by Mike Rose
The comprehensively refurbished Rayglass Protector, Sea Three, is now 'almost better than new', according to proud New Zealand owner Dale Smith.
Protector "Sea Three" after refurbishment
Dale Smith says he is amazed at the incredible job the Rayglass workshop team has done in restoring the well-used 12.5-metre Protector.
Protector "Sea Three" cockpit after refurbishment
'There is now a much better use of space and the whole process has been really enjoyable, much better than simply buying a new boat,' he says.
The refurbishment is just the latest step in Sea Three’s long and varied history. Originally bought by charter company Ocean Rafting for use during the America’s Cup regattas in Auckland, the Protector was initially powered by triple Yamaha 200hp 2-stroke outboards and, with its rows of seating, was the ideal fast spectator boat.
A cabin was then added, the three 2-stroke outboards were exchanged for two new Yamaha 250hp 4-strokes and Sea Three was used for sightseeing trips to White Island in the Bay of Plenty.
Commercial marine company, Western Workboats, was the Protector’s next owner. They removed the seats, added big towing bollards and transformed her into a dedicated workboat. She was then pressed into service, working on the grounded container ship, Rena, which was stuck on Astrolabe Reef. In this role, she supported the salvors, towed barges and transported divers, among other duties.
Even though Dale intends to keep Sea Three in survey those who have worked on her in the past would be hard pressed to recognise her now.
Her old yellow tube has been replaced with a new black one, the storage box in the cockpit has been removed and the foredeck has been modified to create a large sun lounger. Inside, the upholstery has been removed; the cabin has been lined with Frontrunner; an electric toilet and new carpet added and new clears and an underfloor chiller fitted. The Rayglass team has also added a new dive bottle locker, a modernised graphics package and hull wrapping.
'I cannot speak highly enough of (Rayglass service manager) Dean Ryan and his team,' says Dale. 'They gave me a detailed quote before we started and kept me involved the whole way through.
'I have always really liked Protectors, they’re bulletproof,' he says. 'And now I have one that is as good as, and in some ways, better than new.'
Protector "Sea Three" cockpit before refurbishment
Protector "Sea Three" helm position after refurbishment