6 years ago

Mar Apr 2015 Marina World

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SUPERYACHT FACILITIES Denarau Marina is Fiji’s top superyacht destination. The crossroads of the South Pacific Denarau Marina in Fiji has expanded and improved its superyacht facilities and now claims to receive more superyachts than Australia and New Zealand combined. Nigel Skeggs tells Charlotte Niemiec how Denarau has grown to become the largest superyacht marina in the South Pacific. Fast becoming a model for the international superyacht scene, Fiji or “the crossroads of the Pacific” is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean ideal for cruising superyachts. Its 500 islands boast lagoons, rainforests, pine forests, mountains and white sandy beaches. With a tropical marine climate and year-round warm weather, Fiji is a popular tourist destination for yachtsmen and holiday-makers alike. Until 2009, superyachts cruising the region were left to their own devices, with little infrastructure in place to support them. This changed when Nigel Skeggs took over management of Denarau Marina and realised its geographical position offered huge opportunity. A superyacht captain before he turned to marina management, Skeggs is well placed to understand the requirements of the modern superyacht owner. Having completed an Advanced Marina Management (AMM) course with the Marina Industries Association (MIA) in 2011, Skeggs was looking for “something to do on land”. He turned his attention towards building new facilities at Denarau with a view to developing the industry. The superyacht sector is one in which he expects to see significant growth over the next decade and he is preparing for this by doubling the number of superyacht berths at Denarau before the end of the year. Construction has also begun on a new marina and boatyard with superyacht repairs and maintenance facilities. Rebuilding from scratch Developments were spurred by Cyclone Evan in December 2012, which assailed the marina with gusts up to 273km per hour. As the marina had a thorough and proven cyclone plan, no vessels were harmed, but the majority of the marina’s floating infrastructure was destroyed. Left with no choice, Skeggs arranged to completely rebuild and improve the facilities at the marina, adding extra commercial berths to fulfil requirements. A testament to his determination, the rebuild was complete within six months. Now, the marina is a major superyacht destination, as Skeggs notes: “We get more superyachts than Australia and New Zealand combined.” The Jetty-C at Port Denarau, which holds 16 superyachts, has transformed Fiji from a subsidiary part of New Zealand or Australia’s cruising grounds into a destination in its own right. In 2013, the marina received 40 superyachts longer than 80ft; the following year, this number had increased to 56. The number of yachts under 80ft was 606 in 2013 and 713 in 2014. According to John Ross at The Fiji Sun: “The [yachting] segment Jetty C accommodates a range of vessels including up to 16 superyachts. - March/April 2015 37

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