16 September 2014
SuperyachtNews.com News brought to you by Master Yachts
19 Aug 2012

Fitzroy Yachts convert MV Kahu for yard owner

By | Other articles by this author

One of the advantages of owning your own superyacht shipyard, is that when you want to undertake a refit on a former navy vessel to turn her into a family yacht to travel the world on, the answer from the yard will of course be yes.

This is what Peter White-Robinson, owner of New Zealand based yard Fitzroy Yachts has done. With his wife Sharon and their two sons Cole and Finn, the couple and a group of family friends set off from Auckland today to undertake a two and a half year tour around the world on board their converted yacht, MV Kahu. The yacht is named for the kahu, an Australasian harrier and abundant native bird of NZ and the word also means cloak in Maori. One of five ex Moa class inshore patrol vessels of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Kahu was refitted by the White-Robinson’s in a year-long refit project to become what will be the family’s home until 2015. 


MV Kahu, moored in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour prior to departure

“We’d been wanting to do something adventurous for quite a while and had considered different options,” said Sharon. “The navy had five of these boats in the Moa class, and as they replaced them they sold them off. We had talked about it, and we heard that two had sold and we though that’s not such a bad idea but it just wasn’t the right time, and the planets just weren’t aligned in the right way. Then when they finally got to selling this one, she was last in the series, we thought well it’s now or never. We put in a price and it was accepted and then we jumped for joy and then we thought oh heck, what have we let ourselves in for. I think we’re still going oh heck aren’t we?”


Having bought her, the White-Robinsons used her as she was for some time, before beginning the refit in June 2011. “The real project took just over a year,” said Peter. “It worked out to be bigger than we originally thought.”  The work list was extensive. “She was 92ft, so we added 30ft of length to her,” said Peter. “We raised the bulwarks up forward and we took the superstructure off and added a new superstructure.” “She was quite small topside so there wasn’t very good captains quarters and the mess and the galley were downstairs so we’ve topsy turveyed it,” added Sharon. “All the accommodation is downstairs and the general living areas are on the main deck and the bridge and another saloon are above.”



The yacht is now fully equipped: “We added a lot of equipment like a sewage treatment plant, water makers, a third generator, stabilisers, bow and stern thrusters and an extra anchoring system. We’ve upgraded all the electronics and GPS, radar and we have a whole different suite of instruments up there in the bridge,” said Peter. Most importantly, considering the travel itinerary planned, her fuel capacity was upped from 13,000l to 32,000l giving an 8000 mile range at 8 knots. “The navy listed their range as being 1300 miles so we have a much better range now,” he said.


The bridge

By the White-Robinson’s own admission, she is not a superyacht – and was never intended to be – although the touches of those who build superyachts are clearly there and she is not many worlds away from an explorer yacht.  “You wouldn’t want to look to closely at the faring and painting,” said Peter. “For us, for what we’re doing – two and a half years bashing around the world – it was the right level of finish for us. We’re not going to be sitting tied up in the Med all the time. It wouldn’t have been practical for us to do that [level of finish] and I didn’t want the cost of it.” “She’s not a plastic fantastic,” agreed Sharon. “She’s been a work boat and we didn’t want to change that too much. It would have been not the right thing to do to remove her completely from her roots.”


The main saloon dining area (above) and galley (below)


With the refit complete, Kahu is a light, bright and airy family boat. Sharon undertook the interior design herself, with consultation with Peter. “Between us and the joinery team, once they knew the wavelength I was on they could bring all their experiences to the design,” said Sharon. The palette has been kept quite neutral and clean with bleached woods and timber blinds, all complemented by the huge windows, which let natural light in throughout the yacht. “The team were really good, having built lots of superyachts. I had the idea in my head but they were really good about turning that into a reality,” said Sharon. “I think it was hard for the team to take several steps back from the superyacht level they are used to, but they’ve made a great job and we’re not complaining."

There is accommodation on board for 16, all with the same neutral palette. As well as the master cabin, there are two queen suites, a double and a twin bedroom. Their sons, together with the sons of two family friends who are joining them on the trip, have their own four-bedroom cabin with bunk beds. A sofa converts into an extra set of bunk beds should the boys have friends visiting. The trip has been timed around crucial periods of the children’s schooling, and while away they have a teacher on board and will be taught in a specially designed school room.


The master bedroom

“We’ve tried to create quite a few different areas that people can have their own space in,” said Peter. “Technically we’ll have 14 on board, and then quite often we’ll have guests – we’ve got quite a long guest list – as well,” said Sharon, who explained that because of this it was important to have several useable spaces that could be used and retreated to.  “We wanted to try and make it as homely as possible, we’re not formal people, and it’s not a crew guest divide yacht, half the crew is family and we all sit down and eat together so there’s no them and us.” True to the brief there are many useable spaces, including a den forward (which, with a day head in close proximity, can convert into an extra cabin if necessary) and two main lounge spaces as well as spacious deck areas.


