For those bought up in the traditions of New Zealand sailing, even contemplating buying a production boat evokes a lot of very blank thoughts.
The old approach of sifting through designs, selecting a designer, then appoaching a builder, commissioning the boat and then riding shotgun on the whole build and launch process, is well known and within the comfort zone of most baby boomers.
Sail-World.com asked Jane Pares and the team at International Marine Brokers to walk us through the production boat purchase process:
Bavaria Yachts factory in Germany
In the past 30 years, yacht buyers in New Zealand have graduated from a limited choice that included local builds (initially mainly kauri timber) and a limited variety of relatively expensive designs in GRP from small inefficient production runs, to imported yachts from technologically advanced production facilities.
New Vision 44 owners outside the factory
The choice and availability of production yachts has grown steadily and is dominated by European and American brands, which are less expensive and can be produced in large numbers, quickly and efficiently.
Why? What happened?
There are several historical factors influencing this turn around, two being more prominent than the others -
1. The 20% boat tax which decimated the sales for NZ boats
2. A drastic reduction in duty on imported boats
Bavaria Cruisers lined up for shipping
As fibreglass technology improved, so the possibilities for production boats increased. There is now plenty of choice on the market – every taste being catered for. It wasn’t lack of appeal that hindered their introduction to New Zealand, but rather acceptance by the boat buying public of a foreign made mass-produced boat. This has been the major stumbling block as Roger Wilson of International Marine Brokers found out.
He founded IMB in 1990 and it has been instrumental in creating a market for imported production yachts in this country. It took many years, in a difficult market, to establish a place for brands such as Bavaria Yachts and Catalina Yachts, but they are now the dominant brands from Germany and America in New Zealand.
It took a lot of hard work and marketing expertise, using boat shows and promotions, to find acceptance and convince local boat buyers that European and American boats are much better value, with better features and proven sailing ability. Instead of waiting up to 12 months for your boat to be built, you can now expect delivery in 4 - 5 months, despite shipment from the other side of the world.
Bavaria Vision 44 arrives from the factory in Germany, ready for commissioning at the Viaduct Harbour Marine Village - having been ordered just four months previously
Quintin Fowler is a perfect example, proving the performance of Bavaria Yachts - racing his stock standard Bavaria 44 Cruiser, Bavarian Wave, he has won a string of races including the Auckland – Fiji classic on handicap.
The success of Bavaria Yachts, as the leading production boat brand in New Zealand, has prompted others to jump on the band wagon with other European brands, but none have been able to match the value of the Bavaria Yachts. They dominate the European market with the largest and most modern production facility producing over 3000 yachts per annum from thirty to fifty feet.
Bavaria 39 cruiser is unwrapped in the Viaduct Harbour prior to commissioning and launch
So, how do you go about buying a production yacht?
Well, first you have to choose your brand and model. As far as the Bavaria is concerned - a survey of NZ owners in 2005 drew the following reasons for them choosing Bavaria over any other brands:-
1 interior design and finish
Having selected the brand, the new owner’s requirements are tailored in terms of length and number of cabins and motor size.
Bavaria 44 Vision in the commissioning process at the Viaduct Harbour Village
Sitting down with the broker, the owner discusses the additions he’d like over and above the standard specifications for the boat including electronics etc
With the contract signed, the order is sent to the factory in Southern Germany. Ten weeks later the boat rolls off the production line and is trucked to Antwerp where it’s placed on the deck of a cargo ship bound for New Zealand.
Shipping time is another five weeks. Commissioning takes place in the boat yard in Auckland. It involves installing - the rig and the keel, electronic navigation equipment, spray dodger and boom cover and anti-fouling the hull.
Depending on the time of year, you can expect to be launching a new production yacht within 4 – 5 months of placing your order.
After the launch, the yacht is taken out on a test sail, the instruments are calibrated and the engine checked over for the warranty. The broker always does a comprehensive handover on the yacht with the new owners – taking them out for a sail to familiarize them with their new boat and spending time in the marina going over its systems. No stone is left unturned to make sure the owners are completely happy with their new Bavaria Yacht.
The Durent family launches their new Bavaria 46 cruiser, El Torito in Auckland. Delivery of a Bavaria production yacht typically takes four to five months from the time of order to launch in New Zealand - including shipping from Germany.
Market acceptance is now here to stay, as imported production boats have proved to be by far the best buy, with excellent resale value.
IMB now have close to 100 Bavaria and Catalina Yachts on the water in New Zealand.