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Culture Vulture

Also Worth Considering...

By Kim Kavin— August 2004


 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Askari in Fiji
• Part 2: Askari in Fiji
• Also Worth Considering
• Askari in Fiji Photo Gallery

 Related Resources
• Cruising/Chartering Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Fraser Yachts Worldwide

These three yachts offer high-quality charters in the emerging New Zealand marketplace:

About three years ago, Graham and Robin Bowkett retired from the waste management business and decided they wanted to see the world. The New Zealanders bought the 163-foot Flinders (right), a former hydrographic ship that spent about 30 years doing underwater surveys for the Australian navy.

By the time you read this, Flinders’ makeover into a luxury yacht should be complete. “It really is a new boat,” Graham says. “There’s nothing left of the old boat. It happens to be on a hull that was existing.”

The new Flinders will accommodate 12 guests and ten crew. What little of her interior had been installed during my visit included a lovely shade of rasowa (a type of Fijian wood), and the Bowketts were incorporating smart features for charter. In addition to a darkroom for photographers, an owner’s office, and a third-deck swimming pool, Flinders will have a top deck entirely devoted to guest use and a helicopter pad for emergencies.

She’s expected to begin her charter career in New Zealand in August, bound for the Caribbean this winter and the Mediterranean next summer. Flinders is scheduled to spend much of 2005 in the Maldives, East Asia, and Indonesia, arriving back in New Zealand in September 2006.

Her rate was being determined at presstime.

Barry Colman is a newsman, and he sees New Zealand’s charter market as a big story about to break. “Until the America’s Cup, we never attracted the big spenders down here,” says the publisher of National Business Review. “It’s about to open up.”

Colman and his wife, Cushia Martini, are among the leaders in establishing the market with their 100-foot Falcon, Liberty IV. The 2001 build—which has a high-gloss cherry interior—was in the Mediterranean until the couple bought her and took her to New Zealand this year. During my sneak peek in the Bay of Islands, during which I sampled a buffet lunch prepared by chef Petra Gerates, Liberty IV was building a permanent crew and hoping to set an all-inclusive rate for eight to ten guests. “It’s too messy the other way,” Colman says of base rates and extras. “People get off the boat and they get another bill.”

The yacht should be especially attractive to couples with children, as the master and VIP staterooms are almost identical, with two twin cabins positional in between.

Also make a note to try the Vavasour sauvignon blanc onboard. It’s Colman’s own label, from his winery in New Zealand’s Marlborough region.

Rates were still being determined at presstime.

This 105-footer was launched in 1997 as Hull No. 23 from Winter Marine, a New Zealand yard that also happened to introduce the 85-foot power catamaran Pacific Harmony at this year’s Yacht and Brokerage Show in Miami. “We made a mistake and fell in love with this one,” Capt. Allan Winter says of the motoryacht. “So we kept her.”

Family-operated by Winter and his father, Capt. Ken Winter, Pacific Mermaid calls Auckland home and offers charters in the Hauraki Gulf. Her proximity to the international airport and her spacious guest areas make her ideal for corporate day charters or even weddings followed by a cruise for the newlyweds. During my afternoon aboard, she accommodated a party of several dozen people with ease.

Her base rate for eight guests with five crew is $10,600 New Zealand dollars (about $7,000 U.S.) for the first day, followed by $9,800 New Zealand dollars (about $6,480 U.S.) every day thereafter. —K.K.

Fraser Yachts Worldwide Phone: (64) 9 302 0178.

Next page > Askari Photo Gallery > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the July 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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