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The business statistics and case studies from NZ’s marine heartland

by Warren Douglas on 18 Apr 2013
Emirates Team New Zealand Chase One catamaran tender sporting four 300HP Yamaha outboards, built by Salthouse boats. Five of these vessels have been sold off the America’s Cup campaign Chris Cameron/ETNZ© http://www.chriscameron.co.nz

The New Zealand marine industry employs about 8000 people and had a turnover in 2011 of $1.71 billion of which $644 million was export sales.

In spite of the world-wide recession and the high New Zealand dollar, the industry is training about 450 young people with 214 new registrations this year.

Peter Busfield, executive director of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association, says: 'The New Zealand marine industry has enormous respect internationally as innovative and efficient creators of high-tech boats and marine equipment.

'Brand New Zealand is strengthened every time Emirates Team New Zealand races offshore .... the world is reminded that we are among the very best at what we do.'

Cookson Boats
Over the past two years Cookson Boats – recognised internationally as a builder of high-quality racing yachts – has relied on work from Emirates Team New Zealand to stay in business.

Managing director Mick Cookson says the yard has had 150,000 hours of work from the team and from Luna Rossa contracts for major components of its AC72. 'America’s Cup work kept an average of 40 people employed. That’s a lot of tax – PAYE and not forgetting the GST on everything they buy.'

'Before the America’s Cup work started, we built the ETNZ round-the-world race entry CAMPER. In the middle of a recession there was no other work around. Without the ETNZ work we would have had to shut the doors.'

He said Oracle set up its composites boat-building operation at Warkworth on the back of New Zealand’s boatbuilding skill base that had built up over more than 20 years of international competition.

'The AC45 fleet was built at Warkworth employing as many as 50 people. Components of the Oracle AC72s, including the wings, were also built there.'

Southern Spars
At Avondale, Southern Spars has no doubts about the benefit of working with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Group managing director Richard Lott: 'We have been a major beneficiary of technology transfer from the team. Southern business gains a lot from its close association, both technically and in spin off 'reflected' branding.

'Almost 40% of our activity over the last year has been building parts for ETNZ and Luna Rossa, whose work came to us because of ETNZ. That is effectively almost 100 direct jobs.

'Southern is managing to hold its own strongly perhaps because of the technical aspects of rig design and manufacture. We have a lot of internal development but the spin off from being involved with the absolute cutting edge of sailing rig development – the America’s Cup – gives us that final edge when it comes to pitching our product against those from other suppliers around the world.

'We know more about aerodynamics because of the Cup, we have developed our rigging product to be more sophisticated because of the Cup and we are able to enthuse and challenge many of our key employees because of the Cup.

'Some of the best years of the NZ marine industry were when the America’s Cup was bringing the epicenter of world yachting to New Zealand.

'Not only did it bring a lot of America’s Cup teams but it gave super yacht owners a reason to visit, bring their vessels down for a refit and build yachts here. I think it is possible to see those days again if ETNZ can win the Cup, which is a real possibility.

'Kiwis are not always the best at seeing the greatness of their own successes. Perhaps as an Englishman, I am in a better place to appreciate quite how far above its weight Emirates Team New Zealand and the NZ marine industry punches on a global stage.'

Salthouse Boatbuilders
Salthouse Boatbuilders of Greenhithe recently took its fifth order for the 14m Emirates Team New Zealand-designed catamaran RIB.

The team needed a new type of tender for the AC72 – a stable vessel that could keep up with the yacht throughout a long day of testing, be comfortable so engineers and designers could work on computers at speed in a seaway and be capable of righting the cat should it ever capsize.

The result is the 14m catamaran, developed jointly by the team and Salthouse Boatbuilders. Five, including the ETNZ’s 'Chase 1' , have been ordered, four of them for export. More potential export orders are being followed up.

Managing director Greg Salthouse says the orders have helped the 55-year-old boat yard through a difficult trading period. With other contracts for work on components for the team’s SL33 trial cats we have managed to keep 25 people in work.

He said the business climate had been difficult – 'several boat builders have closed and others have shed staff. Without the ETNZ contracts and the RIB orders things would have been very different for us.'

Jackson Electrical Industries
Jim Jackson, managing director of Jackson Electrical based at Onehunga, says Emirates Team New Zealand is a very demanding customer.

