Investment by New Zealand into superyacht infrastructure has been paying significant dividends, with increasing numbers of superyachts in the country for extended stays to cruise, charter and refit.  Although New Zealand has long been a popular destination for new build and refit projects, thanks to the high quality of work standards on offer, the country's appeal as a cruising and charter destination has to some extent been overlooked.  Promoting the country in it's own right has now become a higher priority and there is now a concerted push underway to welcome more yachts, and to educate the superyacht the fleet that New Zealand is a beautiful and easy place to cruise in. The wider campaign includes presence at leading industry boat shows; a stand and breakfast event at the recent Monaco Yacht Show saw the country profiled in front of leading brokers, captains and superyacht media.

Having recognised the significant economic impact that each visiting yacht represents, New Zealand government bodies, together with NZ Marine, are now working hard to attract yachts to the country and promote it as a 'must do' destination. With the average 40m superyacht clocking an annual expenditure of €1.65 million (not including berthage fees or crew wages)* the impact of every visiting yacht is significant to the New Zealand economy and to local businesses, both marine and non-marine. Speaking to yachts in dock at the Silo Marina, this reporter was told that an estimated minimum of 25 percent of all crew salaries would also be injected into the local economy during a yacht's stay. With nearly 20 yachts in dock in Auckland alone, the positive impact of yachts visiting the city should not be lost on anyone.

Their aim is to double superyacht visitors by 2016, and numbers of yachts currently in town are some indication of New Zealand's growing popularity. According to managers of Auckland's Silo Marina November 2013 has proved the busiest month on record by number of visiting yachts. The marina’s manager, Luke Wigglesworth from local Council  organisation Waterfront Auckland, said the city-owned facility provides an excellent option for maintenance and refits with its close proximity to a cluster of world leading marine suppliers and service people.  Two new 90 metre docks were added to the marina this year, each with a one metre freeboard making them the biggest pontoons in New Zealand, plus two new 65 metre pontoons. A further enhancement is the access to a 60 metre berth adjacent to Southern Spars subsidiary Rig Pro, providing hassle free mast stepping for sailing yachts. With the new additions Silo Marina can now take 13 boats  - doubling its capacity since it opened for business prior to the Rugby World Cup held in Auckland in 2011.

A off Rangitoto - credit Chris Lewis

Yachts currently in New Zealand include Blohm + Voss's 119m M/Y A, the biggest yacht to berth up in New Zealand to date. She has followed in the footsteps of her yard sister 92m M/Y Mayan Queen, which spent time in Auckland in 2012. Since arriving in Auckland in September, A has drawn crowds of admirers to her berth in Auckland’s Silo Marina.  92m M/Y Nahlin has also proved a popular visitor. Other visiting yachts include: 39.7m S/Y Janice of Wyoming, built by Kiwi yard Alloy Yachts; 52m M/Y Belle Aimee, built by Amels ; 35m M/Y Alani II, built by Benetti; 40.5m M/Y Alchemy, built by Feadship; 85m Pacific, built by Lürssen; 32m S/Y Gliss, 34m Sassafras and 58m S/Y Ethereal, both built by Royal Huisman; and 43m S/Y Koo and 52.5m Erica XII built by Vitters. They are have just been joined by recent arrivals 88m M/Y Arctic P; 68m M/Y Lady Christine, built by Feadship; 49m Australian-built M/Y Plan B; 33.8m Silvertip, built by Yachting Developments; and the newly launched 56.4m S/Y Mondango 3 from Alloy Yachts. That so many of these yachts are the work of the world’s leading shipyards, members of the prestigious Superyacht Builders Association, is indicative of the quality of yacht that New Zealand is attracting. Such high visitation numbers ahead of the 2014 summer cruising season are already an excellent result for the country.

M/Y Pacific cruising off Auckland

* Economic Analysis of the Superyacht Industry report, Superyacht Intelligence

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