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NZ Rigging looks to top the table in big Australian regattas

by Richard Gladwell on 24 Aug 2009
Living Doll racing with the all - NZ Rigging supplied spar package at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. She is one of five top race yachts using NZ Rigging spar packages at the regatta. Crosbie Lorimer http://www.crosbielorimer.com

NZ Rigging’s Richard Bearda is confident of some great results from high profile Airlie Beach Race Week and the Hamilton Island regattas. He should do. Most of the top competitors are carrying his gear.

Based in a factory in Birkenhead, on Auckland’s North Shore, NZ Rigging had a great result from the Rolex Fastnet Race with the Farr ILC80, Beau Geste taking second place on the water. She her running rigging came from NZ Rigging, with her spars and standing rigging coming from www.southernspars.com!Southern_Spars.

The Cookson built Living Doll is NZ Rigging’s biggest spar to date – and just squeezing into the autoclave. Most of the spars from their factory are for yachts under 60ft, and the company builds in both alloy and carbon.

Company founder, Richard Bearda, says he was not really planning to build masts. ‘I got pushed into it'. After an apprenticeship with iconic Auckland chandlery and spar maker, A. Foster and Co, Bearda joined the Toyota Marine Group. Then it was time for a crack at Round the World racing with a ride aboard illbruck Challenge. They went onto win the 2001/02 Volvo Ocean Race, which he followed in 2003 by a three month Moet Cup campaign in America’s Cuppers in San Francisco. Along the way he picked up the moniker 'Bart', which has stick to this day.

After that series, Bearda could see the writing on the wall for the America’s Cup and decided that he needed a real job, and NZ Rigging was born.


Most of the work undertaken by NZ Rigging is for yachts under 60ft. 'We have done a lot of rigs for the Cookson 50's,' says Bearda. ' To date we have done 12 or 13 Cookson 50 rigs, which has led onto other projects with similar types of boats.'

'We have done 18 Friendship 40 rigs for instance.'

'Most of the work we do is in export, there is not a lot done locally in New Zealand. Our major export market is Australia,' he adds.

'We've also supplied rigs for match race fleets for the Bakewell-White fleet in Korea, and the Platu 25's.'


NZ Rigging provide a full spar and rigging service. '95% of the rigs that go out of our factory are full spar, standing and running rigging packages. We work with leading standing rigging suppliers to complement the mast packages,' he adds.

Racing and cruising spars and rigging services are provided, with Bearda estimating the market split at 70% racing and 30% cruising. Interestingly 70% of NZ Rigging's customers are now specifying carbon spars compared to 30% for alloy.

All NZ Rigging's alloy spar tube is sourced in Australia, and come in 20 metre one-piece sections - maximum die size is 310mm in the fore and aft dimension. Anodised as well as painted alloy mast sections are also available.

But for NZ Rigging all eyes are on the two major regattas this month at Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach.

At Hamilton Island, five yachts are sailing with NZ Rigging spar packages: Evolution Racing (Cookson 50, Ray Roberts); Georgia One (Farr 43, Jim Farmer); Living Doll (Farr 55, Michael Hiatt); Scarlet Runner (RP52, Robert Date); Shogun (Cookson 50, Robert Hanna). The same fleet also competed at Airlie Beach except for Georgia One.

NZ Rigging is working closely with Cookson Boats on the mast and rigging package for the new Georgia Racing 53fter currently under construction a few kilometres away, in Glenfield.

To find out more about NZ Rigging contact Richard 'Bart' Bearda at bart@nzrigging.com or visit their website at www.nzrigging.com

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