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Snippets and news items for a quick update…


By Talia Shadwell

Paramedics tried for half an hour to save the boat’s passenger, but could not revive him. A manslaughter charge against a boat skipper who failed to ensure his passenger was wearing a lifejacket could turn into a landmark case.

It has the potential to affect not only other boaties whose passengers die when not wearing lifejackets, but also drivers in fatal crashes whose passengers were not wearing seatbelts.

The Waitara skipper, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a manslaughter charge after the death of his fishing boat passenger Erka Xu​, 52, of Hamilton.

waitara river mouth

The Waitara River mouth and coastline where Erka Xu drowned in 2015 after the boat he was in flipped him into the water. Photo Robert Charles, Fairfax NZ

But the case is back in court in Wellington as some of the facts remain disputed. It is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind, and could become a landmark case.

“If that’s gross negligence, that opens up a wide class of cases to manslaughter,” Justice Joe Williams told the High Court at Wellington.

Police alleged the 59-year-old skipper failed to take all necessary safety precautions required by law. Maritime rules make it a skipper’s legal responsibility to ensure lifejackets are worn during periods of heightened risk, including when crossing a bar.

The hearing has centred on whether the skipper’s failure to check whether there were lifejackets on board met the gross negligence threshold for a manslaughter conviction.

In evidence, a witness described watching in horror as a wave struck the men’s boat when they crossed a sandbar near the Waitara river mouth, flinging them both overboard about 200 metres off the coastline on July 30, 2015.

Engineer Robin Smith told the court he had been taking his lunch break at the river mouth in what he described as chilly, overcast conditions. The tide was low and the water glassy, with a swell of just over a metre.

He saw the men in a four-metre inflatable boat about 200 metres from shore.

He watched as the boat made a standard approach across the bar, but then missed the wave set.

“I thought holy hell, this is going to be interesting – and it was.”

He watched as a wave on the sandbar formed under the boat’s bow and tipped it sharply from the port side, catapulting the men into the water. As they were sucked rapidly out to sea, Mr Smith phoned the police.

He said he saw the men treading water, and the boat, following, turning in circles as its power remained turned on. There was soon a distance of 30 to 40 metres between the men, and the boat was 30m to their west.

“Frankly, if I was in the water, I wouldn’t have seen any chance of swimming to the boat,” he said.

A policeman arrived with binoculars shortly afterwards, and they saw one of the men submerge, as a surfer paddled out toward the pair. A helicopter was soon on scene too. The surfer managed to get to the boat and powered out to rescue one of the men.

Mr Smith said he watched him head to where the helicopter was hovering over the submerged man and load him on too. Paramedics spent 30 minutes trying to resuscitate Mr Xu, but were unable to save him.

Mr Smith said he had seen many boating accidents and drownings.

“I don’t take any risks with the sea, I’ve seen many accidents over the years. So when I say I don’t go out in those conditions, that’s why.”

The hearing continues.

Source  – Stuff


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The Arahina was attended to by fire crews at Queens Wharf in Wellington.

An historic boat docked at Queens Wharf has escaped damage after fire crews were called when a battery began to smoke.  The battery was in the engine room of the Arahina, a former pilot launch that was involved in the Wahine rescue in 1968,  and crews put on breathing apparatus to go in and remove it.

Fire Service spokesman Mike Wanoa said the source of smoke was the batteries in the rear of the boat.

arahina 2

Wellington pilot boat Arahina saved dozens of passengers and three crew from the sinking Wahine on April 10, 1968.

The Arahina was one of  three pilot launches owned by the Wellington Harbour Board at the time of the Wahine disaster, and was built in Auckland in 1925 of native kauri timber. The boat’s owner said it was returned to Wellington just six months ago, after having spent most of its life since being sold in 1990, in the South Island.

 Source – Stuff


Capture super yacht 1  Capture super yacht 2

Capture super yacht 3  Capture super yacht 4

Tour this 108-metre-long masterpiece that includes a heliport, two pools, a garden and a beach!

By John Elliot

Amazing amenities aren’t limited to land-based luxury. In the ever-escalating world of high-end, hydrodynamic homes, a new superyacht promises some fantastic features.

Norway-based firm Hareide Design has unveiled plans for what may be the most perfect vessel for riding the high seas in style. The concept yacht, which spans 108 meters (354 feet), includes a heliport, an infinity pool that flanks a tranquility garden, an additional triangular pool at the bow and a grand hall, ideal for hosting your own TED Talk or the most awesome, and aquatic, session of karaoke.


New Zealand’s richest man Graeme Hart is selling one of his superyachts for $NZ 266 million. His 107-metre yacht, Ulysses, has been put up for sale by Fraser Yachts in Monaco, for US$195m (NZ$266m) four months after making its first cruise in the Mediterranean in March.

Ulysses has 15 cabins, a helipad, on-deck pool and jacuzzi, sauna, gym, wine cellar, bar and pool table.  It is staffed by a crew of 42 and can accommodate up to 30 guests.

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At left: The grand dining table inside the Ulysses, while at right alfresco dining is fine too! All photographs: Fraser Yachts.

Ulysses is the first private superyacht built by Norwegian shipmakers Kleven Verft​. It was launched in the Norwegian port of Ulsteinvik in August 2015 and was in Germany for six months undergoing outfitting. Ulysses is reportedly the world’s fourth-biggest explorer yacht, but will be dwarfed by another of  Mr Hart’s yachts when it is launched in July this year. The 116-metre expedition superyacht, currently referred to as Hull 370, is also being constructed by Kleven Verft.

ulysses deck set up 1468200777111  ulysses exteror

A great  place for a drink at sundown…. on the deck of the Ulysses. 

Marine industry website ‘GCaptain’ said the new yacht has been designed by Norwegian naval architecture firm Marin Teknikk​ in co-operation with Kyle Dick of New Zealand-based Oscar Mike Naval Architects. The vessel is to be equipped with a helicopter deck and hangar for helicopter,” Marin Teknikk said. “There will be arranged space for and deployment procedures for five large boats that can be carried on for different excursions. In addition, there will be a hangar for several smaller boats and equipment for water sports.”

The vessel will accommodate 66 people and will be powered by diesel electric propulsion systems.

Mr Hart previously owned another ship called Ulysses, a 57.6-metre Trinity, which has now been renamed Grand Rusalina and is registered in the Cayman Islands. He also owns the luxury 77-metre Weta, which is moored in Whangarei. Mr Hart has accumulated a packaging empire and his fortune was estimated by Forbes.com as US$6.4 billion (NZ$8.8b).

Source – Stuff

steam boat


Retro and vintage boats are a picturesque reminder of an elegant time past, when beauty, form and style ruled. They are the classic car or stunning hot-rod of the lakes and sea, and they are becoming increasingly sought after by New Zealand boaties.

New Zealand has a rich maritime history, and many old boats are still in working order, plying our coasts, rivers and lakes.

Hamilton author Don Jesson, a yachtie and launch owner, who has been into boats since he was a child in the 1950s, found one thing in common with all the owners of the boats in his book: they lavish a lot of attention on them. Some are so historically significant that the owners consider themselves caretakers of the boat’s life voyage.

Retro and Vintage Boats Kiwi Portraits, by Don Jessen. Published by Bateman, RRP $39.99, available now in all good bookstores nationwide.

Above: SS Flirt – Smoke boat.  The original Flirt was commissioned in 1894 for a customer in British Columbia, Canada. She is production model No 396 built with a double-planked mahogany hill.

blue launch  blue launch at dockside


A $60 million superyacht built in Auckland has been launched but details of who owns the boat or what’s on board have been kept under wraps. Ship builders McMullen & Wing said the 50-metre vessel was the largest superyacht they had ever worked on and took about half a million man hours to complete.

The company would not disclose the owner’s name or nationality, or where they were cruising to.

The $60m yacht, weighing 550 tonnes, was put in the water at the shipyard in Mt Wellington prior to Christmas. It will go to Auckland’s Viaduct to receive its finishing touches.

Chief executive Michael Eaglen hinted that the yacht could be going to the Arctic Ocean. He said the unique design incorporated the features of a luxury yacht with the “rugged design” that was equipped for polar expeditions.

“The intention is to do some really significant world ocean cruising and explore some far flung paces,” he said.

Mr Eaglen said it was able to house up to 12 guests in luxury suites as well as 12 crew in ensuite cabins. He said he was unable to comment any further on the specific features of the luxury yacht.

The yacht’s sister ship, Big Fish, was built by McMullen & Wing in 2010 and spent time exploring the Arctic Circle. The superyacht was due to set off on an international adventure in April.

Source  – Stuff


Southern Spars announces the joining of Composite Rigging and Future Fibres under the Future Fibres name.

Southern Spars, a member of the North Technology Group and owner of Composite Rigging, acquired Future Fibres in November 2014. The focus for the first 100 days has been on evaluating the two industry leading companies to position products and capabilities that best support their customers and ongoing strategic objectives.

Southern Spars’ owned Composite Rigging LLC, based in Rhode Island, USA, is the market leader in carbonfibre rigging in large part due to its innovative, ultra-reliable ECsix multi-strand continuous carbon fibre rigging product.

Valencia based Future Fibres, founded by entrepreneur Tom Hutchinson was the early innovator of the use of non-carbon advanced fibres for yacht rigging and has a wide product range based on this technology.

“We have been planning to change the Composite Rigging company name for some time,” said Scott Vogel, President of Composite Rigging. “The acquisition of Future Fibres not only brings complimentary technologies and resources, but an iconic company name as well. Our flagship carbon rigging offering will continue to be called ECsix, but our overall rigging company will in future carry the Future Fibres company name instead of Composite Rigging. This Future Fibres name clearly reflects our ongoing ambitions for our rigging company into the future.”

The new combined Future Fibres company will operate from existing locations in Rhode Island, Valencia and Sri Lanka. Providing the marine industry with uninterrupted access to the front end people and services they have grown accustomed to.


Serene, a super-yacht financed by vodka, has docked in Auckland and judging by its owner, it might be time to lock-up the vineyards and rock stars. Exiled Russian vodka magnate Yuri Shefler, has a taste for big parties, mansions and wants to diversify away from vodka to super-premium wine.

