Mast manufacturer Sparcraft Masts South Africa is expanding its facility on the back of strong growth in the country's catamaran export business.

Sparcraft Masts owner Craig Hulbert told IBI the business would also be investing in a new rigging division, a 12m in-house anodising plant, and a large CNC router for faster production times.

Hulbert acquired Sparcraft last year from Southern Spars, merging the aluminium mast production with his own Durban-based firm G-Wind Spars. The amalgamated business, based in Cape Town, is now southern Africa's only mast manufacturer since Southern Spars closed their carbon mast factory in December last year.

Hulbert said he hoped to further consolidate his business in the wake of the current world recovery in yacht sales. “The increased export business of production catamaran builders in South Africa, due to the world recovery in yacht sales in America and Europe, translates into a growing business where more than 80% of our production is exported,” said Hulbert, who closed down his Durban facility to concentrate on the new Cape Town operation.

“Now a year down the line, Sparcraft Masts South Africa, which has a strong tie with Sparcraft France, manufactures complete aluminium rigs for yachts, and builds rigs for all the production boat builders in the country. We have also incorporated furling systems from Profurl, Facnor, Romar and Leisure Furl,” Hulbert said. “The entire operation is managed by Tich Mitchell who has been manufacturing masts for more than 35 years in Cape Town.”

The Sparcraft acquisition represents a complete turnaround for Hulbert, who in 2016 offered to sell G-Wind Spars to Southern Spars. Instead Sparcraft Masts was offered for sale to Hulbert: “Negotiations took place, and on the 1st January 2017 all the assets pertaining to the aluminium mast building division of Southern Spars Cape Town where acquired by G-Wind Spars. The mast building facility of G-Wind Spars in Durban, ceased manufacture and all the stock and assets were consolidated at the Cape Town factory,” Hulbert said.