Built in Australia in 1987, Kokomo II returned to its birthplace for refit work having cruised Australia, Fiji and the South Pacific extensively under her current ownership. The yacht checked into the Queensland shipyard for a full repaint, new teak decks and engine overhaul, as well as a new transom and lazarette that saw the yacht's length extended from 34 to 37 metres.
“Adding the transom adds a lot of practicality, function and use without changing the overall lines of the boat,” said Captain Luke Caldwell who has been at Kokomo II’s helm for 11 years. Rivergate’s general manager approached Caldwell during a routine yard period with the idea of a transom extension in 2019, noting the owner's lifestyle and enjoyment of the water.
“With this project originally planned for five to six months, there were other things like generators, steering pumps, electrical panel system including a new switchboard, PLC system and radar that needed updating, as well as an exterior paint job," explained Caldwell.
The team took the opportunity to carry out further upgrades expanding the scope of work including the engine room which was rewired and replumbed.
The Queensland-based yard has said the refit efforts were a sort of homecoming for the vessel, with over 20 different trades working together to “seamlessly” modernise the yacht while maintaining its charm and beauty. Wright Marine carried out teak deck works, Aus Ships fabricated the transom and doors as well as other features and Millennium Marine Australia undertook the painting work. MPS headed engineering while M2i Electrical Services were responsible for wiring amendments.
Jake Whittle, Production Foreman at Aus Ships, said his team was proud to have been engaged to design and build the extension on the stern of such a notable vessel. “It’s been a fantastic experience for me and our team to be working on a vessel built in the 80s by some of our employee’s relatives or people they’ve known.”
Project manager Marty Johnson has been working at Rivergate for eight years and in the industry for 25 years and said Kokomo II is unique and “retains an elegance of a former era.” The historical yacht was given a warm send-off in mid-January and wasted no time in setting sail for the Sydney Harbour not long after relaunching.
Captain Luke Caldwell acted as the owner’s representative during the refit period.