With 50 employees and a successful exporter, the business has come a long way in 35 years, from its beginnings as an electrical safety system manufacturer. We are now the leaders in temporary power distribution and have diversified to be one of NZs top CNC specialists.

This technology has allowed us to be involved in far reaching projects, and examples of our work can be seen from Emirates Team New Zealand through to art work on motorway overpasses, super yacht masts, shower trays and paddleboards along with our standard range of electrical products which are currently used during the construction of Australia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

Jackson Electrical has worked for both Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa. To cope, new computer-controlled equipment has been bought, new materials developed and more staff hired.

'Emirates Team New Zealand is relentless in its demands (for delivery and quality) and has pushed this company to a higher level. We have developed new techniques with new materials that now give us a huge advantage and significant benefits to other New Zealand companies who use our services. We can turn around jobs much faster.'

Jim Jackson doesn’t agree with the critics who say participation in the America’s Cup brings no benefits to New Zealand To them he says, 'get out and look at people like us – new technology, new techniques, jobs and exports. That’s real.

KZ Marine
KZ Marine has been a supplier of hardware for the yachting industry for more than 20 years, of late extending into export markets.

Our involvement in supplying the KZ Race Furler systems to Emirates Team New Zealand has enabled us to develop advanced technology resulting in opening up international markets and the company employing more staff due to export sales.

'Without the AC72 opportunity we would not have extended such development, ' said Rick Hackett company founder.

C-Quip
C-Quip, a Mt Wellington based supplier of high quality carbon fibre equipment for Superyachts, turned their hand to very technical carbon fibre control arm components for the AC72 wings.

Managing Director Paul Hackett said the work came at an opportune time.
'There was not a lot of work then. It was important for us as 1500 hours was spent manufacturing for Emirates Team New Zealand and we benefitted when Luna Rosa came along with another contract for a further 1500 hours. These contracts enabled us to retain our skilled staff.'

Stainless Machining
Brian Lawry, recalls his precision engineering company, in business for 33 years and with only five staff, was facing a fairly bad year.

A staff member had been laid off and a high-tech, $300,000 vertical milling machine had been mothballed when he got the Emirates Team New Zealand contract in July last year.

Not only was the machine back in and an operator hired, he had the confidence to take on another apprentice.

Looking back he said the ETNZ work – and subsequent work for Luna Rossa – made 2012 a good year.

Trimac Machining
Richie Weston, managing director of Onehunga precision CNC engineering company Trimac Machining, produced AC72 components from titanium, aluminium and plastic.

The company is a ' standard New Zealand small business'.... six people on the payroll and feeling the effects of the recession. 'If it hadn’t been for Emirates Team New Zealand, it would have been a lot tougher and I might have had to lay off staff.'

The work continues and Trimac has employed another apprentice.
The current work cycle started in 2010 – machining for the round-the-world race boat CAMPER.

Richie fondly remembers the good days when the America’s Cup was in Auckland.

C-Tech
One way or another C-Tech has been busy with America’s Cup work. The Avondale based company is renowned for its specialist carbon fibre products for the marine industry.

The company, with a staff of 20, exports 80% of its production - spars, carbon tubes and sailbattens for yachts from racing dinghies to superyachts.

They built sail battens for Emirates Team New Zealand’s AC45 and AC72s, and foils, rudders and rudder stocks for the team’s trial boats the SL33 catamarans.
More America’s Cup work came from Core Builders Composites at Warkworth – 30 rudders for the AC45 fleet.

Managing director Alex Vallings says he’s had a significant amount of other work from ETNZ and Luna Rossa, including the control panels for the AC72 wings.

The work also increased the company’s skill base as staff assimilated new ideas and learned to work with new materials.

Flagz Group Limited
Flagz Group supplies Emirates Team New Zealand with all its flags, including the large New Zealand flags that flew proudly at the Valencia base in 2007 and the one that will be in San Francisco late this year.

The association with the team put Flagz director Shane Brown into contact with the America’s Cup organisation and the company has supplied all flags for the America’s Cup World Series regattas.

On each occasion Flagz had to quote against local suppliers - regattas were held in Portugal, England, Italy and the United States. The company supplied, course flags, identifying flags for chase boats, photo boats, media boats and team hospitality boats – all made in-house in New Zealand.

Flagz also supplied flags for the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas held in 2009 and 2010.
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