The Abell Point Marina was purchased from receivers in mid 2013 by coal entrepeneur Mr Paul Darrouzet for $27 million AUD. “Mr Darruouzet had a very clear vision for the marina, and wanted to develop it as a ‘destination marina’ in order to encourage longer stays,” explained Luke McCaul, marketing and business development manager at the marina. “We have been working to achieve that vision and this work is an important step towards that.” As a yacht owner himself, Darrouzet is well attuned to the needs of visiting yachts with an intrinsically understanding of the yachting community the marina is serving. At the time of purchase Mr Darrouzet made his intention of targeting the superyacht sector clear, telling media that: “We have a major capital expenditure program … We have launched major marketing campaigns internationally to attract all the superyachts here."
Since the acquisition, improvement plans have been moving at pace.The marina’s 500 berths currently include 42 30m berths, 15 40m berths and two 60m berths and the upcoming investment will include the addition of another two 60m berths with RoRo provisioning ramps. Significant dredging work is being undertaken to fix the tidal access problems and increase the draft from 3m at the lowest tide to 5.5m. “Increasing the draft of the marina will really open up opportunities for larger superyachts to come in and dock at the marina,” said McCaul. The dredging work will take place in stages, targeting the shallowest areas first, meaning that although the entire work programme will take a year, most of the access problems will be solved as soon as June 2014. Other improvements will include onshore facilities, with the revival of the Abell Point Yacht Club, and exclusive superyacht owner and crew facilities planned for the longer term. "A large part of the investment going into upgrading marina facilities and amenities, inclduing restaurants, café’s and walkways, in order to develop a pleasant shore side experience for crew," continued McCaul. "We will also be placing increased emphasis on customer service as a big part of the new marina experience that customers can learn to enjoy."
Located in Airlie Beach, Queensland, the Abell Point Marina is strategically positioned in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and is already well established as a superyacht marina. “The area is an ideal cruising ground for visiting superyachts, particularly in the more temperate winter months,” said McCaul. “It’s a huge tourism area, and lots of boats and visitors come here to cruise the region.” Recent visitors to the marina have included 39.7m Southern Cloud, 34.5m Princess Iluka, 36m Eendracht and 42m De Lisle III. With Australia’s newly launched America's Cup 35 campaign racing under the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, this will also see more yachting attention drawn to the area.
Cameron Bray of Bray Management, charter manager of Southern Cloud and De Lisle III, told SuperyachtNews.com how news of the investment into the marina has been welcomed by superyacht professionals operating in the region. “Southern Cloud draws four metres, which meant that during our recent three month stay at the marina we were limited to arriving and departing the marina at high tide. For charter yachts to now have the freedom to come and go as they please from the marina rather than being reliant on the tide is absolutely fantastic and will encourage more yachts to stay at the marina. As we all know, with increased yachts in situ the shoreside facilities and suppliers will benefit also.”
Geoff Majer, of Majer Yacht Services, also stressed the strong positioning of the marina. "Over the past 20 years I have had dealings with Abel Point Marina on several occasions; the marina is extremely well positioned to assist any superyacht cruising the East Coast of Australia and the inclusion of the new superyacht berths will greatly improve the options to visiting superyachts."