- Publish Date
- Friday, 17 October 2014, 6:26AM
New Zealand could soon be cashing in on a market that literally floats to our shores.
Waterfront Auckland is seeking an investor for a superyacht refit yard on the City of Sails' waterfront.
It plans to transform the Wynyard Marine site - one of the last remaining prime waterfront blocks on the western edge of Wynyard Quarter.
New Zealand Marine Industry Association boss Peter Busfield says it's vital we increase our ability to service the thousands of superyachts sailing the world.
He says of the fleet of around 5000 superyachts worldwide, 37 came here last year.
The marine industry wants to double that figure over the next three years.
"But in order to do so we need to have additional facilities to berth these yachts and to be able to haul them out of the water.
"So we can do the service and maintenance that these yachts are looking for."
The 1.6 hectare site is opposite Westhaven Marina - the largest marina in the southern hemisphere - and adjacent to the recently developed berths at Silo Marina.
The new facility will have the capability to haul yachts up to 80 metres long out of the water.
Mr Busfield says this development will be crucial for the ongoing development of our marine industry.
He says positioning the yard at the Wynyard Marine site will put the boats at the hub of the industry's craftmanship and skill base.
He says it will also allow the yacht owners, captain and crew to enjoy their stay while their boat is worked on.
"Downtown Auckland city, with all the cafes and the restaurants and the hotels, is the ideal location for this."
While the new facility would be in Auckland, Mr Busfield says it could bring in big dollars for the rest of the country.
He says the yard will a parking spot for superyacht owners who will then spend their money throughout New Zealand.
"These owners love playing golf in New Zealand, going to the wineries, doing the bungy jumping in Queenstown."
As well as bringing in tourism dollars, Mr Busfield says the superyachts will spend big on using our skilled craftmanship for service and maintenance.
While he's pleased Auckland Council is providing the land for the refit yard, Mr Busfield says it will be small by comparison to most international yards.
But he acknowledges that Auckland is restricted by the amount of land that's available next to deep water.
"Being able to say cater for three large superyachts, well that's three more than we can provide for in New Zealand out on the hardstand at the moment. So we'll take what we can get."
Mr Busfield says the superyacht maintenance and refit market is growing, and despite our size New Zealand can handle a large number of yachts.
He says a clear example is the more than 90 yachts which came here when we last hosted an America's Cup.
"But we want to have it as a more formalised location, even if we don't have the America's Cup in New Zealand, that these vessels can come and visit and feel welcome to our shores."
Source: Newstalk ZB