by Mike Rose
Emirates Team New Zealand Protector chase boat. Louis Vuitton Cup 2013.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s 12.5-metre Centre Console Protector has been making a big splash in the often rough and unpredictable waters of San Francisco Bay.
The New Zealand designed and built Protector has been drawing admiring glances and lots of attention for the effortless way it is coping with the Bay’s notorious weather conditions.
'Last century, the authorities chose to site their most secure island prison, the legendary Alcatraz, deep in the waters of San Francisco Bay,' says Rayglass Boats CEO, Dave Larsen.
'They rightly figured that, even if a prisoner could somehow escape from the island, there was simply no way he would be able to survive the cold waters and strong currents of the treacherous waters.
'Guess they were lucky there were no Protectors around then!'
Emirates Team New Zealand guests on Chase 4. Louis Vuitton Cup 2013. 18/7/2013
Joking aside, Larsen says the ETNZ Protector is proving to be a very effective advertisement for the iconic Kiwi brand in the United States.
'People see the Protector zooming along at up to 50 knots, keeping up with the giant AC72s and completely unfazed by the boisterous conditions and they are rightly very impressed.
'Then they discover that they are looking at a 12-year-old boat that has already done two previous America’s Cup campaigns (and the countless hours of training that entails) and are completely blown away.'
Larsen says there are now hundreds of Protectors hard at work throughout the United States, thanks to the efforts of the company’s US distributor.
'As you would expect, they are performing flawlessly in a variety of roles: as pleasure boats, as yacht patrol vessels and even as Police boats.'
Rayglass Protectors can also be found, working as patrol, rescue, support and pleasure boats in virtually every corner of the globe.
Emirates Team New Zealand practice session with AC72, NZL5 on San Francisco Bay. 21/6/2013
They were first employed in Team New Zealand’s defence of the America’s Cup in Auckland in 2000 and have played an integral part in the regattas ever since. They have been used as mark boats, for marshalling the crowds, as ambulance boats, as support craft for the various syndicates (including, of course, Team New Zealand), as spectator boats and even as tenders for some of the world’s most luxurious superyachts.
In the last 'proper' America’s Cup regatta, in Valencia in 2007, there were more than 100 Rayglass Protectors on duty in the waters off the Spanish coast.
Rayglass Protectors are manufactured by Rayglass Boats, New Zealand’s largest and most innovative manufacturer of quality RIBs and luxury pleasure craft.
In addition to the the internationally-respected Protector range of patrol, work and pleasure RIBs, the company also manufactures the multi-award winning Legend series of 6-12 metre GRP powerboats and the highly innovative Pro-Jet (the world’s first commercially-manufactured PWC-powered RIB).
Based on the water’s edge in Auckland, Rayglass today employs over 60 people in three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and is one of New Zealand’s most successful marine businesses, both at home and internationally.