His company, SPI Group, says Mr Shefler has been travelling to key wine-making regions of the world “personally spearheading” the company initiative to get into premium wineries.

At 8231 tons, Serene might struggle to dock at Picton, although the Marlborough Sounds has plenty of discrete anchorages. A press release from the company just over a year ago said they were assessing opportunities in California, Spain, Portugal and Chile. They’ve bought into Argentina wine as well.

Mr Shefler’s US$330 million (NZ$431 million) ship arrived in Auckland, after an odd stop in the Tasman Sea, some distance off Ninety Mile Beach. It’s docked at Wynyard Wharf ( shown above right) next to the unromantic and pragmatic bunker ship Awanuia.

Where ever the Cayman Islands flagged Serene is docked, it wins headlines, although Mr Shefler and his wife and son, are seldom photographed. In New York, the only parking large enough was the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.In some ports, Venice and San Francisco among them, the size of the ship off luxury beaches has drawn complaints.

In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, Mr Shefler and a group of investors moved in on 43 state owned vodka brands, including Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, and went into US$50 million worth of debt to get them. Today he is said to be worth US$800m (NZ$1.04 billion).

At 134 metres long – longer than New Zealand’s two navy frigates and multi-role ship CanterburySerene is said to feature an internal seawater pool, two helicopter platforms and a helicopter hangar. It is also rumoured to have a mini submarine aboard and a place known as the “Nemo room” – a glass panelled bulkhead for looking at the ocean beneath.

When Mr Shefler is not using the boat, it can be chartered for €1.6 million (NZ$2.4m) a week.

His actual plans are not disclosed on the Ports of Auckland Shipping News. It arrived unannounced and its departure is not posted.

Source – Stuff


A “dramatic” drop in demand for superyachts has forced Auckland boat-building company Alloy Yachts to shed 60 staff. The Henderson-based company typically has about 250 staff but following the jobs cuts that number will be down to 135, Alloy Yachts managing director Tony Hambrook said.

Mr Hambrook said the explanation for the job losses was simple: demand for new superyachts had dried up.

“The big picture is worldwide sales for superyachts are dramatically less than five years ago, so we have had to reduce jobs.”

Alloy Yachts, which mostly builds boats up to 50m long, has been around since 1986 and Mr Hambrook said this was the toughest time it had ever been through.

“We went through the 1987 sharemarket debacle in the early days and it took about four to five years to recover, but this downturn has been deeper and taken longer to recover.”

Mr Hambrook said one of the challenges for boat builders was a fall in re-sale value for luxury yachts, which not only made second-hand yachts a cheap option but made buying a new yacht a bad investment.

“It’s not like it used to be. Ten years ago yachts would sell within a year for more than the cost price.”

Like many exporters, Alloy Yachts has also had to contend with an unfavourable exchange rate with the dollar hitting record highs against several currencies this year. However, while the kiwi has fallen more than 12 per cent against the US dollar since July, Mr Hambrook said most of Alloy’s competitors were based in Europe where the prospect of quantitative easing is pushing down the value of the Euro.

“The European Central Bank has been quite clear in that they want to bring down the value of the Euro,” Mr Hambrook said.

Source  – Stuff online news


Auckland’s Harbourmaster is hailing the introduction of Auckland Council’s new rules on wearing lifejackets as a success.

Harbourmaster Andrew Hayton said staff from his office visited several boat ramps to inform people about Auckland Council’s new navigation safety bylaw which came into effect at Labour weekend.

“What was pleasing was that most people were aware of the rules and more importantly, were wearing lifejackets,” he said. “The job has just begun so our staff will be out on the water throughout the summer to ensure people are well informed and know the rules and their responsibilities.”

The new bylaw requires everyone on a vessel of six metres or less to wear a lifejacket and that they can only be removed if the skipper determines that it is safe to do so. It will now be an offence for anyone to be in charge of a vessel while intoxicated from booze or drugs. It’s also now compulsory to carry a communication device, such as a radio, mobile phone, distress beacon or flare, on board.

The bylaw follows similar moves by other councils around the country including Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, which has begun handing out $300 fines to boaties not wearing lifejackets.

Of the 113 who drowned while boating between 2007 and 2013, 46 had access to flotation devices but didn’t use them.

The council is also simplifying signs at boat ramps, to help with greater understanding and compliance.  For more information on Auckland Council’s Navigation Safety Bylaw go to aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/harbourmaster


The war on Auckland’s water is hotting up, with a new challenger making waves in the harbour ferry network. Fullers Ferries is now facing competition from the Explore Group on the busy Downtown to Waiheke Island route.

Waiheke Local Board chairman Paul Walden said the competition will be good for commuters. He said it will also increase the capacity for the island’s tourism market in both winter and summer.

Mr Walden agreed there had been friction between Waiheke Islanders and Fullers Ferries in recent years, so it wasn’t all plain sailing.


The recent closure of Fitzroy Yachts is linked to the failure of the yard to win the contract to construct vessels for the RNZN. The super yacht yard closed recently taking with it 120 jobs.

Fitzroy Yachts was partnered in the RNZN new building project by Britain’s Vosper Thorneycroft which had been in patrol boat construction for the Royal Navy since the beginning of the last century.  The New Zealand project centred on inshore patrol and offshore patrol ships.

Also involved was a frigate-class vessel with multi-role capability. Fitzroy was standing by to integrate into its yard slipways for the project. At the time it was associated with nearby Fitzroy Engineering, then as now the nation’s biggest heavy engineer.

Under the Fitzroy-Vospers scheme the RNZN vessels would have been leased rather than sold and under the lease terms the consortium members would have provided through life maintenance under a service guarantee. In the event the contract went to Tenix Defence of Australia.

Substantial remedial work was required on the vessels with compensation eventually also being paid to the New Zealand government.

Source: Peter Isaac, MSC Newswire


Auckland Council’s Harbourmaster Andrew Hayton is getting behind the first national Safer Boating Week which launches tomorrow.

Staff from the Harbourmaster’s Office will join others outside the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum, stressing safe boating messages and the wearing of life jackets. Participants will get some fun photos to take away with them, or that can be emailed to them. There are will be spot prizes, chocolate and safe boating advice.

Safer Boating Week has been organised by members of National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum – led by Maritime New Zealand and runs 17-24 October. The council’s harbourmaster is a member of the forum. For more information go to saferboating.org.nz

Auckland Council’s new Navigation Safety Bylaw comes in to effect at Labour Weekend and includes new rules regarding wearing of lifejackets. For more information about the bylaw go to http://bit.ly/1ssEVMA

Mr Hayton has 23 years experience in the maritime industry, including a four-year stint as a marine accident investigator and port state control inspector for Maritime New Zealand.

The Harbourmaster’s primary role is to ensure navigational safety in the harbour through a range of responsibilities including patrols, regulation, communicating with all users, mooring management and education of safe and environmentally sound boating practices.

The Auckland Council Deputy Harbourmaster is Christiaan Moss. Mr Moss also has significant experience in the maritime industry, coming to the role directly from a position at Maritime New Zealand as a safety and environment auditor.

The Harbourmaster’s team are tasked with ensuring the highest navigational safety standards, compliance with the Port and Harbours Safety Code, management of boat moorings, and providing a ready response to marine pollution incidents.

 graeme hart and ulysses


A Norwegian nautical secret is out! New Zealand billionaire Graeme Hart is the owner of a new ship launched last week. The 107-metre long “expedition yacht”, launched at Ulsteinvik, north of Oslo, cost about 400 million kroner ($78 million).

Mr Hart, above left,  complete with a nautical-monogrammed blazer, and wife Robyn were at the Kleven Verft shipyard for the launching of Ulysses. It’s a name Mr Hart has used before.

Norway’s business paper ‘Dagens Næringsliv’ said that until the Harts showed up in Ulsteinvik, no-one knew who the new ship was for. ‘Dagens Næringsliv’ stated Mr Hart notoriously shuns media attention but given the size of the boat it was hard to avoid being noticed.

Mr Hart said the boat was not designed to languish in celebrity Mediterranean ports. It was “very robust and seaworthy”, especially suitable for longer expeditions in rough waters, “but also luxury”. The ship would have a helipad, helicopter hangar, pool, hot tub and accommodation for 60 people.

“This is a very exciting project for us,” Mr Hart told ‘Dagens Næringsliv’. “We have been around in the yard and on board the vessel, and I’m very pleased with Kleven and the work that has been done here so far.” Kleven specialises in oil and fishing-industry vessels.

When Kleven won the contract to build the ship, they called it an expedition support vessel, specially designed for adventurers who would settle for nothing but the most luxurious digs.

Svein Rune Gjerde, chief executive of Marin Teknikk, said Mr Hart approached his company to design something different. “This has been a different and interesting project for our design team. The knowledge underpinning the development of this vessel is much the same as it is for our successful offshore vessels, but new regulations and specifications have made this an exciting and challenging project.”

The Harts will take delivery of the ship next year. They have another vessel, the luxury 77-metre Weta, moored in Whangarei undergoing a long refit after being towed from Chile as little more than a hull.

Mr Hart used to own another ship named Ulysses. The more modest 51-metre long ship sat for years at Auckland’s Viaduct, fully crewed and polished but going nowhere. Now renamed Grand Rusalina , it proved to have major engine problems. It is undergoing repairs in Monaco but it is not clear who owns it now.


manukau aerial 10544349

Ferries might be the golden key to unlocking the Manukau Harbour.

Auckland ferry giant SeaLink has just wrapped up an 18-month investigation into whether it could operate a service from Onehunga, to areas like Clarks Beach and Waiuku.  The proposal has given the push to open Onehunga Wharf, shown above, up to the public a major boost.

Now it’s up to Ports of Auckland to come to the party.

Manukau Harbour Restoration Society chairman Jim Jackson said public access would be a boost for the wharf. At present, the Ports of Auckland-owned wharf is closed to the public. It is used for shipping container storage and as a base for the Sandford fishing fleet and Holcim Cement.

A lot can be done in a short space of time, Mr Jackson said.

“Once you get out closer to the heads, it’s certainly a part of Auckland that not many Aucklanders currently have the opportunity to have a look at. Look at Matiatia on Waiheke. When I was growing up back in the ‘50s it was pretty rudimentary. But just look at what has happened in that time,” he said.

