David Glenn visits Auckland superyacht yard and chats to Tony Hambrook about the industry 7/3/06

Just in case you thought England’s weather is the pits, it’s raining, windy and cold here in Auckland on the eve of the city’s boat show.

I’ve just returned from Henderson, a nearby suburb, where Alloy Yachts’ boss Tony Hambrook was able to paint a considerably sunnier picture of the super sailing yacht scene at his recently expanded yard. The worldwide superyacht industry is on fire at the moment and the New Zealanders, notably Hambrook, are out to grab as much of the business as they can.

Talking to him in his vast new board room, part of a major expansion at Alloy, he explained that he has four yachts in build, two sail, two power and that his desk is busier than ever with enquiries, including two for sailing yachts of around the 70m mark. Aluminium is just being cut for the 170ft Ed Dubois designed Red Dragon 11 and almost complete is a yacht sporting the ubiquitous Kokomo name, also by Dubois, this time a 130-footer. The motor yachts are Como, a 41m Dubois yacht for Neville Crichton, in which he may attend the America’s Cup in Valencia next year, and a 33m expedition yacht designed by Greg Marshall.

Alloy concentrate on building yachts between 30m and 66m and they pride themselves in having never missed a launch date.

Still in New Zealand is Larry Finch’s Alloy-built Janice of Wyoming, a 39.7m sloop which was launched last year but has remained in these waters for some exciting ‘local’ cruising. The yacht has been to Fiji, the Queensland coast of Australia, to the spectacular fjord-lands of south island New Zealand and is now back in Viaduct Harbour, Auckland.

Finch got to know New Zealand well when he backed an America’s Cup campaign and was impressed with the number of yachts Alloy were producing. He came back to build Janice.

One of the additional advantages of remaining in these waters is that warranty work can be completed and when the yacht eventually leaves the chances are she’ll be in excellent shape.

Like a lot of other large sailing yachts, Janice of Wyoming will eventually head for Europe where owners are setting their sights on what is being billed as one of the biggest superyacht regattas ever seen. It will be held in Palma, Majorca during the America’s Cup period next summer and the nod is that no fewer than 70 vessels will be in attendance.

We’ll be looking at Tony Hambrook’s yard and the superyacht event in Palma in more detail in upcoming issues ofYachting World.