February 14-17 saw a spectacular fleet of superyachts take to the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, competing in the annual NZ Millennium Cup superyacht regatta. As the newest yacht competing, all eyes were on 50 metre flybridge sloop Ohana, the latest launch to come from New Plymouth-based Fitzroy Yachts.
Built for an experienced European owner Ohana’s punk grey and yellow hull and yellow gennaker made her a striking sight on the water and after a sterling performance throughout the regatta, she took third place overall. “We are extremely proud of Ohana,” said Rodney Martin, Managing Director of Fitzroy Yachts. “It was particularly gratifying to see her make her racing debut here on home shores.”
Ed Dubois, of Dubois Naval Architects, was one of those admiring Ohana racing during the Millennium Cup. “It is great to see her out on the water, she sails really well,” he said. The relationship between Dubois and Fitzroy Yachts is longstanding and Ohana is the eighth Dubois-designed yacht built by the yard, with another underway.
While the superyacht hub of New Zealand is undoubtedly Auckland, with yachts like Ohana, Fitzroy Yachts continue to turn the spotlight down to New Plymouth where they produce yacht after award-winning yacht. Their yachts are enduringly popular and the secret of this, said Martin, is Fitzroy’s passionate team. “Our team combines knowledge and skill: our tradesmen and engineers are world class and hugely experienced in yachting.” In a nod to Fitzroy’s reputation as one of the world’s best sailing yacht builders, Ohana was recently announced as a finalist for both a prestigious World Superyacht Award and for the ShowBoats Design Awards.
Although the glitz and glamour of the world of superyachts is one side of the industry, more importantly every superyacht that comes to, or is built in, New Zealand represents jobs and significant economic benefit. Ohana herself represents over 400,000 man-hours of work for the yard and for New Plymouth.
Significant projects like this also help to nurture the next generation of skilled craftsmen, and Fitzroy Yacht places great stock in its apprenticeship programme.
With Ohana’s first regatta under her belt and the yacht safely delivered to her owner, it’s business as usual back at the yard. The Fitzroy team is now busy working on a Dubois-designed 37.5m performance sloop, FY17, for a European owner, which is due to launch later this year.