SeaLink managing director Todd Bolton said providing ferries from Onehunga Wharf was possible. The company took over Pine Harbour Ferries in August and could now look at using those vessels in the Manukau Harbour, he said. It stated this in a submission to the regional transport plan last year and the company has also made submissions on the unitary plan.

The company is now waiting on a sign of commitment from local government, Mr Bolton said.

“We’re thinking within the next couple of years. That may be a little bit ambitious but we’re talking about the feasible future, we’re not talking about 20 years away,” Mr Bolton said. “We’re quite motivated to see if those things can happen sooner rather than later.”

Onehunga Business Association manager Amanda Kinzett said the proposal has the ability to make the wharf a real hot spot.  It could be developed to include fish markets and a buzzing nightlife scene – a huge improvement on the currently dilapidated and under-utilised area, she says.

“We’ve got a huge asset, the second largest harbour in Auckland,” she said. “There are so many things that can be added here that would add value. We need to bring the Manukau Harbour to where it should be.”

Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board chairman Simon Randall said the board has raised the issue with the council arm that owns Ports of Auckland and has expressed an intention in its local board plan to get the public more access to the Manukau Harbour.

The Onehunga Foreshore Project, due to wrap up in July 2015, will bring people back to the Manukau Harbour for the “first time in a long time”, Mr Randall said.

Ports of Auckland infrastructure and property manager Alistair Kirk said a decision has not yet been made about the future of the Onehunga port. The company evaluated the use of the port in 2013 and results were expected by the end of the year.But Ports of Auckland is now declining to comment on the outcome of the evaluation, as it “involves other parties”.

Kirk said the company is still open to discussions about the site.

Source  – Central Leader


Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Harbourmaster has issued the first infringement fines for people breaking the bylaws requiring lifejackets to be worn. Eight fines of $300 each have been issued to boaties who were seen off the coast of Napier not wearing lifejackets on board their boats.

The Navigation Safety Bylaws were reviewed in 2012 and require lifejackets to be worn by everyone on board a vessel 6 metres or less in length.

After a two year education programme about the lifejacket bylaws, the HBRC Harbourmaster is now taking legal action against anyone seen breaking the rules.

“Boaties have had plenty of information on the bylaws and enough time to buy suitable lifejackets for them and their passengers. Some people need to move past bravado and the ‘it’s never happened to me’ attitude and take responsibility for their family, their friends and themselves,” said Harbourmaster Phil Norman. “When you get into trouble on a boat, it happens very quickly and in a very dangerous place – a lifejacket gives you a better chance of saving your life.”

The bylaws state that a boat must carry sufficient personal flotation devices for each person on board and that this is the responsibility of the person in charge of the craft. The bylaw also requires that a personal flotation device must be worn at all times on all craft of 6 metres or less and on all paddlecraft, when the craft is underway or preparing to become underway, which means the responsibility is with each person on board.

“In other words, if you are in charge of a boat, you must make sure you have enough lifejackets on board to fit everyone including children, and, as an individual on board, it is your personal responsibility to wear a lifejacket,” says the Harbourmaster.

Source: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council


Wellington’s harbour ferry service has been sold to foreign owners. The East by West Wellington Harbour ferry service has been bought by Chinese couple Jin Jun and Xuying Qiao.

Managing director Jeremy Ward said the couple, who have tourism interests in China, plan to immigrate to New Zealand and wanted to add a third ferry to the 25-year-old company’s fleet.

“They have plans to build a third ferry in coming years to increase frequency on the Seatoun and Days Bay services,” he said. As part of the deal Mr Ward will continue to manage the business for at least two years.


More than 100 people are losing their jobs, as a New Plymouth luxury yacht builder ceases the bulk of its operations. Fitzroy Yachts broke the news to its staff this month .

Managing director Rodney Martin said the 2008 Global Financial Crisis has slowed the number of new build orders the company received. He said staff will go once the company finishes building the 37-metre yacht its working on at the moment.

He’s optimistic many workers will be able to find new jobs in New Plymouth.


The Marine Industry Association has called on the Government to do its bit in terms of lowering interest rates, to keep the industry afloat. Luxury boat builder, Fitzroy Yachts, of New Plymouth,  is making 120 people redundant as it has no new orders.

The association’s executive director, Peter Busfield, admits the effects of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis are still being felt by the industry. He said New Zealand’s high exchange rate is putting exporters on the back foot on the world stage.

“The price to buy from New Zealand has gone up 30 or 40 per cent, and it’s very hard to make a sale when you’ve got that price movement.”

He said New Zealand’s involvement in the America’s Cup shows we’re still at the leading edge of designing and manufacturing boats.

“There will be customers that see the advantage of having boats built in New Zealand. “It’s just unfortunate for Fitzroy Yachts, from a timing point of view, that they need an order right here and now.”


An ostentatious display of wealth in the form of an unusual fleet of superyachts is attracting overseas tourists by the busloads to Auckland’s Wynyard Wharf.

Star of the show – if only because it is virtually on a public wharf – is the 1929 built classic Nahlin, shown at top right. A glorious 91-metre yacht with a golden bowsprit, it is owned by the vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson.

It has a glorious past, not least that it was privately used in 1936 by Britain’s King Edward VIII to meet his secret love, Wallis Simpson, during a cruise in the Adriatic Sea. The king reputedly had books removed from the yacht, then owned by King Carol II of Romania, so that it could carry more alcohol. Photos of the British king and Mrs Simpson together went around the world – except to Britain where reference to the king, who would soon abdicate to be with “the woman I love”, were banned.

Nearby Nahlin is Auckland billionaire Graeme Hart’s new monster, seemingly named Pacific, middle right.

The 77m craft was bought as little more than a hulk from a bankrupt Chilean shipyard and towed to New Zealand. In the year or so since it has been to Whangarei for a $50 million rebuild and refit codenamed Project Weta. Behind a security fit, it appears to be more or less ready for summer.

Nearby is Mr Hart’s now unwanted 58m yacht Ulysses. It’s for sale – if you need to know the price you cannot afford it.

Pushed off the wharf and now out in the anchorage awaiting a paint job is the US$350m (NZ$424m) superyacht A – here until the end of February.( shown at bottom right.)

Owned by Russian fertiliser and chemical magnate Andrey Melnichenko, 41, who is worth an estimated US$14.8 billion (NZ$17.2b).  At 119m and 5959 gross tons, A is 1m longer than New Zealand’s two warships, the frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana which weigh in at 3600 tons.

Source: Fairfax News


The formal farewell for outgoing Director of the New Zealand Maritime School, Captain Tim Wilson will be held as part of the Nautical Foreign Going Graduation ceremony on November 23, at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, in Auckland.

Graduates, former graduates, their families and friends are all invited to the function, along with some long serving leaders of the maritime and logistics industries. The cost is $85 per person and tickets can be obtained from the NZMS administration office on maritime@manukau.ac.nz or 09 379 4997.

Tim Wilson has now moved out of day to day New Zealand Maritime School activities after 23 years service.  He is now be focusing on his executive role in Manukau Institute of Technology and the establishment of a new commercial subsidiary, EnterpriseMIT Ltd.

Paul Harper, formerly a senior lecturer and programme co-ordinator, marine engineering,  has succeeded Tim as Executive Dean, Maritime.

Paul holds an MBA, a Class 1 Marine Engineer and sailed as Chief Engineer in the international fleet. He also has management experience within the shipping industry globally, including technical management roles with SSM Ltd of Glasgow and Jebsens of Norway, Chief Executive of Carter Holt Harvey Lodestar and Group General Manager of Interisland Line. Paul currently holds a number of Directorships, including Port of Napier Ltd and Netlogix Ltd, a 4PL logistics company.

Tim will remain involved in the maritime industry in an Emeritus Director role that will involve continuing his chairmanship of GlobalMET and involvement with both the IMO and the maritime forum for the time being. He will also see the current reviews of maritime and logistics qualifications and introduction of SeaCert through to completion in terms of the development of the new qualifications and learning programmes.



A stunning superyacht that resembles a stealth destroyer has cruised into Auckland harbour. Known only as A, the superyacht is dominating Auckland’s Viaduct and sparking marine industry gossip over who is getting big money to service the ship.

Owned by Russian fertiliser and chemical magnate Andrey Melnichenko, 41, the vessel slipped into port in Auckland last month without any listing in the Port’s shipping movement bulletin. There was no sign of its owner, worth an estimated US$14.8 billion (NZ$17.2b).

A is said to be worth US$350 million and is the largest superyacht to visit Auckland. At 119 metres long and 5959 gross tons, A is a metre longer than New Zealand’s two warships, the frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana which weigh in at 3600 tons.

While a frigate can probably outrun A – cruising at 50 kph to the superyacht’s 42 kph – a frigate probably wouldn’t boast a jacuzzi or a swimming pool. It’s also an open question which ship has more security systems.

Superyachts.com rates A as the 16th largest superyacht in the world – but it is due to slip a couple of places to 18 this year thanks to some Middle East billionaires building bigger vessels.

Built in Germany in 2008 by Blohm + Voss (the Hamburg firm that built the battleship Bismarck in World War Two – and designed the frigates that New Zealand’s two warships are based upon), A is touted as one of the finest yachts in the world. She is considerably bigger than the largest New Zealander-owned superyacht, Graham Hart’s modest 77 metre Weta.

Marine industry sources at Westhaven were not saying what is known of the work to be carried out on A, but it has been published in the Daily Mail UK that she is seeking a replacement paint job.  Mr Melnichenko is said to be disappointed with the Dulux paint job done in  the United States, and  is suing Dulux owner Akzo Nobel for US$100m ( NZ$120m) because of  “lines and sagging” in the paint. A repaint job in Auckland, valued at NZ$30m is expected to take 18 months.

The Wall Street Journal is one of the few media outlooks to have been aboard. Reporter Robert Frank went aboard in Barbados and noted that at the top of a spiral staircase lined with scalloped, silver-leaf walls is a door accessible by a fingerprint security system.

“It opens to an all-white, 2,583 sqft master suite wrapped in bomb-proof, 44-millimetre glass,” he said.

