South African Boating Industry Celebrates
Thursday, 21st May 2009

The Annual South African Boating Awards took place this month at the Lagoon Beach Hotel in Cape Town. Presented by the Cape Town Boatbuilding and Technology Initiative (CTBi), in partnership with SABBEX, these awards, now in their third year, are designed to recognise innovation, exacting standards and a commitment to excellence within the boatbuilding and boating industry.

This celebration of industry successes was held alongside the first ever African Boating Conference - a reflection of the growth in the boatbuilding and boating industry. Some notable guests at the glittering event included Cape Town City Councillor Pat Hill, Donald Mabusele and Corne du Plessis of the DTI, Chairman of SABBEX Ken Bircher and Ulrich Heineman of IMCI.

Finance MEC Alan Winde took on the role of keynote speaker at the awards, and used the opportunity to announce the success of the CTBi in their bid for the launching facilities at Elliot Basin in Cape Town harbour. The news was met with much applause as the National Ports Authority (NPA) had initially rejected CTBi's bid as being too low, and many felt that the loss of the tender could have spelt the demise of the local boatbuilding industry.

Buoyed by the announcement, the awards were then presented by Mr. Mokhele, CEO of SAMSA. Some of the winners were:

- Uwe Jasperson was presented with the Notable Achievement Award, having designed and built two different boats in 2008 that each received different awards - The Class 40 was the "40 Degrees" 2008 Class 40 Champion and his 37' Catamaran won the 2008 Cruising Multihull in the Sail US magazine.

- Fabian Baadtjies and Phumelele Gobinduku were presented with the Best Student Awards from the Boatbuilding Academy and the Whisper Boatbuilding Academy respectively. The Whisper Academy is an initiative which aims to initiate deaf students into the industry.

- The Best Sailing Craft (All Sizes) Award was presented to Maverick Yachts' Maverick 400. The new generation Maverick is regarded as being by far the most innovative sailing vessel to come out of South Africa in the last year. Able to accommodate up to 12 passengers, the Maverick offers exceptional space utilisation, an incredible 360 degrees of visibility and an air of pure luxury.

- Stealth Yachts' Stealth 520 RUV took the award for Best Power Craft (All Sizes). The only high speed luxury commuter ferry built in SA on production basis.,the Stealth 520 RUV is a top quality craft, with unique foils and drive system as well as a stunning design.

- Winner in the Trailerable Power Craft (Water-ski Boats, Ski Boats, Runabouts, Ribs, Inflatables) category was Eraco 6m V-Skiff from Eraco Builders, a functional 28 knot trailerable vessel that can be configured to meet various functions. Its all-aluminium structure is robust and can be used in hazardous situations where debris is plentiful.

- Caudwell Marine's Axis Drive took the award for Most Innovative Product/Design of the Year. A unique drive system for power boats and a world first, this was awarded based on its huge potential.

An event which continues to grow and flourish based on the industry's continuing development, the 3rd Annual South African Boating Awards was again a great success. With the successful bid for the launching facilities at Elliot Basin, the industry looks to go from strength to strength.

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