St Francis Marine is modifying its factory and plans to employ more staff in preparation for launching into the charter market next year

South African cat builder St Francis Marine is modifying its factory and plans to employ more staff in preparation for launching into the charter market next year, according to new managing director Rob Brennan.

Brennan said he was currently quoting on three charter catamarans (four cabin) for delivery next year, with a possible contract extension if successful. “This is an exciting development for us as we have never been in the charter market before – all our existing boats are privately owned,” Brennan told IBI this week. “We are currently planning modifications & additions to our factory as well as additional staff to cope with the increase in manufacturing throughput,” Brennan said, adding that he had already made many yard refinements based on a customer feedback project since taking over management control at the beginning of the year.

Brennan said he also hoped to grow the company’s share of the South African boat export market: “I am negotiating with Brokers in Australia & New Zealand to market our boats there and am actively looking to expand our broker network in the USA, Europe and the Mediterranean.”

The company celebrated another milestone last month – the launch of the first catamaran under Brennan’s watch. Sadly the event was overshadowed by the death of St Francis Marine founder Duncan Lethbridge on August 15.

However Brennan said the company was forging ahead with production, with another hull in full production in the assembly plant – for completion in February 2020 – and another hull currently in the mould.

St Francis Marine produces the well-known St Francis Catamarans. Its flagship St Francis 50 model is a previous winner of Cruising World’s Boat of the Year Award.