Designed by Philippe Starck, A has become one of the most loved and loathed ships in the world.

“With its radical shape – more sleek submarine than boxy pleasure boat – and reams of custom parts and finishes (including bath knobs costing US$40,000 apiece), A is a conspicuous marker of an ocean-going plutocracy that’s largely been untouched by the recession,” the WSJ noted.

The yacht is highly secure, with its rounded exterior and knife-like hull making it difficult to board. It has 44 security cameras and more than a dozen exterior cameras fitted with motion-detection systems and a night-vision infrared system.

WSJ said the Melnichenkos make frequent changes in itinerary and do not spend much time in any one port, preferring to roam the seas for weeks at a time.

Mr Melnichenko founded a bank in 1993 and then moved into pipe manufacturing and fertiliser and chemicals. His wife Aleksandra – the A in the ship’s name – is a former Serbian model and pop singer.

The world’s new largest superyacht is the 180 metre Azzam, launched earlier this year for an Abu Dhabi billionaire. It took over top honours from Russian magnate Roman Abramovich’s yacht Eclipse – also built by Blohm + Voss.

– © Fairfax NZ News


Three of the fastest and most radical yachts in Australasia will race in the PIC Insurance Brokers Coastal Classic next month. For two years running TeamVodafone has enjoyed a clear run to line honours and race records in the 119 nautical mile race from Auckland to Russell. That won’t be the case this October, when the Orma60 Team Australia, and Giacomo – formally known as Groupama 4 – visit New Zealand.

The massive 60 foot trimaran Team Australia will be making a World Speed Sailing Council-ratified attempt at a Trans Tasman speed record, before lining up for the iconic 119 nautical mile race between Auckland and Russell in the Bay of Islands. Skipper and Owner Sean Langman is looking forward to racing TeamVodafone in her own waters. The boats have met several times on the race course in Australia, and Team Australia has taken four wins to TeamVodafone’s one.

But while history has handed victory to Sean Langman in lighter breezes, TeamVodafone may well hold the cards in a stronger breeze, and both boats – which are nearly identical in design – have made important changes and improvements since they last met.

Giacomo, owned by New Zealand winemaker Jim Delegat, was formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race winner, Groupama, and arrives in New Zealand soon ready for repainting and an offshore racing program that will include the Sydney-Hobart in December. The Orma 60s have not lined up with Giacomo before, but TeamVodafone did race another Volvo Open 70 to Fiji two years, ago, finishing the race less than half an hour ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand’s boat, Camper, in the 1100nm race.

While the trimarans have the advantage of two extra hulls, Giacomo’s massive canting keel and huge sail area, will stand it in excellent steed, especially upwind.

“At the top end of the fleet, is the most exciting line up we’ve seen in several years,” says race spokesperson Matthew Flynn. “We are counting down to race day and we are thrilled to have attracted such high calibre entrants.”

More than 50 boats have already entered and close to 200 are expected on the start line, on Friday 25 October 2013.

takapuna boating complex


New plans for the controversial high performance yachting facility at Takapuna Beach (shown above) are being drawn up behind the scenes.

Yachting New Zealand is in the midst of preparing a resource consent application for another take on the contentious National Ocean Watersports Centre but details are being kept under wraps.

The Minister for Sport and Recreation,Murray McCully is understood to have committed $3 million of government money to the project, and  a media response through the Official Information Act was declined. All information is being withheld on the grounds that negotiations regarding the centre are still under way.

Further clarification revealed that Yachting NZ is currently preparing a resource consent application with the support of Sport NZ. The application is yet to be lodged with the council.

Mr McCully referred to the centre as being a ‘sure thing’ in a letter of support for a bid to host the 2015 Finn Gold Cup sailing competition in Takapuna.

“Developments are progressing here for a National Ocean Watersports Centre based at Takapuna, which will be an excellent new facility to support this event,” Mr McCully said.

There has been overwhelming opposition from the public to the centre being sited on reserve land currently occupied by the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park.

It is unknown whether the resource consent application will ask that the facility be located on the area now used by the holiday park, or the original and less contentious site some 200 metres away next to Takapuna Boating Club. But these latest plans have been kept from the Devonport Takapuna Local Board, which has landowner rights over the beachfront reserve land.

Earlier this year the board passed a contentious reserve management plan which includes a provision for some boat storage and ancillary functions.

A hearings panel had previously rejected plans for a facility that would have included an office block for Yachting NZ staff.

Campground owner Marius Rothmann said he’s been assured by council officers that there is nothing planned for the holiday park site in the near future. Mr Rothmann said he has been told to open up his bookings but as yet the council has not given him any sense of how long the campground might be around for.

“We know we are not going to be given a 10-year lease but all we want is to be sure what they want with us,” he said. “We’re in limbo right now.”

At the moment the holiday park’s lease is rolling over on a month by month basis.


Ports of Auckland has signed up as the new naming rights sponsor for the Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta.

“The regatta, like the port, is as old as Auckland. The first Auckland Regatta was held on the day the city was founded in 1840, 11 years before the first America’s Cup race. We have a connection with the regatta both through this history and the Waitematā harbour we share, which makes it the perfect event for us to support,” Chief Executive Tony Gibson said.

Eric Mahoney, Chairman of Auckland Anniversary Regatta Inc. said “The regatta is one of the biggest one day regattas in the world and is unique in the fact it encompasses not only yachts of all shapes and sizes but also tugboats, modern watersports such as stand up paddleboarding, dragon boating, and waka ama. Added to this, it has always been the official celebration of the founding of Auckland. It’s a terrific birthday occasion both on and off the water, and the Ports of Auckland’s sponsorship is absolutely invaluable to us.”

Each year Ports of Auckland suspends operations so the regatta can run smoothly. It competes in the popular tug boat race, and provides free boat tours of the port and harbour during Anniversary Weekend.

“Ports of Auckland has long supported the regatta and we are delighted to have the opportunity to get behind it even more,” added Mr Gibson.


A flawed decision by three jurists is costing lives at sea and New Zealand taxpayers millions of dollars in fruitless searches but Parliament will not do anything about it, a maritime legal expert believes.

Victoria University maritime law lecturer Bevan Marten said a single Court of Appeal ruling is “exercising a negative influence over New Zealand’s maritime law”. He has appealed to Parliament to amend the law, even if only to save lives.

“They listened politely but said it was too hard,” he said.

The flawed decision found foreign flagged yachts departing New Zealand were not legally obliged to comply with the safety standards then established by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) requiring boats to have long range radios and emergency locator beacons on board.

“There is the economic argument which says if we force them to carry this gear, we will save a lot of money later with Orions looking for a needle in a hay stack,” he said.

The Sunday Star-Times revealed last week the US flagged Nina was unseaworthy but because it was foreign flagged it was not required to have a “Cat-1” inspection. Its skipper and owner David Dyche refused to carry a long range radio and other “gadgets”.

The search for Nina has now been called off and families of the people on board have held a memorial service for them in Florida.

Up until 1998 inspections were mandatory for all boats. Then came the case of sole eccentric sailor William Sellers and his 10 metre Malta flagged cutter Nimbus. He refused to have a radio and an emergency locator beacon or epirb.

In a Court of Appeal judgment written by Sir Ken Keith, now on the International Court of Justice deciding on Japanese whaling, Mr Sellers said he based his maritime art on the mystery of the sea.

“It is religious to me, being alone, simple and strong with the sea – not with radios – the radio has stuffed everything…but the mystery of the ancient sea will outlast man. I am protesting on religious grounds to attempts to restrict free and private movement on the open sea,” he said.

He sailed without inspection and when he returned was charged and convicted in the district court. It was upheld in the High Court but then went to appeal where in addition to Sir Ken Keith, tax specialist Sir Ivor Richardson and Sir Peter Blanchard, now retired from the Supreme Court, sat.They ruled in a 62 page judgment that safety inspections could not be required of foreign flagged yachts. Sellers claimed he had the freedom of the high seas.

The three jurists decided that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, New Zealand did not have the right to regulate the extraterritorial operations of a foreign-flagged vessel.

Around 500 yachts depart New Zealand each year and as the court noted a number of them get into difficulties in New Zealand’s 15 million square kilometres search and rescue areas.

“The most useful aids to effective search and rescue missions are emergency locator beacons and radio transceivers,” Keith said.

Mr Marten, who did his PhD at Hamburg’s Max Planck Institute on port state maritime controls with particular focus on Sellers, says the case law was inhibiting the ability of MNZ to carry out its responsibilities. The United States, European Union, Australia, or other states with which New Zealand generally compares itself believe they have the right to inspect boats on safety grounds

“I think we should enforce basic safety requirements for yachts; we are not going to force them to redesign the hull but we should force them to carry radios and epirbs.”

He dismisses the argument that New Zealand was trying to enforce extra-territorial implications. A radio could have been installed in compliance with New Zealand laws.

“If the skipper so wished the radio could be thrown over the side upon reaching the high seas and New Zealand could do nothing about it unless the vessel returned to a New Zealand port,” he said. “This is not a fringe argument. The majority of international law experts I have spoken with in Europe also believe our current position to be simply wrong.”

The lost 21-metre vintage schooner Nina set off from Opua in the Bay of Islands to Newcastle on May 19, but has not been heard from since a text message on June 4.

On board the Nina, built in 1928, were Americans David Dyche III, 58; his wife, Rosemary, 60; and their son David Dyche IV, 17; their friend Evi Nemeth, 73; Kyle Jackson, 27; Danielle Wright, 18, and Briton Matthew Wootton, 35. The Dyche family formerly lived in Panama City’s Cove neighbourhood and were popular members of the local boating community.

 © Fairfax NZ News


ferry for west  


West Aucklanders might feel they were left high and dry after the Government’s major transport announcements last week. But the plan for the west’s public transport is not bleak. James Ireland looks at what changes can be expected.

Throw your head back and laugh as you glide across the harbour looking back at gridlocked traffic. That could become a reality as plans for a ferry from Te Atatu to the city begin to take shape.

Auckland Transport began a design study into a ferry wharf, 200 space park-and-ride car park and an access road with turning capability. A study in 2005 identified two possible sites, one near the boat club on the southern side of SH16 or on the peninsula side on the Harbour- view Orangihina Park.