The den area, located forward: "The idea here was to make it cosy," said Sharon White-Robinson

The bridge leads off from the upper saloon, which leads in turn to a large exterior deck space: “I like this room, it will have such great views,” said Sharon, whose musical instruments are housed in this salon. A further open deck up top provides abundant storage space. As one would expect for a family adventure, there are plenty of toys and tenders on board, including a sailing dinghy, kayaks and tenders. “There’s not a jet ski much to our older sons enormous disappointment,” said Sharon. A crane has been installed to allow the various watercraft to be lifted in and out of the water easily.


The upper saloon (above and below)


Departing Auckland today, the yacht has a packed travel itinerary to keep the family busy until their planned return in 2015. Their first stop will be Tahiti, then Fiji, then Rarotonga, the Marquesas, the Galapagos islands before going through the Panama canal. Next on the list is travelling along the Mississippi river and then afterwards hopefully undertaking the North West passage before finally making their way home to New Zealand. It will be the adventure of a lifetime, without a doubt.


Peter and Sharon White-Robinson on board Kahu

Having completed Kahu, Fitzroy Yachts is undertaking completion work on the Dubois flybridge G50, which is set to launch in the coming months. The yard has also secured a new order for Hull FY17, a 37m Dubois designed fast cruising sloop which began construction in May and will complete in 2014. Fitzroy Yachts will be exhibiting at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Comments

Add a comment

1800 character limit

Having problems? Let us know editor@superyachtnews.com

Other Fleet News

One sale as industry preps for MYS

With only one week to go before the opening of MYS, the market is seeing more new CA’s and less yachts being scooped up ahead of the anticipated footfall next week.  More

Mondo Marine makes third sale in 12 months

Mondo Marine has announced the sale of their 50m semi-displacement project M50, to be delivered in the first part of 2016... More

Holland Jachtbouw lay keel for 50m 'Rainbow II'

Holland Jachtbouw has laid the keel for their new build 50m schooner 'Rainbow II'. Designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, the yacht is being built for the owner of 40m 'Rainbow.' More

Two 100m+ orders for Benetti

Benetti has confirmed the sale of not one, but two 100m+ superyacht projects. The new orders trump Benetti's biggest order to date, 90m FB256, which is on schedule to launch in 2015. More

Fleet News Archive

Superyacht Intelligence Data

Most Recent Comments

  1. 'Volpini' returns to Amels for refit More
  2. Refit of 90m S/Y Athena complete More
  3. 105m 'Lady Moura' gets window refit More
  4. Inside M5's extensive rebuild at Pendennis More
  5. 'Paramour' refit completed in time for 2012 charter season More
SuperyachtNews app available now. Click here to download.
Tailor a subscription package to suit your needs
Latest issue
Latest issue

E-Newsletter

Get regular updates from SuperyachtNews with our weekly Email Newsletter.

Submit

SuperyachtIndex.com

Latest Premium Listings

EYOS Expeditions

EYOS Expeditions

The Nautical Academy

The Nautical Academy

Superyacht Insurance Group

Superyacht Insurance Group

Dovaston Crew Plus

Dovaston Crew Plus

Smart Technical Management

Smart Technical Management

Abercrombie Fine Wines

Abercrombie Fine Wines

Eekels Elektrotechniek

Eekels Elektrotechniek

Directory. Add your logo here with a premium listing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Featured Listings

Shore Power Convertors

ASEA POWER SYSTEMS
ASEA POWER SYSTEMS is the Marine Industry Leader for Shore Power Conversion equipment ranging in power from 8kVA - 1000kVa.
www.aseapower.com

Consultants, Project Management

Marine Management
We specialize in quality project mgmt and consultancy services to the Superyacht industry. Our extensive commercial experience ensures qualified over-sight of your vessels refit, build or upgrade. We attend vessels worldwide, providing owners onsite technical representation, and supervision of projects with no margin added on contracted services.
www.mml.org.nz

Rigging

Reckmann Yacht Equipment GmbH
Reckmann Yacht Equipment GmbH is a specialist company for reefing systems, masts and hydraulics and will celebrate the 120th anniversary in 2012. Today, the company is one of the leading producers and traders of headsail reefing equipment and is a synonym for quality, continuity and innovation.
www.reckmann.com

Navigation

Raytheon Anschuetz
Professional Integrated Navigation Systems based on cutting-edge technology and decades of experience. Ultimate knowledge and flexibility in system integration. Dedicated customer care throughout the whole project and beyond. Raytheon Anschutz your partner for individual bridge system solutions.
yacht.raytheon-anschuetz.com/

Electrics

Smart Technical Management
We are a truly independent advisory company dedicated to the needs of our clients. Our impartiality, commercial and technical expertise is unrivalled having been actively involved in the industry for over 23 years. It has allowed us to gain an un-paralleled insight into the working practices of the industry and its suppliers.
http://www.smart-tm.com/

Interior Fittings, Water Treatment & Watermakers

Evac Oy
Evac designs, manufactures and markets environmentally friendly vacuum toilet and wastewater treatment systems for the yacht and shipbuilding industry. With the latest advanced technical innovations we provide quality, reliability and design.
www.evac.com

Add your company listing here

Add a featured listing here and your advert will appear on every page of SuperyachtNews.com, SuperyachtIntelligence.com, SuperyachtIndex.com, TheCrewReport.com and SuperyachtJobs.com.

Add my company listing