A new company, East African Sailing Industries (EASI), was formed earlier this year with a strategic agenda to help develop the leisure marine industry in East Africa. The initiative is being led by Philip Jones, former marina manager at English Point Marina (EPM) in Mombasa, Kenya, which aims to be the first international standard facility in the region.

As one of the first actions, Jones has moved the Kenya National Laser Championship fleet, which he runs from EPM, to the Mombasa Yacht Club. Jones told IBI: “Last month I signed a five-year contract with the Mombasa Yacht Club to take the business over and run it as a management company. It is not the first step I planned with EASI but it does dovetail into what I want to do.”

He added: “I am running the Kenya National Laser Championship again this year in Kilifi (July 21-23). I also will be reviving the East African Salt Water Trophy, which is a challenge cup between yacht clubs (October 18-21) which will be run at EPM during the annual boat show. I am seeking sponsors to raise the image of these races along with the Mombasa Cup which is raced in January.”

Jones has ambitions to also establish another yacht club on the northern mainland which he suggests would give him perfect access to the schools to develop sailing as a sport in the region.

As regards progress at EPM, there has been a run of problems over installing the pontoons and securing them and it appears that completion of the marina is still some way off. There are now plans for to install a rock breakwater about which negotiations are ongoing. Additional environmental/engineering studies will also be necessary.

In October, the third edition of the Kenya Boat Show will be held at EPM which Jones is organising. He is hopeful to attract some international brands to the event, which runs from October 18-22. EPM is the local dealer for such brands as Princess and Beneteau.

In the past Jones had been associated with government-supported plans to develop at least two marinas in Kenya – one to the north of EPM and one to the south. At present, it appears these proposals are on hold.