Limassol Nautical Club, for a vision that remains intact. Giving to the sports and culture of this city. Our club’s history demands that we are always ready.
The club’s officials work tirelessly to offer the club every help and our members showed they are on our side supporting us during tough times.
One of those occurred last June when a fire accidentally started at the Germasogeia dam, completely destroying all Canoe Kayak boats. This was a massive financial set-back. We had to replace 21 canoes, 25 paddles and other equipment in the middle of the Championship. We managed to do so within three months, mostly thanks to the significant financial support from the Cyprus Canoe Federation. We would like to warmly thank chairman Mr Kikis Paraskevas, as well as the CSO and the rest of our major or minor sponsors.
The Limassol Nautical Club is marching towards completion of its first century of existence and success and is getting ready for the next fifty years. Not middle-aged anymore but rather old, more mature and certainly making an even greater contribution to Limassol and Cypriot social life.
Issue 10, January 2011