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2016 May June Marina World

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SUPERYACHT FACILITIES Westhaven Marina, Auckland, New Zealand Westhaven Marina has two sister marinas named Viaduct and Silo, all publicly owned by the Auckland Council. Panuku Development Auckland develops and manages NZ billion in land, buildings and marinas for the Council. With more than 2,000 slips, Westhaven and its sisters form the largest marina in the southern hemisphere. Silo, the newest, was built in 2012 entirely for superyachts. An unlikely name for a luxury superyacht marina, Silo is at the site of a wharf and cement plant, now a park. Dedicated superyacht facilities are frequently privately owned. Rybovich in Florida and YCCS Costa Smeralda come to mind. The economic, political and social reasons for that I leave to the reader, but clearly the Auckland Council intends to capitalise on superyacht opportunities. Silo opened in 2012 to immediate success and was expanded in 2014. There are side-tie berths from 50m (164ft) to 140m (459ft) with 1m (3.2ft) freeboard and a 1,000A power system. “The New Zealand marine industry approached us about the need for superyacht moorage above 50m (164ft),” said Tom Warren, general manager marinas. “The wharf at the old cement plant was identified and the cement plant relocated to allow for a marina. We built a trial with four floating superyacht berths. That filled up straightaway, and more large vessels wanted moorage than we could supply. We built additional berths and now have eleven at 90m (295ft), with the flexibility to cater to a 140m (459ft) superyacht, which we have done. We have secured funds to reconfigure one pier to 137m (449ft).” Why all the interest in taking superyachts to Auckland? “Vessels cruising the South Pacific need a place to shelter from November to March during hurricane season,” said Warren. “Many have been at sea a long time and need work, engine work or to rebuild generators. Sailing vessels need their rigs pulled. We have Southern Spars as a tenant, one of the best.” “New Zealand is boating mad,” he continued, “so the boating infrastructure and the cruising possibilities are endless. Given the tense world situation, New Zealand is a safe place to take a superyacht. We have an experienced management team with lots of boating experience, and we listen to the market. We’re pitching Auckland as the site for the 2018 ICOMIA World Marina Conference.” Hamilton Island Marina, Queensland, Australia Hamilton Island, the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. First developed in the early 1980s, the island was purchased in 2003 by Australian winemaker, yachtsman and philanthropist Bob Oatley. A series of redevelopment projects included new infrastructure, hotels, private living communities, a yacht club and a PGA championship golf course. Environmental systems were installed to sustain the pristine environment. A 251-berth marina was developed in the well-protected harbour in the early 1980s. Hamilton Island is now a fully integrated resort, the largest in Australasia. The Audi Hamilton Island Race Week yacht regatta takes place in August. It is the only island inside the Barrier Reef with its own commercial airport. A test concept to replace five smaller slips with superyacht docks at Elliott Bay Marina was such a success that 32 slips have now been reconfigured. Slips varied from 12m (39ft) to 40m (131ft) but, as in other places, boats became larger. “We had an 82% occupancy rate,” said David Boyd, general manager operations. “Vacancies were mostly in the smaller slips and we were turning away people for larger slips. We reconfigured smaller slips to build larger ones.” Jon Hatton, engineer and project manager, added, “we are an Australian version of a superyacht marina but without 100m (328ft) boats as in the Mediterranean. A 40m (131ft) boat is a superyacht in our market. We have a tidal range in the Whitsundays of about 5m (16.4ft), so Med-moorage would have been impossible. We installed Unifloat concrete floating docks with long, deep piling.” “We have eight new 40m (131ft)-long by 11m (36ft)-wide berths with finger piers,” Hatton continued. “The new docks opened last week. We increased electrical service throughout the marina to provide power for larger boats. We’re in a protected harbour and we don’t see much wave action, so the freeboard in the new slips is 400mm (15.7 inches) to match the rest of the marina.” “Guests can land at our airport and within five minutes be on their boat,” said Boyd. “There are seven flights per day to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. We’ll pick guests up at the airport, help them provision and book their activities. We treat our marina guests with personalised attention the same as VIP hotel guests.” Boyd estimates that 80 to 90% of his marina guests are Australians and the rest international visitors. “Australians will travel a thousand miles and leave their vessels here for the season,” said Boyd. “Some leave them yearround.” He predicts the new superyacht moorings will increase the number of international visitors. Robert Wilkes writes about the marina industry from his home in Bellevue, Washington, USA. - May/June 2016 23

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