New marine supplier has a background in sailmaking

A Cape Town sailmaker is beating the odds to produce quality marine supplies at his homemade loft in Ocean View.

Joweal Klaase manufactures and supplies canvas accessories and fittings for world class vessels, including Leopard catamarans and Cape 31s. To do so he built a makeshift facility in his backyard where he keeps his tools and machines.

Klaase has been at it only four months but already has earned plaudits from some prominent industry stakeholders who admire his workmanship. He aims to expand his business by plugging a gap in the marine supplies market: quality canvas accessories.

“I’ve had quite a bit of sailmaking experience and canvas work (including two years in the design office of a leading sail manufacturer) and I reached the point where I thought it was time for me to go on my own and pursue something that works for me,” said Klaase of his business move.

His plan is to carve out a niche area, particularly in the service of Cape Town’s top-end boat builders. He believes there is a space for a specialist in this field as the major lofts are more focussed on big sail orders. “I saw a gap in the market, and I’ve always been the type of guy to put my neck out there and try.”

“The market needs somebody who specialises and focuses on the canvas type of thing, and who can get good quality out to the guys,” Klaase said.

It’s still early days and Klaase is still working project to project, but he is optimistic he can grow his business and expand his team. He hopes to land an anchor boat builder client to help become more established – and to help with cash-flow necessary for costly imports. “I let the guys know that I work off 50 percent deposit – and I try to work out my quote as perfectly as possible.

“Hopefully in future I can secure a boatyard – this is what you need so that you can kind of plan ahead,” he added.


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