South African catamaran producer Voyage Yachts says it is bracing for a surge in demand in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which destroyed 80% of the Voyage Charters BVI fleet.

Voyage Yachts’ production manager Kay Oldenburg told IBI the Cape Town-based yard was hoping to replace as many of the lost boats as possible. “Many clients/owners have already indicated that they will replace their lost catamaran with a new Voyage. The insurance involved is trying to fast-track the assessments so that monies can get paid out for replacement vessels,” Oldenburg said.

“It was heartbreaking to see so many Voyage 440’s, 480’s 520’s and 600’s being destroyed, in some cases beyond recognition. The wind forces [recorded in some areas 320mph] were unimaginable.

“Voyage Charters are busy with a massive clean-up operation and a rebuild which will take months if not years. Owners of vessels are coming together to help with the rebuild,” Oldenburg said.

Voyage catamarans are specifically built for the charter market in terms of a deal inked in 2015, which includes producing tooling for the boats.

Meanwhile, South Africa's biggest boatbuilder Robertson & Caine could also be in for a production windfall in the wake of the devastating hurricane season. Leopard Catamaran regional sales manager Daniel Snyman said charter partner TUI Marine was still assessing the extent of hurricane damage at affected bases.

“As soon as the damage has been assessed and insurances paid out, then only we will order supplies from suppliers, mostly in South Africa,” Snyman said. “As for production, nothing has been confirmed as we determine production two years ahead of time and will continue as per normal.

"There's no need to try and supply boats to an area that does not have an infrastructure currently in place. We are a production company, so should customers like to replace any boats we do have demo models available in Ft Lauderdale on an ongoing basis,” he said.