Yacoob Yachts sets the benchmark for aspiring and emerging tourism entrepreneurs in South Africa. Based on a business model that is fresh and unique, it grew from humble beginnings starting with a small harbour cruise boat called Sea Shuttle 1 in 1994 - the year of freedom and democracy in South Africa - and over the course of 18 years, flourished to proudly boast an owned fleet of 6 sailing and motorised vessels.
Owned outright by Esa Yacoob, the company employs over 40 people from skippers, deckhands, service providers, marketing, and admin staff. Just like his vessels, many of the staff has been given a second lease to life. Yacoob identifies the individual potential, harnessing it and allowing the staff to flourish under his guidance and mentorship. A previous housekeeper is now an under 200-ton skipper for Robben Island Ferries and an ex-gardener is a sailing catamaran skipper in the Waterfront.
Yacoob, a qualified teacher and former mini-bus taxi operator, discovered his love of the ocean as a founding member of the Robben Island Ferries in 1997. In 2001, he relinquished his partnership in the company and established Yacoob Yachts, expanding the existing operation. He also went on to become a strategic partner of TOURVEST, the largest tourism investment company in South Africa. As part of TOURVEST's strategic planning during 2001 - 2005, Yacoob became a candidate of the Transformation Process Project for Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME). During that time, he successfully established numerous "Out of Africa" Curio shops at all the major airports, Robben Island and V&A Waterfront.
Once confident to broaden his scope, Yacoob sold his shares in most of the curio shops and embarked on his ultimate dream - to own a fleet of vessels. In 2005, he purchased the Tigresse, a 65ft sailing catamaran, lying derelict in Hout Bay harbour at the time. Yacoob immediately saw her true potential, lines and beauty and over a painstaking 2 years, she was officially and majestically launched in 2007. Able to comfortably take on 60 passengers, she is the sleek and sedate Queen of the fleet.
Over a process of 7 years, the fleet grew. Sea Shuttle 1 was the first of the fleet and later renamed Tommy the Tugboat. It is permanently of service outside the Two Oceans Aquarium, giving educational and entertaining harbor tours for young and old. Ameera, a 40ft catamaran 37 passengers, the "Green Ambassador" of the fleet and the all-time favorite party boat was later designed and built. The Jolly Roger Pirate Boat has a 75-passenger capacity and joined the fleet in 2008. In November 2012, Africa's first Cigarette Boat, Riptide was launched. Designed and built from scratch by Yacoob, Riptide is the company's stealth bomber for those who are in the need for speed. Powering up to 70 km/h (33 knots), she will certainly get the endorphins flowing as she flies like a Harley-Davidson across the Atlantic Ocean.
The fleet is built to conform to International Safety Standards and is operational 365 days of the year. The company has had an excellent track record in the tourism industry as well as with SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Association) for the last 18 years. The vessels have been used in many international Bollywood, Hollywood films, and European ad campaigns. Individual vessels can be used for private charters, photographic, and film locations. Offering a unique blend of boats to suit all tastes and need, authentic and unforgettable experiences are on offer off Cape Town's unique and breath-taking coastline.