The town’s residents and ratepayers association secretary Bryce Pearce says its preference is the boat club because they oppose all development on the park.

“There will always be people who don’t want to ride on a bus but would ride on a ferry,” he said.”If it gives a viable alternative and takes a couple of hundred people off the roads every day that’s great. We are all about giving people options.”

The city’s annual ferry patronage was expected to hit 5.5 million by the end of June, a 45,000 increase on the previous year, helped by the recent launch of the Hobsonville ferry.

Auckland Transport is aiming to create a unified public transport system by making bus routes simpler and easing the transfer from one mode of transport to another.The improvements are expected to cost $60 billion over the next 30 years.

Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford said a ferry will make the whole transport system work together.

“The thing that’s holding Te Atatu back is the transport. With the improvements we are going to see it would be a huge leap forward. I hope the study looks at different options and weighs them up accordingly.”

The banks of the Whau River are dry at low tide and the ferry would have to travel down a narrow channel with its speed limited to five knots. It would take 30 to 35 minutes to make the trip to the city.

The 2005 study raised concerns about patronage problems. It suggested road congestion in the area and low density housing would limit the number of people who could walk to the ferry.

Source: Fairfax News


New Zealand marine companies have again taken out prestigious international awards with Auckland superyacht builders Alloy Yachts and Yachting Developments winning major trophies at the 2013 World Superyacht Awards at the Boat International Media Group-run ceremony in Instanbul on May 4.

Peter Busfield, CEO of NZ Marine, said: “Continued success in the major international awards demonstrates that New Zealand superyacht builders are at the forefront of the global industry. New Zealand boat builders such as Alloy Yachts and Yachting Developments have an on-going ability to produce workmanship that is recognised by their international peers as the ultimate standard of achievement.

“Their success highlights the strength of our marine industry as a whole and helps ensure that local companies remain in a strong position to secure future orders. It also indicates the strength of the training and depth of experience and talent of personnel throughout New Zealand’s marine industry.

Loretta Anne, a 47-metre raised pilothouse motor yacht, was launched by Henderson, Auckland-based Alloy Yachts in May 2012 and won her finalists’ category for ‘raised pilothouse semi-displacement or planing motor yachts’ as well as the top award for motor yachts against 31 other finalists to be named ‘motor yacht of the year’.

Designed by UK’s Dubois Naval Architects with an interior by Donald Starkey Design, Loretta Anne is the third yacht that Alloy Yachts has built for a Northern Hemisphere-based owner. With a gross tonnage of 444, she’s capable of cruising at 14 knots and has an estimated range of 3,500 nm. She carries a range of components manufactured by other New Zealand marine industry specialists such as anchors from Manson Anchors and windlasses and mooring capstans from Maxwell. She also carries two custom-built 6.2m tenders built by Lloyd Stevenson Boat Builders in East Auckland and her carbon fibre side boarding ladder was made by another Auckland firm C-Quip.

Tony Hambrook, managing director of Alloy Yachts, said: “We are delighted with the win. Our customer is very experienced with yachts and knew what she wanted. She was heavily involved in the design and features for the latest Loretta Anne. The outcome is very personal and award-winning!”

The winning refit of J Class luxury yacht 39.6 m Endeavour was an 18 month project for Hobsonville, Auckland-based Yachting Developments.

Yachting Developments’ managing director Ian Cook said the extensive refit included the replacement of the complete weather deck, new deck equipment, relocation of steel deck framing, reconfiguration of the accommodation forward and new interior.

“Care was taken throughout Endeavour’s refit to preserve as much of the vessel as practical, yet still enhance performance and improve functionality,” said Mr Cook. “Numerous suppliers were involved in the replacement of the main engine, electrical system, electronics, air conditioning, hydraulics bow thruster and winches. A new carbon fibre mast was built by Southern Spars’ New Zealand custom projects facility and the new interior was built in-house by Yachting Developments tradesmen.

Mr Cook was also delighted to that the Yachting Developments-built 30.49 m composite sailing catamaran Quintessential received special recognition from the World Superyacht Award judging panel.

Quintessential’s main purpose to entertain friends and family; she has a very welcoming feel and is definitely a luxurious home away from home. We teamed up with Auckland-based Superyacht Interiors New Zealand to create a stunning traditional teak interior and spacious outdoor entertainment/bar area. She also sports a carbon fibre mast from Southern Spars NZ and sails from Doyles NZ.”

Mr Busfield notes that a third New Zealand yacht builder, New Plymouth-based Fitzroy Yachts was also a finalist in this year’s World Superyacht Awards with the Dubois-designed 49.7 m Ohana.

“Once again, the talents of New Zealand’s marine craftspeople see New Zealand-built superyachts rated among the world’s best.”

Caption: The Alloy Yachts-built Loretta Anne won the World Superyacht Award for motor yacht of the year 2013 CREDIT: Alloy Yachts.


One of the biggest superyachts in America has docked in Wellington Harbour, but the rich-list owner is yet to be seen.

The 67-metre Archimedes is believed to be owned by James Simons, whose net worth of NZ$13.8 billion claims him the spot of the world’s 82nd richest man on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list.

The 74-year old founded the hedgefund management company Renaissance Technologies in 1982, and is a very active philanthropist in his retirement. He founded the Paul Simons Foundation, a charitable organisation which supports projects related to education, health, and scientific research. Mr Simons also founded Math for America, a non-profit organisation with the mission to significantly improve maths education in public schools.

The Archimedes, named the 24th largest yacht in America in 2011, is hard to miss despite being docked in the shadows of Wellington Indoor Sports stadium on the waterfront. Mr Simons is known to shun the limelight and rarely gives interviews, and neither Wellington harbourmaster Mike Price nor a spokesman for CentrePort Wellington knew anything about the billionaire boat owner.

But Mr Price said superyacht owners were ”usually quite secretive and don’t like telling us anything”.

>Source: Dompost, Wellington. Photo: Kevin Stent.


Auckland’s second largest ferry company, SeaLink, is promoting the possibility of services to Onehunga via areas like Weymouth, Clark’s Beach and Laingholm. It also supports an extension of services in the Waitemata Harbour to areas like Orakei, St Heliers and the North Shore in its submission to Auckland Transport’s draft Regional Transport Plan.

Managing director Todd Bolton said it’s time to have a serious discussion about the future of ferry services in Auckland.

“We’ve had a lot of head nodding and verbal agreement that hasn’t resulted in any further assessment of anything we are proposing,” he said.

The company currently provides services to Waiheke from Half Moon Bay and Great Barrier Island from the city, but is considering moving further into the commuter market. The latest study that looked at providing ferry services in the Manukau Harbour was in 2005 by the former Auckland Regional Transport Authority. It suggested there would be limited demand for a service in the harbour and a lack of deep water at low tide was a problem.

However Mr Bolton is surprised more work hasn’t been done on the option.

“These places have a sizeable population base and commuter base,” he said.

He said the railway station at Onehunga could link as a feeder service for city commuters. There is an opportunity to establish something viable now, while bigger development could take time, he said.

Ferry development has begun in other parts of the city like Hobsonville and Beachhaven.but Mr Bolton said Hobsonville in particular is a developing area, rather than one where ferry services are needed immediately.

“If you put something in at Laingholm or Clark’s Beach, I’m confident you’d get more patronage than at Hobsonville.” Mr Bolton admits there is a challenge around building infrastructure like ferry terminals, but says that is also the case with other public transport options.

Another idea Mr Bolton is promoting is the use of ferries for tourism purposes when they aren’t needed for peak hour travel.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said a number of submissions noted the draft public transport plan doesn’t adequately address the development of future ferry services.

However an Auckland Transport report on the draft plan doesn’t spell out a clear role for ferries as an integral part of the new public transport network. That’s in part because some major services are provided on a commercial basis, without a contract with Auckland Transport, the report states.

Consultation on the revamped public transport network, which includes a major shakeup of bus routes and timetables, is expected to start in June.

Source – Fairfax NZ News

8565952  8565956

Left: Yard 37, a planned marine hub may be downsized due to a lack of sales. It receives its main source of income from renting space to Yachting Developments which builds super yachts like the one pictured under construction.

Right: An artist’s depiction of the planned Yard 37


An upturn in the boat building industry may have come too late for a $67 million industrial marine project due to be built in Hobsonville.

Twenty hectares were bought by the Auckland council to provide a space for Yard 37, a large scale boat building and servicing hub in West Auckland. Up to 2000 jobs are expected to come to the area if it goes ahead as planned.

A council team heading the development needed to get three property agreements by March 31 for the project to proceed but only managed to secure just one sale. The missed target has meant the whole project has been reviewed by Auckland Council Properties Limited (ACPL) to establish whether it should continue. Results will be discussed by the council finance and strategy committee on May 1 before a decision is made.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse said a range of alternatives including development of the site as a mix of residential and business options could be considered.

“The industry wanted this so we gave them a year to put their money where their mouths are. Unfortunately it didn’t happen and now we have to minimise the risk for ratepayers. The whole process has taken about 10 years and if we could have gotten it done quicker we might have been able to catch the boat building industry when it was strong.”

New Zealand Marine Industry Association executive director Peter Busfield said more time is needed to get the original plan off the ground.

“Before the financial crisis we had about 50 companies that were interested in that land but their deposits were refunded. It took a long time to get the deal sorted after the airbase closed. The industry has recovered well now so those sales can be met,” he said.

Mr Busfield says the location is perfect for building and maintaining large ships due to the deep water that surrounds Hobsonville Point.

The project’s February financial statement says it had revenue of $213,000 since July 1 and expenditure of $1.05m leaving a deficit of $837,000. The revenue came from rent charged to Yachting Developments.

The project’s budget expected the Yard 37 development to have generated a revenue of $1.8m and to have spent $8m on developments.

The project was labelled very high risk in February due to its specialised nature and the limited pool of potential investors. The possibility of not meeting the sales target was also labelled high risk due to the economic state of the marine industry. The alternatives due to be discussed have potential for a higher financial return.

The 2011 business case says the land purchases, planning and marketing cost council $27m and it would have to spend another $40m. The expected revenue was $61m leaving a $6.6m cost to the ratepayer.

