Van Niekerks bring back cruising fun

Yoliswa Sobuwa

NELSON Mandela Bay residents who can remember the popular, bright pink ’90s cruise boat, Nauticat, are in for a treat – a bigger and better version costing R6-million is heading for the city’s shores this December.

The Nauticat was run by husband and wife team Sandra and Eugene van Niekerk.

The Nauticat was a treat for the locals and tourists, who were sad to see it sold and sent to Cape Town in the late ’90s.

However, the Van Niekerks, who are in the calamari business, are bringing the pleasure cruises back.

The new cruise boat will start operating on December 1 – in time for the festive season.

Sandra, 39, and Eugene, 42, said the boat was something residents had been waiting for.

They have named the cruise boat Jester – a 25m long, 7.4m wide catamaran with a double deck to accommodate 150 people for cruising, and 110 seated for functions.

“We saw a need to build another pleasure boat. When designing the boat we have used our experience, as we used to run the Nauticat which was built by my father-in-law.

“The only difference is that the Jester is bigger and better. Nauticat can even park on top of the Jester. It will be an upper-class venue, not just a ‘boat’,” Sandra said.

“The charter business has been part of our lives. We have been working on this project for the past four years,” she said.

The Van Niekerks said as a charter vessel the Jester would cruise around the Bay.

The boat would also travel along the beachfront for cruisers, weddings, parties, corporate and private functions and conferences.

There would be various kinds of entertainment, with two bars on board.

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