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Chris James has taken over the helm of Sparcraft Mast in Cape Town. Sparcraft Masts are designers, and manufacturers of custom aluminium masts and rigging and aluminium fabricators.

Chris has taken over from industry stalwart Tich Mitchell, who after 40 years in the industry has retired to the Garden Route.

Chris is no stranger to sailing, rigging and boatbuilding. He grew up in Durban, matriculating in 1988 and Kearsney College. As a student, he raced mirror dinghies, and after he left school, he took up racing keelboats.

After school, Chris joined the merchant navy for three years, serving as a navigating Cadet and 3rd Mate with Unicorn Lines on five different vessels.

After leaving the Merchant Navy, Chris joined Ocean Sailing Academy as a sailing Instructor, where he taught Yacht Master Offshore for four years. At this time, Chris was also a CASA (Cruising Association of South Africa, predecessor to South African Sailing) examiner up to Yacht Master Offshore Level and he regularly raced L34 keelboats, doing at least one monthly coastal voyage.

Chris has many Nautical Miles of sailing experience under his belt. He skippered six distance offshore races – three Vasco races, two Inhaca races and one Cape to Rio Yacht Race.

Chris’ career in rigging began in 1997 when he left Ocean Sailing Academy and joined Steve Madden Rigging in 1997. In 1999, he bought the company and changed the name to Yacht Masts & Rigging.

In 2005, Chris joined GWind Spars and managed the company for many years. During this time is also managed the build of two yachts – a Berckemeyer 48 Aluminium Monohull called G Wind and an AC 53 Aluminium Cat called Tiger, the latter designed by Anton du Toit of Du Toit Yacht Design.

In 2013, Chris started the Bedrock Group as a 50% owner and the Technical Director. The Bedrock Group specialises in concrete construction and production rigging. Bedrock has grown impressively over the years, now employing 180 people and with offices in Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg.

With Chris’ children having finished school, when the opportunity came up to buy into Sparcraft Masts and manage it, he and his family jumped at the challenge – and at the opportunity for a move to Cape Town.

Chris has many visions for the Sparcraft Masts, which has grown significantly in the last few years.

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