Upper Harbour Local Board chairwoman Margaret Miles said it was always an optimistic proposal.

“It’s a shame that it hasn’t come to fruition,” she said. “The marine industry is one that has been hit harder than most in recent years.”

Source: Fairfax NZ News


South Island tourism company Southern Discoveries is continuing to invest in new business opportunities after signing on the dotted line for a multi-million-dollar new high-speed catamaran. The purpose-built 26m high-speed catamaran, to be known as the Spirit of Queenstown, will launch for the start of the 2013/14 summer season.

She will carry up to 150 passengers from Queenstown across Lake Wakatipu to the normally inaccessible Mt Nicholas Station for a tourism service. Southern Discoveries will be the only company offering excursions to Mt Nicholas Station, which will undergo some development in order to host the trip.

Designed by Brett Crowther of Incat Crowther, a boat designer with several examples of their designs already operating in New Zealand, construction will be by Aluminium Marine Pty Ltd of Brisbane. The finished catamaran will be sailed to New Zealand and then transported from Bluff to Kingston where she will be launched on Lake Wakatipu.

Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said the decision to invest in the single-level catamaran was a significant one that reflected the forward thinking vision of the Queenstown-based Skeggs Group, owners of the company.

Over the past four years the company has re-branded from Milford Sound Red Boats to Southern Discoveries, acquired Te Anau-based coach and tour operation Go Milford, invested in a 50% shareholding in KJet (formerly Kawarau Jet) and re-opened the Milford Discovery Centre and Milford Deep Underwater Observatory. In addition, the company launched a new kayak operation in Milford Sound, opened new visitor information centres in Queenstown, and launched a scenic sightseeing cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the Queenstown Princess.

As well as running daily operations with a range of product packages which are still being finalised, the new Spirit of Queenstown catamaran will also be available for private charter and conference and incentive work.


Auckland Mayor Len Brown may have missed the boat but that could not stop the opening of two new ferry terminals.

Lucky for Mr Brown, the 360 Discovery vessel, carrying Prime Minister John Key (both shown at right), Auckland Council members and other dignitaries, turned back to the new Beach Haven Ferry Terminal when the mayor was marooned.

After a 10 minute delay, Mr Brown and other VIPs were all onboard and bound for the new Hobsonville Point Ferry Terminal opening ceremony.

Around 1000 people turned up at Hobsonville Pt where local iwi welcomed the special guests to the $3.2 million terminal.

Beach Haven’s terminal cost $1.2m and was the first project completed using Auckland Transport’s discretionary transport funding budget.

Kaipatiki Local Board lobbied Auckland Transport last year for the project as Beach Haven had been without a ferry service since the 1970s. The sites are the first new Auckland public transport terminals to be opened in 50 years.

In his speech, Mr Key paid tribute to the three men who died in last year’s tornado in Hobsonville, which tore through the community and left many homeless.

He said the Government is spending $1 billion a year on Auckland and he congratulated the council on completing the terminals at a low cost.

The prime minister cleared the podium for “the singing mayor” Len Brown who said Auckland has been renowned as a city which has made “bad decisions” and completed projects “only half-baked”. Mr Brown cited the Auckland Harbour Bridge as one of these decisions as only 10 years later clip-on lanes had to be added to cope with increasing traffic and light rail was not included.

“We lost, in affect, our ferries,” he said of the bridge.

Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh said: “This terminal will give our community direct access to the public transport hub at Britomart and, before too long, the city rail link.”

From tomorrow there will be two morning and three afternoon sailings each weekday. The service will take 30 minutes from Hobsonville Point to downtown Auckland and 40 minutes from Beach Haven.

The new terminals marked the beginning of an integrated transport system, Brown said, which Auckland Council has laid out in the ”Auckland Plan”

Go to :-(http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/theaucklandplan/Pages/theaucklandplan.aspx) – its vision for the city over the next 30 years.

Source: Fairfax News NZ


The death of a Porirua man in the Marlborough Sounds in August last year was a reminder about the dangers of drinking on boats, a coroner says.

Patrick Gerald Rosson drowned on August 27 after he fell from a seven-metre boat in Queen Charlotte Sound, coroner Carla na Nagara said in her finding on Mr Rosson’s death, made public last week.

Mr Rosson, 49, was on board his friend Gordon Hanna’s boat. The pair were returning to Mr Hanna’s home at Dryden Bay after visiting friends in Queen Charlotte Sound. They had stopped at Furneaux Lodge where they had several rounds of beer, then visited a friend where they had a couple more beers. Staff at Furneaux Lodge and Mr Hanna’s friend had described Mr Rosson as moderately drunk. Mr Hanna said he was swaying a little as he walked.

There were lifejackets on the boat but neither man had been wearing one as the sea was calm.

Toxicology results indicated Mr Rosson had a blood alcohol level of 236 milligrams, almost three times the legal adult drink-drive limit of 80mg. The level of alcohol in his system may have impaired his attempts to get back on the boat after he fell off, Ms na Nagara said. She also noted Mr Rosson was not a strong swimmer. His level of intoxication was the primary factor in his death, as well as the lack of a life jacket, she said.

“Had Mr Rosson been wearing a life jacket it is highly likely his death would have been avoided,” she said. “Equally, however, it is highly likely that had he not been intoxicated, he would not have ended up in the water.”

Mr Rosson had slept in the cabin on the return trip and went to urinate over the side as the boat entered Dryden Bay. Mr Hanna warned him to be careful and Mr Rosson said “he’d be right”. Mr Hanna felt the boat shift, which was odd on a calm night. He turned the boat around when he realised Mr Rosson was not on board and saw him in the water with his hand up.

Mr Hanna threw a rope but it fell short so he maneuvered the boat again to come alongside Mr Rosson, who was lying face-down in the water. He grabbed his friend but could not lift him on the boat so secured him with a rope while he radioed for help.

An autopsy confirmed the cause of death as drowning


A superyacht under construction and badly damaged in a fire at an Auckland shipyard three months ago is up for sale at a substantial discount.

The August blaze at McMullen and Wing boat-builders destroyed parts of the 50m luxury Star Fish’s interior but left the aft portions virtually untouched, said owner Richard Beattie, a Hong Kong-based multi-millionaire and chairman of charter company Aquos Yachts. The completed steel hull was essentially undamaged.

Mr Beattie said the decision to sell the yacht, which would have been worth around $60 million finished, was “painful and heart-wrenching” but was driven by financial reasons. In its current state it was valued at around $17 million but was available for sale at a “fraction of that value”.

“Everyone involved with the project knows how much energy, how much creativity went into her vision, design and creation,” he said.

McMullen and Wing estimated it could be completed within 18 months and would need a new superstructure.

Mr Beattie also owns the Big Fish, a luxury charter yacht which was built by McMullen and Wing and is now undergoing a refit at the shipyard.

McMullen and Wing believe the fire was a catastrophic event for everyone involved but the yacht now could be seen as a well-developed blank canvas. Commercial manager Michael Eaglen said it had been hard times for the company and around 60 jobs had been lost… “but we are still in business and we’re fortunate that we didn’t suffer a lot of physical damage to our infrastructure as a result of the fire.” 


A boat building company near Auckland has been ordered to pay $45,000 in fines and reparations for safety failings which led to a worker being seriously injured in a fall.

Brin Wilson Boats Limited – based in Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland – was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay $15,000 in compensation to the injured male worker in North Shore District Court this week. The court heard that in February the man fell three metres as he tried to reattach handrails to a boat while it was on land for maintenance. He suffered injuries to his head, face and broke his left wrist.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) northern health and safety manager John Howard says the firm failed to recognise the hazards of working at heights.

“No matter what height people are working at, there is risk involved and MBIE expects everyone with staff or contractors to actively manage this significant hazard,” he said.


By Jamie Gray

The rising value of the New Zealand dollar is putting at risk a fledgling recovery in the local boat building industry, according to Peter Busfield, executive director of the Marine Industry Association.

The New Zealand dollar was trading at around US75c a year ago, then went to US85c in March before dropping back go US75c in June. It has since been on its way back up, trading today at US82.40c.

Mr Busfield said the currency’s recent gains had added 6 per cent to the price of exported New Zealand boats at a time when the US market was exhibiting a post-global-financial-crisis recovery.

US boat sales have risen by 10 per cent in the last three months compared with the same period last year, he said. “In the last three months, it (the currency) is threatening exports to United States and is threatening to stifle the recovery,” Mr Busfield said at the ‘Auckland on Water’ Boat Show.

His comments coincide with those of the opposition political parties, several exporters and some economists who have complained about Reserve Bank’s interest rate policy and its impact on the exchange rate.

Sales in the international boat markets had dropped by about 30 per cent since the 2008 global financial crisis and turnover in the New Zealand market had fallen by about the same percentage, he said. The local boat building industry was steady and had stopped declining, post the crisis.

“It has stopped dropping, so hopefully we are looking at this show as being something of a turning point,” he said.

The industry has a turnover of about $1.7 billion a year, with exports accounting for about $650m of that. He said businesses’ ability to develop new products was helping to keep the marine industry ticking over.

Mr Busfield, who has been in the marine business since the share market crash of 1987, has seen a few market downturns since then. Each time, the industry appeared to be a leading economic indicator for what later unfolds by going quiet about six months before the rest of the economy, he said.

The boat building and marine supplies industry is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing sector, accounting for 10 per cent of the country’s manufactured goods.

Source – APNZ


By Melissa Hills


A superyacht that costs $274,000 a week to hire is being renovated in Auckland. The Ethereal, owned by American couple Bill and Shannon Joy, is understood to have cost more than $60 million to build. Mr Joy made his money as co-founder of IT firm Sun Microsystems.

The yacht, designed by New Zealander Ron Holland, was built to be the most eco-friendly yacht afloat. It is wind-powered and when there is no wind the propellers are driven by a hybrid of diesel and electric motors that move the boat, power household items and recharge the batteries at the same time.

It is at the Orams marina in Westhaven for a renovation.

In 2011, Mr and Mrs Joy received the Perseus Award for their contribution to marine wildlife conservation. Mrs Joy recently joined the board of WildAid, a San Francisco-based charity that works to stop the trade in endangered animal parts. She is also director of the Joy Family Foundation, whose focus is the protection of marine ecosystems.

