Blue Cape sets sail in style at the V&A

An unexpected outbreak of optimism infected around 100 ocean economy stakeholders at last month’s formal launch of the Blue Cape Strategic Business Partnership launch.

Spontaneous smiling, enthusiastic applause, and heartfelt speeches all but dispelled the Covid blues as the long-awaited non-profit dished up its vision of a burgeoning ocean sports sector.

Blue Cape is a long-awaited collaboration between the City of Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront, and key marine manufacturing stakeholders. Its mandate is to maximise the economic contribution of the Ocean Economy for the City which is already an international boatbuilding hub. Blue Cape aims to build on this success to establish Cape Town as a global hub for a broad range of ocean economy activities, many of them already well established in the Mother City. These include a range of ocean sports, such as kite-surfing and scuba-diving, to superyachts and ocean cruising.

“Boat-building, despite the challenges and pressures facing the global economy due to Covid-19, has weathered the storm,” said James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management. “This latest Strategic Business Partner, launched with funding support from the City and the V&A Waterfront, will focus on marine manufacturing, including boat-building, hosting superyachts, and ocean sports.

“This key ocean-orientated partnership has been established to ensure economic growth, job creation, and social upliftment by investing in skills development and policy advocacy in the Ocean Economy,’ Vos said.

Vos was joined at the podium by a range of equally effusive speakers, among them Peter Sherlock from Ocean Sailing Association of South Africa, BlueCape founding director Bruce Tedder, and V&A chief executive David Green.

In his address Green said the V&A shared Blue Cape’s vision of renewing key aspects of the ocean economy. To this end the V&A and Blue Cape are looking to develop an Ocean Economy hub space at the V&A, to serve as a co-working space that could encourage sector collaboration. He said this approach would hopefully assist in benefiting the broader marine economy ecosystem. “The essence of the Waterfront derives from it being connected to the Ocean,” Green said.

The V&A and the City are already consulting about the possibility of creating a dedicated superyacht quay inside the V&A. This too looks set to benefit from the Blue Cape initiative.  Confirmed Vos: “Cape Town is well resourced to grow the economic return for the supply chain in support of superyacht visits inclusive of berthing, victualling, maintenance and entertainment. Additionally, through the Blue Cape partnership, we hope to see the increased use of superyacht crew training facilities on our shores.”


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