One-stop yacht shop

The Superyacht Training Academy – a one-stop shop for developing skills required by superyacht crew, officially opened its doors at the Nautilus Building in West Quay Road, Waterfront, on Thursday November 28.

The academy is a collaboration between the Waterfront, the Superyacht Culinary Academy and the Ocean Star Sailing Academy.

Inside the building, the training academy is fitted to mimic the on-board facilities to scale and dimension.

The ground floor has a training kitchen for the culinary students, and the upper level has lecture rooms, a kitchen, washing machines and bathrooms, which will mainly be used for stewardess and deckhand trainees. There is also accommodation for 24 students who train at the academy.

The training at the academy will focus on three entry points vital for a career in the industry – chefs, deckhands and stewardesses.

The academy will also ensure that students have their basic marine training and safety licences, without which they will not be employed by boats.

The founder of the Superyacht Culinary Academy, Brett Nussey, said his business started as Stir Crazy in Observatory 18 years ago, and moved to Hout Bay three years ago, until they joined Ocean Star Sailing Academy at the Waterfront.

“Superyacht Culinary Academy was born seven years ago, and we train people as chefs to work on yachts. It is a 10-day accredited course, and we train people who have little skills to advance skills to prepare five-star meals.”

He said working on land is different from working on a yacht, as there are no stores around, and the movement of the boat can influence your cooking.

“You have to think differently and make use of the ingredients you have to create five-star meals.”

Mr Nussey said the Waterfront was a perfect location for setting up shop.

“We are perfectly positioned for tourism as Waterfront is the most visited tourist attraction in Africa, and we are near to the harbour.”

The culinary school takes six students on a course over 10 days, and can take 60 people for a cooking class.

Academy student Jordyn Paul, said she started working in the yachting industry in 2016, and worked her way up to head stewardess. “I’ve always had a passion for cooking, but always thought it was quite daunting.

“I left the boats to go spend a year in the UK to learn how to cook on a yacht.

”Cooking at sea, she said, “throws you out of your comfort zone. It teaches you more than cooking – it teaches you how to prepare and think on the spot.”

Founder of Ocean Star Sailing Academy, Stuart Loxton, said as the demand for qualifications to get involved in the industry overseas grew, they decided to cater to that need.

“We send between 80 and 100 students on training and then refer them to a crew agency overseas, where they will get work within six weeks.

“The 32-day deckhand course teaches students the day-to-day operations and maintenance of a superyacht. There is also an option to complete a yacht masters certificate.

“The 20-day stewardess course includes food safety and hygiene training, and practical stills such as food and wine pairing, silver service, housekeeping and flower arranging.”

Marli Schoonraad, from Sea Point, started in the industry five years ago on the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship in the Waterfront. She then went abroad and worked on her first yacht, but then had to take a break after she injured her wrist.

She studied at Ocean Star Sailing Academy six years ago, and was asked to return as a stewardess lecturer. “It’s a big responsibility to get ready for the industry. As a steward, we teach people skills, making beds, folding fitted sheets, washing and ironing, cocktail making and most importantly, discipline.”

Waterfront CEO David Green said coastal cities around the world compete to attract superyachts because, while the boats
are in port, those on board support tourism and local business
with operational and leisure spending.

“Cape Town is also home to almost 70 percent of the local boat-building industry, sustaining technical skills required to service all types of ocean-going craft and driving the standards of excellence necessary to thrive in this sector.”

He said the new academy answers the call from government to “accelerate the economic potential” of the ocean economy through
destination marketing, maritime skills training
and job creation and stimulating the boat
industry.

“This is another step in building and equipping facilities at the Waterfront to accommodate this industry. We would see many more superyachts visit the city, and the owners and captains know that well-trained local and international staff are available to them.”

At the official opening of the academy, Mayco member for economic development and and asset management, James Vos, said: “As a City, we want to create the right kind of environment for businesses to grow, especially in sectors where there is potential for expansion. One of the ways in which the City helps create the right conditions for growth is by investing in skills that our people can use to find employment.

“The boat building and marine manufacturing sectors has been identified as key to unlocking the ocean economy in Cape Town.

“These sectors have a massive potential to facilitate accelerated economic growth, job creation and economic inclusion through skills development.”

He said the sector directly employs more than 5 120 artisans, carpenters, engineers, and nautical architects, and thousands more work in secondary industries that provide materials and components to shipyards across Cape Town.