Discussions are underway to set up a superyacht repair and maintenance facility

Discussions are underway in Cape Town to set up a superyacht repair and maintenance facility to bolster the luxury segment of the local boating market.

South Africa’s top brokers have long bemoaned the absence of a local world-class facility where superyachts can access the necessary expert artisan skills.

Now key industry stakeholders are fleshing out a concept plan, with input from some of the world’s top superyacht builders. Brian Blackbeard, managing director of YachtPortSA, told IBI he is in discussion with the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Development regarding a potential Cape Town facility.

“We are in discussions with the V&A company at the moment,” Blackbeard said. “We want to open a facility here in Cape Town. Superyachts come here quite frequently but there are no qualified people to work on these vessels – you need to work to high specifications.”

YachtPort is a purpose-designed and built marine lift facility and luxury yacht marina in the nearby Port of Saldanha, 60 nautical miles northwest of Cape Town.

Blackbeard intends expanding the business into the superyacht market. He said a world-class facility would also be an added draw-card to the popular V&A Waterfront – already sub-Saharan Africa’s most visited tourist attraction – which has its own Blue Flag marina.

Blackbeard said he had discussed the plan with numerous superyacht builders, including Lürssen Yachts, during a recent visit to Europe “to gauge their interest in having a facility at the bottom of Africa.” He also toured numerous marinas in Italy, France and Spain “to see what they offer and how they operate.”

The local facility could potentially form part of a ‘one-stop-shop’ incorporating other marine service providers, thereby creating a centre of excellence for a broad range of clients, Blackbeard said. “YachtPort will operate the facility but will include the local industry. They (clients) want a coordinated shipyard response.”