Inside view into Tag Yachts & Catamarans

Tag Yachts manufactures luxury yachts out of St. Francis Bay in South Africa. Compared to old, established boatbuilding companies based in Cape Town, Tag Yachts is relatively new in terms of production size and market share. Established in March 2007, Tag Yachts was conceived by Tim van der Steene. Tim is a qualified architect and a sailing enthusiast who started sailing at 9 years old. After his 7-year stint of managing private and charter catamarans in the Caribbean, he returned to South Africa and settled in St. Francis Bay.

He decided to combine his knowledge in architecture and enthusiasm for sailing and started Tag Yachts. Tim collaborated with Leon Scheepers, an experienced Master Boat Builder. Leon brought to Tag Yachts over 25 years of experience in boat-building, 10 of which he gained as part of Cape Town based Robertson and Caine, the biggest catamaran builder in the Southern Hemisphere, and the award-winning St. Francis Marine, one of the oldest catamaran builders in the world. At present, Tim serves as Tag Yachts’ Managing Director and Leon as its Technical Director.

Since its inception in 2007, Tag Yachts has produced and launched two luxury catamarans. Tag’s very first project was a 60-foot custom catamaran that started production in July 2007. The Tag catamaran was designed by the well-established Young Yacht Design headed by Greg Young, who shared Tag Yachts’ enthusiasm for multihull sailing and innovative design. The Tag catamaran design incorporated the innovative and ecologically friendly electric propulsion system by David Tether of Electric Marine Propulsion. The electric engines run on high performance lithium batteries, courtesy of International Battery, which are charged every time the Tag catamaran sails. Christened “Tang”, this luxury catamaran hit the water for the first time in September 2010. Following the success of this Tag 60 custom catamaran, Tag Yachts launched the next luxury catamaran in September 2011, this time a production boat named “Star Dust”. Major changes in the production boat included streamlined hydraulic systems and diesel engines instead of electric engines like in the custom catamaran. The current listed price of the “Tang” catamaran is USD3M.

The other major collaborators of Tag Yachts include AMT Composites, who supplies Tag with high performance composites and keeps them up-to-date with the latest developments in composite construction. AMT also provides product training and laboratory testing. For composite designs and engineering, Tag Yachts tapped High Modulus New Zealand. The mast design and tooling was done by Chris Mitchell from AES New Zealand.

Soon after it presented its “Tang” catamaran in the 2011 Miami Boat Show, Tag Yachts announced its new model, the TAG60 GT, which is a user friendly cruiser version of the original Tag catamaran. It still retains high performance features but is designed to be easily handled by a couple. It will have the same lay-out and luxurious amenities and a carbon/epoxy construction. Tag Yachts now offers the original with model name TAG60 XR and the new model TAG60 GT. These new models or model designations are expected to come out in their new launches.

In the aforementioned boat show, Tag Yachts shared the stand with South African Boat Builders Export Council (SABBEX), the National Export Council responsible for sustaining South Africa’s export boatbuilding industry. Tim van der Steene, Tag Yachts’ managing director stands on the SABBEX committee and brings with him Tag Yachts’ vision of world-class, sustainable South African boatbuilding industry on a par with benchmarks in France and New Zealand. Tag Yachts supports this vision by its plan to establish a boatbuilding academy, a future move that it hopes will make the catamarans and other boat types manufactured in the St. Francis Bay area compete consistently with other South African catamarans and South African boat models, as well as those available worldwide.

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