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Superyacht migration trends: New Zealand

In the lead up to the 2021 America's Cup, we look at cruising patterns in and around the country…

The America’s Cup has a longstanding superyacht following and, with the 36th edition taking place in Auckland between 6 and 21 March, 2021, superyacht owners have the perfect excuse to visit New Zealand to be a part of the action, as well as experience the cruising that the region has to offer. Based on past America’s Cup campaigns, the Kiwi yachting sector is expecting that around 100 additional superyachts will visit its waters for the event on top of the average 50 to 55 that usually visit each season. 

Published later this month, The Superyacht Migration Report offers unprecedented analysis of superyacht migratory trends around the world based on data provided by MarineTraffic. With the Pacific said to be increasingly popular as a yachting destination, and the America’s Cup sure to attract more yachts to New Zealand in the coming years, we have featured a snapshot of superyacht crusing patterns in the country.

According to data provided by MarineTraffic over the last four years, the first quarter of each year – New Zealand's summer months – is the busiest time for superyachts, with numbers having peaked in Q1 2018. As the America's Cup will be taking place during March 2021, this will likely give a big boost to the region's busiest period, with local yachting professionals are already predicting a shortage of berthing.

The data also shows that superyachts in the 40 to 60m size segment are the most prolific visitors to New Zealand. Whereas other destinations might attract a more prolific fleet in the 30 to 40m size range, a larger average size is expected for New Zealand due to its distance from other superyacht hubs, which appeals mainly to vessels with certain capabilities. However, according to the data, no 90m-plus superyachts have visited New Zealand since the beginning of 2016.

The most popular superyacht destination within New Zealand is Auckland, which offers superyachts the most infrastructure in terms of berthing and refit and repair facilities. Therefore, the high concentration of superyachts in Auckland is mostly reflective of yachts during downtime and maintenance periods. The most popular cruising destinations appear to be Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel Coast and Northland around the North Island and Nelson Tasman and Banks Peninsula around the South Island. 

Looking at the number of recorded unique yachts visiting the Pacific over the 2015 to 2018 period, MarineTraffic's data shows that New Zealand attracts around 1.7 per cent of the active superyacht fleet, which makes it comparable with Cyprus and Thailand as a superyacht destination. In comparison to other countries in the region, New Zealand is the second most popular superyacht destination, with Australia attracting just over double the number.

The Superyacht Migration Report will feature much more data and in-depth analysis of superyacht migratory trends around the world. To subscribe to our next report, click here.

Image credit: Jeff Brown, Breed Media 

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