 Fact file: Ethereal
* Custom-built for its eco-minded owners Bill and Shannon Joy in 2009.
* 58m long, can carry up to 10 guests and 12 crew.
* Has two luxurious seating areas, including hammocks on the top deck, with three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a music room.
* Can be hired for $274,000 a week.

Photo by Steven McNicholl


Several investigations are underway after a ferry got into trouble in the Rangitoto Channel last night (24/09).

The 360 Discovery vessel was sailing from Auckland to Gulf Harbour when it made a mayday call just after six following suspected mechanical failure.

Spokeswoman Lucy Farrington said the 57 passengers on board were moved to muster spots in case they needed to be evacuated. She said the issue was contained and the vessel proceeded to Gulf Harbour on one engine, escorted by the Navy ship HMNZS Manawanui.

“There will be our own full internal investigation, and Maritime New Zealand have also been notified.”

She said the vessel will be out of action for some time.

“It depends on the nature of the mechanical issue as well, but yes it will be until the investigation’s been carried out and it’s deemed safe to operate again.”


star fish

FINAL PRODUCT: A design image of the yacht Star Fish which was damaged in the fire.

A fire which destroyed a $60 million super yacht at an Auckland boat builder’s yard will result in job losses, the company has confirmed.

Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire, which broke out at McMullen and Wing yacht and boatbuilding in Mt Wellington at about 1am on August 12, but arson had been ruled out.

The vessel at the centre of the fire, Star Fish, was a 50-metre super yacht being built for Hong Kong-based Aquos Yachts, which had only half a year to go until completion. A hundred people had been working on the project for the last two-and-a-half years, and commercial manager Michael Eaglen said the fire had been devastating for all involved.

Though the extent of the damage was still being assessed, he said there would inevitably be redundancies.

He would not discuss the number who would lose their job because it was “early days” in the company’s discussions with staff.

“The guys are pretty resilient. They’re putting on a brave face but it’s absolutely heartbreaking,” Mr Eaglen said.

Much of the hull and lower parts of the yacht were made of steel and aluminium, and still intact. However, he said it was a long process to find out how much of the materials were actually salvageable. The same was the case for the overall cost of the blaze.

“We’re adding that up and it’s a big number,” Mr Eaglen said.

McMullen and Wing has a long history of building luxury and high-performance yachts and was the brawn behind New Zealand’s America’s Cup winning yacht Black Magic.

Source: Fairfax News.

$60,000 BILL TO RECOVER $2000 DEBT

A marine engineering company has been hit with a massive legal bill after trying to freeze an Australian multi-millionaire’s luxury yacht over a third-party debt worth barely $2,000.

In 2009, Auckland-based General Marine Services (GMS) supplied fittings to Salthouse Marine for a $3.5m yacht called the Luana. The 70-foot luxury launch was constructed for Yachts West, a company owned by wealthy Perth businessman Chris Norman.

Salthouse Marine went into liquidation in early 2010 causing another of its customers, NBR Rich Lister Jim Delegat, and a liquidator of a Salthouse subsidiary to place the Luana “under arrest”. The aim was to recover money that had been allegedly transferred from the subsidiary building Delegat’s yacht to that constructing Mr Norman’s vessel.

Only two hours before the matter was to be settled and the Luana returned to Yachts West, GMS lodged a caveat preventing the release. It was owed just $2,189.

The caveat was eventually set aside by Justice Peter Woodhouse, who said it was an abuse of process and a contrived claim without merit. Among his reasons for rejecting GMS’ action was the fact that “the amount claimed would be dwarfed by legal costs”.

He ordered GMS to pay Yachts West indemnity costs of $61,737 on the grounds that it had acted “vexatiously, frivolously, improperly or unnecessarily”. GMS took the matter to the Court of Appeal, which has now dismissed its argument and ordered it to pay the full sum.

Upholding the initial judgment, Justice Douglas White said the lodging of the caveat was disproportionate to the amount of money at stake. He said there were “more appropriate avenues” available to GMS, including the Disputes Tribunal, which has jurisdiction for claims up to $15,000.

Another was a separate High Court proceeding which GMS, along with other unsecured creditors, was taking against the directors of the Salthouse Marine subsidiary that built the Luana. Further litigation between Delegat, Norman and a liquidator concluded at the High Court last month, with a judgment expected shortly.

(Source: Fairfax News).


Firefighters are dampening down hotspots at an Auckland boat builder’s yard today where a fire destroyed a super yacht, thought to be worth around $60 million.

The fire at McMullen and Wing yacht and boatbuilding in Mt Wellington broke out at about 1am last Sunday morning (5/08).

McMullen and Wing has a long history of building luxury and high performance yachts and was the brawn behind New Zealand’s America’s Cup winning yacht Black Magic. It is understood the vessel at the centre of the blaze was a 55m super yacht that had about one year to go until completion.

About 90 firefighters tackled the blaze with some making their way onto the vessel while it was still burning.

Auckland central area commander Kerry Gregory said it was not clear what started the fire but investigators would hopefully work out the cause.

McMullen and Wing employees gathered yesterday in a cordoned-off area outside their workplace before being briefed on the situation by management. One employee who worked on the yacht said he did not want to speculate on the fate of the ship but that the situation didn’t look good.

Another person in attendance, who claimed to have close links with McMullen and Wing, described the blaze as the “worst nightmare” for a company with such a fine track record in its field.

In 1995 Black Magic, led by Sir Peter Blake and Russell Coutts, beat the American defender Young America in a 5-0 victory off San Diego, California


Jet boat drivers will need to hold a new driving licence, as part of an overhaul of adventure tourism safety.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said commercial jet boat drivers operating on rivers will need to have the licence by August 2, under a new maritime rule. Operators will also be required to establish regular driver competency checks.

“While the inherent risks of jet boating provide the ‘thrill’ factor that attracts passengers from all over the world, the introduction of the jet boat driver licence and competency checks gives passengers and the public added assurance that these risks are being managed appropriately,” Mr Bridges said.

There were 42 operators carrying more than 370,000 passengers each year – and operators overwhelmingly supported the new licence, he said.

Transitional licences will be issued to existing drivers with a safe driving record, who meet the definition of “fit and proper persons” under the Maritime Transport Act. New drivers will have to sit a practical test, assessed by a qualified person approved by Maritime NZ.

The new rule also makes driver log books mandatory, and includes boat design and construction changes, such as emergency exits and footrests, that provide greater passenger protection.

There have been only two fatalities in the commercial jet boating sector since 1999, and the sector was a model of good risk-management in the adventure tourism industry, Mr Bridges said.

The Department of Labour last year introduced new regulations for the adventure tourism industry, requiring sectors like river rafting, abseiling and skydiving to notify the department of their activity. Over the next three years operators must undergo a safety audit and be registered – unless the department asks them to do it earlier.

The changes were triggered by the April 2008 death of English tourist Emily Jordan, who drowned in the Kawarau River after becoming trapped by a rock during a Mad Dog River Boarding trip.


Sealegs Corp, which makes amphibious boats, halved its annual loss after boosting sales by more than a third and embarking on a restructuring programme that slashed its marketing bill.sealegs amphibious boats

The Auckland-based company made a loss of $1.9 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $3.6 million a year earlier. Sealegs boosted revenue 38 per cent to $13.8 million, while stripping $1.4 million from its annual marketing spend to $1.1 million.

Sealegs is working with a South Korean shipbuilding company to develop bigger vessels capable of carrying a heavier load, and has attracted “considerable interest” from boat builders in many global markets, it said.

“Our efforts to focus on growth and efficiency are starting to pay off,” chief executive David Glen said. “We are confident that our patented technology has a real competitive advantage and we are confident that this new technology will enable it to enter new markets.”

Last September the company embarked on a restructuring programme to carve out annual costs of $800,000 from a smaller workforce. The board didn’t declare a dividend. Its shares rose 10 per cent, or 1c, to 11c, valuing the company at $13.7 million.

The company’s operations and financing were cash-flow positive in the year, though it had a net outflow from investment activities, meaning there was a net outflow of $323,000. As at March 31, Sealegs had $4.2 million in cash or equivalents. ( Photo- APN).


Tourism Operator Real Journeys has a new chief executive officer, Richard Lauder.

Mr Lauder has 20 years experience as a chief executive, most recently with Martin Aircraft Company in Christchurch, which developed the Martin Jetpack. He remains a director of Martin Aircraft Company and is also a director of Corporate Fitness NZ and SICON ltd. He was previously the first CEO of City Care Ltd, having transformed the Christchurch council works operation into a competitive contracting business. Mr Lauder holds a MBA from the Unviersity of Otago, with tertiary qualifications in ethics and engineering from Canterbury University.


After 17 years in banking and finance, and 18 years in the non profit sector,  the Coastguard’s new chief executive officer Patrick Holmes said the position attracted him because of the organisation’s well established brand and large dedicated volunteer workforce.PATRICK HOLMES

“The immediacy and tangible nature of Coastguard and the nature of what the organisation contributes to society is what I am most looking forward to getting involved with,” he said.  “As with any non-governmental organisation, securing reliable and diverse funding sources can be challenging as any organisation that relies on just one source can become vulnerable.”

Mr Holmes plans to broaden the Coastguard’s income base and developing strategies around other long-term sustainable funding sources for use alongside the current contributions of the government and the generosity of New Zealanders.

He has since held roles within charities that directly deliver services to the community including organisations that support causes such as children’s cancer, leukaemia, blindness, deafness and cruelty to children. Most of his experience has been in the UK with roles ranging from Director of Fundraising to Marketing Director and Deputy Chief Executive.

Mr Holmes came to New Zealand six years ago to take up the position of Divisional Manager for the New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, before becoming CEO at Amnesty International Aotearoa four years ago.

“I had been involved with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) in the UK so I’m very aware of what Coastguard does and the importance of their services. For eight years in the UK I lived quite close to the sea and my son and I once had a near-death experience. The small vessel we were in almost sank which was extremely scary.”

Mr Holmes replaces former CEO Bruce Reid  who has stepped down after four years in the role.


Buried in the Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan is a scheme to get ratepayers to contribute $16.8 million for a super yacht facility. It would go on a currently vacant block of land in Wynyard Quarter, where millions in private money is also earmarked to go.

