This year’s show, the first under direct management of Messe Frankfurt, hopes to double last year’s attendance

An expanded Cape Town International Boat Show kicked off today amidst news of a strike in the South African plastics sector.

This year’s show, the first under direct management of Messe Frankfurt, hopes to double last year’s attendance and attract over 10,000 visitors.  It includes a new retail area adjoining the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront marina.  A notable addition to this year’s show, now in its 18th year, is the first Fairline Squadron 53 in SA waters.  Most of the main local builders and brokers have their boats on display.

Cape Town Show

Cape Town Show

Organisers are hoping to double visitor attendance this year

South African Boat Builders Export Council executive manager Vanessa Davidson said this year’s enlarged format was more family-friendly. The schedule includes an optimist boat race and motorised surfboard demonstration. Other attractions include canoe polo, dragon boat racing and a chance to experience the new Cape 31 racing yacht – a new design inspired by racing enthusiast Lord Irvine Laidlaw.

The start of the show also coincides with news of a countrywide plastics sector strike, with a labour court ruling on Friday in favour of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).  The Plastic Converters of South Africa (PCSA) had attempted to block the national strike, claiming it was illegal.

A spokesman for one of the plastic industry employer organisations said the few boat builder member companies were unlikely to be affected – a view shared by industry sources who spoke with IBI this week.

In a statement on Friday NUMSA said the court action was sparked by employer attempts to backtrack on employee benefits negotiated under the Metals and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council.