Although New Zealand is a small and relatively isolated country, she punches well above her weight in the superyacht industry. Her yards have an enviable reputation for building fine superyachts, both power and sail, that garner prestigious awards and feature prominently in regattas worldwide. We asked Ivor Wilkins, eminent writer and commentator on the New Zealand yachting scene for his comments on this phenomenon:
Ivor says that the foundation of New Zealands superyacht success was built on a number of planets aligning simultaneously in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As an island nation in an isolated corner of the south west Pacific, New Zealand had a strong connection with the sea, both from a commercial and recreational standpoint.
In the mid-1980s, the first New Zealand superyacht yard was established by Neville Crichton, an extremely competitive, hard-driving sailor, who had cut his teeth in the cauldron of IOR racing.
Having made his fortune in the motor industry, he assembled a small team, leased space at an existing boatyard and built a 28m sloop, Chanel. That project led to the establishment of Alloy Yachts. Although Crichton relinquished his ownership of the yard quite early on, he became a frequent client, building a succession of six Dubois-design sloops and a Dubois motor yacht.
Yards like Yachting Developments, which specialises in composite construction, Fitzroy Yachts, McMullen & Wing and others created their own portfolios, and a slew of support industries sailmakers, spar makers, electronics companies, design studios flourished.
For a nation of just over 4 million people, this rise to prominence in a very exacting world market has much to do with culture. New Zealands relative isolation has led to a practical, can-do approach which tackles problems head on and tends to embrace innovation.
Also, a strong connection with the sea has seen the marine industry populated by people who understand boats. Boatbuilding is not just a job. It is a passion.
Here we present six yachts built by New Zealands premier yards and currently for sale.
Red Dragon | 2008 | 51.7m | 28 million
Red Dragon is a 51.7m sloop built by Alloy Yachts in 2008 to a design by Dubois with an ultra-luxury and contemporary interior by Wilmotte & Associates. This epic yacht is as sturdy as it is beautiful, with the ability for fast passages and long periods of autonomy. Red Dragon was a finalist in the 2008 Boat International World Superyacht Awards.
Listed for sale at 28 million, her broker, James Mcmaster at McMaster Yachts says, Red Dragon is an outstanding yacht. She is the culmination of experience gained by the owner aboard his previous Red Dragon, the 42.9 metre Vitters-built sloop. She is in exceptional condition having just completed a substantial refit in Mallorca. This included painting her hull and topsides as well the removal of her mast and rigging. All the PBO components of her standing rigging have been replaced and she has new running rigging as well. It is important to note that, very unusually, the same captain, engineer and mate who were involved in her build have remained on board.
Big Fish | 2010 | 45m | $29 million
When McMullen & Wings 45m expedition yacht Big Fish burst onto the scene in 2010, the superyacht industry was rocked in its moorings. Here was a boat that could cruise the worlds most glamorous destinations and hold its own alongside the most desirable yachts in the marina. But more than that, Big Fish was a boat packed with innovations and cutting-edge technology equipping it to pursue a more adventurous course, to take a new breed of thrill-seeker to any destination on earth, all in total luxury.
Fast forward 24 months and this vision of luxury expedition yachting has been enthusiastically endorsed by a virtual clean sweep of the superyacht worlds major awards, and a string of successful charters stretching from the sun-kissed waters of the Caribbean and the south Pacific, to white-knuckle, once-in-a-lifetime adventures in both the Arctic and Antarctic seas.
Says her broker, Neil Cheston at Y.CO, Big Fish is quite unique in that many claim to be explorer yachts but few have anything like her storage capacity, luxury and 9,000 mile range. Less that two years old, shes already covered over 50,000 nautical miles and ventured to every corner of the globe. Able to carry stores and supplies for 12 weeks at sea, Big Fish is in fantastic shape.
Inmocean | 2008 | 41m | $13.5 million
The 41m sloop Inmocean, built by Fitzroy Yachts in 2008, is a classic style yacht. Her pretty, easy flowing sheer line with long classic ends promotes a gentle motion at sea and keeps the decks dry.
Her interior, designed by Adam Lay Studio, has the owner and guest accommodation forward in three cabins while the crew is aft in three cabins. Designed for long ocean passages and off-the-beaten-track cruising, she turns heads wherever she goes. Inmocean is striking, timeless and a joy to sail.
Toby Walker has her listed for sale at Dubois Yachts asking $13.5 million and says, She is a unique yacht, combining the very latest in superyacht systems and technology, but unlike many modern yachts she has the lines and style of a classic. Grace and comfort make Inmocean one of the friendliest yachts on which to cruise, coupled with a very high build quality from Fitzroy Yachts.
Aime Sea | 1994 | 35.11m | 5.5 million
Aime Sea (Ex Corinthian) was the fourth Dubois design built by Alloy Yachts when she was launched in 1994. She combines good sailing performance with a versatile layout and has a wonderful, light and airy maple interior by Redman Whiteley Dixon.
Aime Sea has recently benefited from an extensive refit and is in first-class condition with all her systems maintained to the highest standards. She is MCA compliant and is commercially registered in the Cayman Islands.
Her broker, Simon Goldsworthy at Camper & Nicholsons International comments: Benefiting from an undoubted pedigree, her carbon rig means Aime Sea sails superbly. Having been neglected under her previous ownership the yacht has benefited from substantial investment by the current owner since the purchase in 2008, and Aime Sea has been returned to superb mechanical and technical condition throughout.
All that remains for a new owner is to repaint her hull and superstructure in the colour of their choice to complement the rig, mechanical and systems refit already undertaken. Her more than enviable charter record over the last few years also gives potential purchasers the option of offsetting a considerable amount of the annual running costs. At the current asking price of 5.5 million she provides excellent value for money to a new owner looking for a trouble-free investment. The owner has now finished using her and is keen to receive offers.
Eclipse | 1991 | 32.6m | 5.5 million
Eclipse, launched as Esprit in 1991, was the first Dubois design to be built by Alloy Yachts and she began a long and highly successful association. All technical areas have been either upgraded or refitted. A large volume yacht, Eclipse is in turnkey condition and ready for worldwide cruising.
Nick Dean has her listed for sale at Ocean Independence and says, Eclipse is a classic Alloy that is a proven worldwide cruiser. The current owner has sailed her across the Pacific and Atlantic on many occasions and yet she is still presented in truly fantastic condition. All new rig and sail wardrobe in 2011 means she is right up to top specification and ready for further world cruising.
Neptune | 2004 | 25.6m | 2,957,000
Built by Fitzroy Yachts in 2004, Neptune is designed for extended ocean cruising and is fabricated in Alustar aluminium as a custom yacht tailor-made to the owners specific requirements.
The spacious accommodation includes a three-cabin layout aft, the owner and all guests cabins having private en suite heads. The two forward crew cabins also have separate heads. The generous main saloon provides a dining area to starboard and comfortable lounge. The deckhouse incorporates an additional dining area, chart table and inside steering position. Fully retractable side windows provide a pleasant open aspect and enhance the panoramic views afforded from the deckhouse.
Interior joinery is American walnut to complement the red leather upholstery and other quality textiles used throughout. Two Charles Eames designed loungers placed in the lower saloon complete a very luxurious fit out.
Bernard Gallay at Bernard Gallay Yacht Brokerage has her listed for sale and says, Designed by the famous German naval architects Judel Vrolijk, Neptune is a true long distance sailing yacht with luxurious accommodation and high quality equipment. The interior is very well fitted indeed with a proper deck house, leather settees and a welcoming atmosphere
She is in spotless condition and with her recent reduced asking price of 2.957 million, she is very attractive on the current brokerage market.