The lift-out facility would enable the local marine industry to get a bigger slice of the world’s super yacht business.

Waterfront Auckland, a council controlled organisation, wants it built as a strategic investment to boost the city’s marine industry. Without a public contribution, it won’t generate enough profit to be built.

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer argues there’s no push from the super yacht industry for it, and it’s not a priority.The long term plan was adopted by the council in March, following consultation last year.

 $173m limo-yacht makes a splash

The latest in luxury super yachts to hit the market is perfect for the undecided – or the person who just wants it all.

The super-sleek Sovereign, designed by Swedish company Gray Design, combines the best of land and sea transport. It comes with a limousine to match – and there are on-board cranes to lift it off and pop it on dry land.

And the vessel is decked out to look like a super-sized version of the limo it carries.

Spread amongst the three decks are 10 guest suites, a golfing green, a nightclub, a private cinema and a helicopter pad.

Armani furniture completes the super-luxurious look and to top it off, the Sovereign is kind to the environment.

A massive wind turbine and solar panels are used to generate enough power to run the yacht.

The Sovereign is still in the engineering stage but will enter production soon, boss Eduard Gray says.


While most people are looking forward to a relaxing summer holiday in the Bay of Islands it is the busy time for our dolphins.

“Lots of people enjoy seeing the dolphins and that’s really cool,” says the Department of Conservation’s Bay of Islands marine mammals ranger, Karen Mitchell, “but they are wild animals and really do need their time out from people, especially during the holidays.”

Karen asked that boaties in the Bay respect a few simple courtesies.

“We really like to give all dolphins and whales a break, so we ask people to leave them alone between 11.30am and 1pm. This means they can do what they need to do without having to worry about any boats around them,” she said. “Boats approaching dolphins should come in slowly – at ‘no wake’ speed – from behind. Please do not drive through a pod or cut them off.

“Remember no more than three boats at once within 300m of dolphins. Please wait for your turn and keep it short and sweet – around 10 minutes – so that everyone has an opportunity to see the dolphins. Please don’t swim with calves (less than a metre in length) or juveniles (less than two metres); they’re just too little to know how to cope with us.”

“We are all looking to eat, sleep and relax over the holidays and it’s important that the dolphins get enough rest from boat interaction as they may get tired which can affect their health and reproduction”, said Ms Mitchell.


southland tour boat

At 55 tonnes, 24 metres long and 7.5 metres wide, the new Real Journeys multimillion-dollar catamaran is going to be a headache to move. General manager of Engineering Brian Humprey said the road trip to get the MV Titiroa from the sea trials off the Wanganui coast to Doubtful Sound would have to happen by its start date in January.

”It’s something of a logistical nightmare,” he said of the vessel, which will carry up to 138 passengers on Lake Manapouri.

The lake is also undergoing an upgrade on the wharves on both ends to cater for the vessel.

”It’s a bit like carting a whale out of water  the forces are against you. I think its probably the largest thing to move on these roads since the power station days,” he said.

A travel date for the boat, which has double-glazed windows and a streamlined hull for more energy-efficient travel, has yet to be set.

Once the vessel has travelled by sea to Bluff it will be lifted out of the water and have its wheelhouse roof and propellers removed for road transportation. It is due to start operations in January.


By Louise Deehan-Owen

As the winter months have thrown their fair share of challenges at some, a company from the deep south has taken advantage of the season to improve the skills of its vessel’s masters.

Real Journey’s masters were able to gain their radar certificate and update their skills without leaving the region, thanks to new portable simulation technology offered by the New Zealand Maritime School. The portable technology has been designed to meet training needs in remote regions and to suit customed company requirements. This simulation technology comes in a laptop, yet the software has the power to simulate multiple vessels in multiple world locationms, including many New Zealand ports.

It allows the lecturer to create navigatinal challenges and collision avoidnace situations encountered on vessels in real time. The students have full control of the vessel and equipment and learn from their actions.Simulations allows each student to build an experience base they would otherwise not be able to acquire. The technology complies with STCW standards for simulation requirements and has a high specification.

The first course took place in Doubtful Sounds on the Fiordland Navigator. With sleet on the Wilmot Pass, and constant drizzle, there was surely no other classroom like it. Class times were modified to suit the captive audience, the main saloon was turned into a computer suite and the for’ard saloon became a class discussion place.

The second course was held at the Meridian Lodge across Lake Manapouri at West Arm.

The masters on both course completed exercises on different models of radar involving positionining and collsiuon avoidance. Their skills were continually challenged with changing weather and sea states. There was an emphasis on trasferring skills practiced to the candidates’ working situations, and that is definitely easier to connect with in these locations.

The pressure the candidates felt when attending the school was relentless and all made use of the additional time they had to access lecturer and technology.


Passengers say there was pandemonium when a big wave shattered windows and swamped the East by West Ferry in Wellington Harbour, sparking a rescue operation.sinking ferry

Forty-four people, including two crew, were on the 8.05am Dominion Post ferry from Days Bay to Seatoun this week when it was struck by what is believed to be a rogue wave as it rounded Scorching Bay.

28 Scots College pupils were on board, togethe rwith another student from St Andrew’s College in Christcvhurch, who had been staying with his grandfather in Eastbourne since last week’s earthquake.

Sergeant Scott Miller said it was believed up to 4000 litres of water swamped the ferry when it went nose first into a trough and was swamped by a wave. A second wave followed, blowing out the ferry’s doors. One passenger was washed overboard, but was quickly picked up by the police launch, he said.

That man, and the captain, were taken to hospital, where they were treated for hypothermia. The captain also had stitches for a cut to the head. Both were discharged yesterday afternoon.

Afterwards, the wet but mostly cheerful passengers described the panic on board when the wave hit.

“It was a sinking moment of absolute panic when water came in. It felt like [we were] potentially going to go straight to the bottom … It was horrendous,” David Woodnorth said.

Scots College pupil Carlos Speirs, 13, said it was just pandemonium. He was among pupils on the boat’s top level. “I could see the big wave coming then I heard a shattering and a bang. Me and my classmates ran to the back because the ship was at about a 60 degree angle going headfirst into the water.”

Commuter Robin Newton praised the handling of the situation by emergency staff. “It was very speedy. People were starting to be off-loaded into the zodiacs [boats] within 20 to 25 minutes.”

Among the first on the scene were members of the Worser Bay Surf Life Saving Club, who helped shuttle people to shore, where they were taken to the club before being collected by family.

Many passengers praised the teenagers on board, saying the older pupils took charge and looked after the younger boys.

Scots College headmaster Graeme Yule had already received praise for the pupils, and said he was proud of the way they had behaved. The pupils were taken back to the school and given a hot drink and biscuits while they waited for their parents to arrive.

Maritime New Zealand is investigating.

East by West Ferries managing director Jeremy Ward said the company would also investigate, but ferries had sailed in worse weather, and it appeared to have been a freak wave. Water was pumped off the ferry and it was moored at Scorching Bay until the weather calmed enough for it to return to its berth. The ferry service will operate on a limited timetable until the boat is repaired.

Stormy weather whipped through Wellington this week, with gales topping 50 knots (92kmh) in some places. MetService chief forecaster Peter Kreft said winds were 25 to 30 knots for most of the morning, with regular gusts above 40 knots.

East by West ferries has posted the following report on their company website:  “Today the East By West Ferry, 0805 sailing with 42 passengers, mainly going to Scots College encountered a large wave. This wave took out the front windows. The next wave also went through the front windows.

“As water entered the ferry the skipper Lance Hermans and crew Anand Gaskin mustered passengers in the main cabin.Police and rescue services were on the scene very shortly after a mayday call was made. All passengers were successfully rescued to Seatoun.

“The ferry which appears not to have had any structural damage to the hulls. Arrangements are being made for the vessel to be towed back to its main berth.

“We are exceptionally relieved that all passengers are safe and very proud of how our crew and passengers have handled this serious situation,” said Jeremy Ward, Manager of East by West Ferries..


A piece of New Zealand naval history is heading for dry land for a full makeover, to turn it into a luxury cruise launch.

The 34-metre Fairmile motor launch, shown below right moored at Greenhithe in Auckland, was one of 12 built from heart kauri for the navy during World War 2. It was commissioned by the navy in 1943 and served in the Solomon Islands on anti-submarine patrols for American convoys. Known during the war by its number ML411, it was later named Kahu. FAIRMILE

One of its co-owners, who did not want to be named, said it was a cherished part of New Zealand naval history and one of the most widely known and talked about boats in Auckland. He said the launch was likely to go onto a site near Silverdale north of Auckland for the refit and restoration. It was the only Fairmile kept by the navy after the war but decommissioned and sold in 1965 and may now be the only Fairmile still afloat in New Zealand. For the last nine years it had been moored by the Greenhithe Bridge in the upper Waitemata Harbour.

The owner said while it looked visually unappealing and to be in a sad condition, several years ago it had work done at the Devonport Naval base on its kauri hull and interior and was very sound. New Detroit engines and gearboxes would be installed to replace the Hall-Scott Defender petrol engines. The makeover involved renovating below decks to give it about 12 cabins.

The owner said a final decision had yet to be made on whether it would be done to survey standard so it could be used for charter work, or if it would be restored for private use.

The owners paid $150,000 for the launch several years ago and said the refitting could cost another $400,000.

Most of the upper deck cabin work would be removed, but the owner said the intention was not to restore it to its wartime configuration but rather a more useful pleasure boat with a spacious saloon, a large foredeck, a spa pool and multiple viewing areas.

“The wheelhouse will remain as it is and we will redo the area behind that and below decks in a more sympathetic style.”

Restored, it would have a top speed of more than 20 knots. The original Fairmiles were fitted with two 600 horsepower petrol engines. There was room for an additional two engines but they were fitted only to two or three Royal Air Force launches in England. All the launches had heavy steel armour plating around the fuel tanks to protect the 9000 litres of petrol they carried.

During the war about 650 Fairmile launches were built, mostly in England, and had a variety of roles. Some were fitted out as motor torpedo boats, some were used as rescue boats in the English Channel for downed airmen, while others served as submarine chasers and for coastal protection.


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