Travelopia's marine division THL Marine (previously Tui Marine) has secured 30 additional mooring berths at Cape Town's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for new Leopard catamarans from Robertson & Caine’s Paarden Island facility, the company confirmed this week.

The move is a precaution against this year’s hurricane season: new boats bound for the charter market in the Caribbean will be kept in Cape Town longer than usual to avoid damage. “It is only for the short term,” said Leopard Catamarans SA sales manager Daniel Snyman. “There is a possibility that some of our Caribbean boats must be kept here during the hurricane season later this year and will only be shipped when we think it is safe.”

Many marinas in the Caribbean were devastated by last year’s succession of powerful hurricanes that sunk or damaged a large proportion of the overall charter fleet. One notable example was Dream Yacht Charter, which reported a 60% loss of its St Martin and BVI fleet as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Voyage Charters lost about 80% of their BVI charter fleet.

South African Boat Builders Export Council (SABBEX) chairman Bruce Tedder said the hurricane disaster at least represented a windfall for local catamaran producers, which would benefit from demand for new boats.

Snyman confirmed R&C’s production facility was renovated to accommodate an increase in production. “The 45 factory is currently busy with changes to increase production of that model for both charter and the private market,” Snyman said.