Superyacht manufacturer’s apprentices lead the way

MTC Alloy on water
NZ Marine
Alloy Yachts International, one of the world’s most admired and awarded manufacturers of high performance sailing superyachts, has proved they are just as good at successfully building and racing 'low tech' catamarans.

The Alloy Yachts’ 'Team 9', consisting of apprentices Travis Page, Jac Hebson, Luc Whitehouse and Theo Finlayson and managed by Mike Lee, dominated the 2013 Marine Trades Challenge, winning the coveted Harken Trophy in front of a large, enthusiastic crowd in Westhaven on Saturday.

The talented team won both the Best Built Boat and the Innovation categories and placed highly in several others. As a result of their win, they will represent New Zealand in the annual trans-Tasman boatbuilding challenge at the Sydney International Boat Show in August.

Second overall were Alloy Yachts 'Team 10', with Southern Spars 'Team 6' third.

Other categories winners were the Southern Spars 'Team 6', who gave the best on-water performance; the Alloy Yachts International 'Team 10', which won the Health and Safety category; Southern Spars Teams 6 and 7, who were first equal in the Team Support and Presentation category; and General Marine Services and Holtons Marine who tied for first in the Best Performance for First Time Entrants category. The First Non-Boat Builder Team category was also won by the Southern Spars 'Team 6'.

In the tightly contested Secondary Schools Division, Team 4, the all-girls’ team from Napier’s Tamatea High School, were the clear winners. Victoria Lowe, Shyla Haimona, Jamie-Lee Grace and Alicia Baldwin, together with manager Dana Berquest, beat a number of other secondary schools’ teams.

The Marine Trades Challenge, which is organised by the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation, brings together teams of four apprentices from a variety of marine businesses as well as student teams from selected secondary schools.

The teams have just two hours to build a boat, either to their own design or from a set of supplied plans. They then have to row, motor and sail their creation around an inshore course (in front of a large crowd of employers, workmates, friends, family and members of the public), earning points in a variety of different categories.