“We have got the consent for an 120m berth on the outside wall of Opua Wharf,” said Chris Galbraith, General Manager of Far North Holdings, speaking today to SuperyachtNews.com. With consent for the berth formally agreed, momentum on the project is building and work is now underway to secure funding for an accompanying full service refit facility. Management is hopeful that resources for the funding will be secured within the first half of 2014. “We are exploring all options for finance in order to make the planned facility available,” said Galbraith.
In addition to the new berth the proposed developments will include a modern floating pontoon structure. Galbraith told us that the overall aim is that the berth and facilities would serve as more of a provisioning or service point for yachts in the region rather than as long term berthage or a base for major refits. “Unlike facilities such as the Silo Marina in Auckland we see ourselves serving more as a temporary home for yachts while they are in the Bay of Islands,” he said.
The Bay of Islands is a popular visitation area for yachts coming to New Zealand and cruising in the north of the North Island. Existing facilities in Opua include one 50m berth that is almost permanently occupied. The 120m berth would allow occupation by either one large yacht or several smaller yachts at any one time. The marina area has pilot exemption for all yachts under 500GT, with a pilot required for entry into the area by all other vessels exceeding this limit.
Although anchoring out options around New Zealand are plentiful, an increase in the number of superyacht-focused berths around the country is on the long-term agenda for the country, and progressions in Opua are perfectly in line with this strategy. New Zealand has recently welcomed several 80m+ yachts including 92m Mayan Queen IV, 85m Pacific, 119m M/Y A, 88m Arctic P and 92m Nahlin, so having additional berths around the country able to cater to these larger yachts will be a considerable boon for both Northland and New Zealand as a whole.
“The message we want to send to superyachts is that the Bay of Islands is keen to provide these facilities,” concluded Galbraith. “We believe they would be a great addition to Northland’s offerings; we are a very current destination and we really want to grow.”
In another boost to the Bay of Island's position as a favoured superyacht destination, the New Zealand Millennium Cup recently announced that it will be held in conjunction with the Bay of Islands Race 2015, which will see further superyacht presence in the area.
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