On the third day of the 2019 ASMEX Conference, delegates were able to visit the south-east’s thriving shipyards – a group of 30 heading to Brisbane for site inspections at The Yard Brisbane and Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, followed by The Boat Works and Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard at Coomera.
“This was an addition to the program this year and it was well received,” said AIMEX CEO, David Good. “Delegates appreciated the first-hand experience of each of the very different shipyards, meeting management and gaining an understanding of the scope and scale of the offering in south-east Queensland.
“There’s a lot of investment, development and a proactive approach to attracting boats to our shores. Delegates can now see the preparedness of local yards to welcome the world’s superyachts, as well as servicing and refitting Australian vessels that cruise the east coast.”
At The Yard Brisbane, delegates were met by the management team for the site tour and morning tea. CEO Julie Cook and Development Manager, Nick McGuire presented plans for investment in upgraded infrastructure, including a 1280 tonne travel lift in the next two years, before they took a tour of existing infrastructure, including 70m and 90m project halls, both filled with superyachts.
“Delegates toured what we call The Big End of the facility, which comprises superyacht hardstand and project sheds,” said Mark Phelps, The Yard Brisbane’s International Development Manager.
“On the marina we had a 40m Huisman ketch, SY ANTARES, which was great for them to see significant international yachts seek our services.”
This was the first visit for most, while several were returning after two years or more, continued Mr Phelps. “It was pleasing to note their comments about The Yard Brisbane operating at a higher standard of professionalism and presentation. There was a feeling of mild surprise, as many didn’t realise The Yard Brisbane had such a high level of facilities now, let alone what’s in the pipeline.”
From there, the tour continued to Rivergate Marina & Shipyard where Director, Tom Hill welcomed delegates and, while the barbeque heated up, escorted them on a site tour.
“The tour took in the 55m superyacht shed with a vessel mid-refit, inspected custom builds, racing yachts and the various sailing and motor yachts on the 105-berth marina – some standouts such as SY TWIZZLE and SY MYSTERE,” explained Tom Hill.
Rivergate revealed its plans for the adjacent block of land for future expansion, as well as planned investment in larger lifting capacity and facility upgrades.
The international visitors were treated to an “Aussie barbie”, cooked to perfection by Rivergate’s Florian Archan, and spoke of their impressions of the ASMEX Conference and the yard tour so far.
Philipp von Arnim, Head of Business Development at Lürssen Yachts, said “It was great to be a part of an industry tour whilst I was in Australia, showing the refit and maintenance facilities in that part of the world. I was so impressed. I also see why a Lurssen superyacht recently enjoyed the service and expertise of Rivergate and plan to return to Rivergate again.”
Carmen Lau, Managing Director at Camper & Nicholsons Asia, said the tour was “extremely valuable” for gaining insight into the refit and repair capabilities in Australia.
“There are many yachts that we could send to Australia for projects and to enjoy the cruising, now that we know they would be well taken care of.”
Then it was back down to the Gold Coast for a tropical reception at The Boat Works, complete with Captain Jack and his beautiful offsider, forcing delegates to walk the plank to earn their refreshments.
Under the steel beams of the new superyacht sheds under construction on the impressive new northern site, The Boat Works owner, Tony Longhurst presented his vision for the 53-acre site.
“The Boat Works southern yard is at maximum capacity, lifting 50 boats each week, with lots of business for our tenants that cover all parts of the service, repair and refit industry.
“The new facility will welcome superyachts up to 45m, with a new 300 tonne lift arriving in eight weeks, superyacht berths, sheds and hardstand. Then in 2020, we will begin work on the lifestyle precinct with its restaurants, bars, boutiques, office space, function and conference centre, crew accommodation and pool on the top level.
“Our aim is not to be the best in Australia, or the Asia-Pacific, but the best in the world, with design, 5-star facilities for owners and crew, and the environmental protections we’ll have in place. This is a VIP, state-of-the-art yard and we have a full understanding of how a 5-star yard should function.”
Delegates compared The Boat Works’ development with the quality and community-feel of Rybovich Marina, West Palm Beach, Florida.
Further along the road, Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard welcomed delegates to the premises and the coach was able to drive into the dry storage facility, much to the delight of visitors. They toured the refit and superyacht sheds, and Luke McCaul General Manager, Customer Experience explained general operations, with the benefit of 80 trades and marine businesses on site.
They then headed to the superyacht basin, where Trenton Gay, Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard Chief Executive Officer and the team welcomed guests and spoke of the Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard’s history, its future development of the property and additional land poised for development.
Afternoon tea was served at the Quarterdeck Restaurant, overlooking the marina and delegates were able to inspect the superyachts that remained at the marina post-Australian Superyacht Rendezvous.
From Oceanmax, NZ, Nona Pedersen was thrilled to see the diversity of the Australian offering.
“For the past few years I have had a US focus, so it was great to see all the different yards and meet the great people who run them. They were all very different, and I am pleased to see their commitment to growth and innovation. It’s exactly what we need in the southern hemisphere!
“The Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard was extremely spacious and well organised, and their initiative of the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous is fantastic for the region.”
Steve Connolly, Director of Nautical Risk Solutions, had previously visited The Yard Brisbane, Rivergate and Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard, but it was his first visit to The Boat Works.
“It’s wonderful that fierce competition is driving expansion. It’s exciting. You could say it’s a case of ‘build it and they will come’, but the boats are already in our region, so it’s timely.
“Gold Coast City Marina has 20 hectares earmarked for development, and The Yard Brisbane is planning to add 100m waterfront berths which will be a great asset to south-east Queensland.”
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More at www.asmex-conference.com.au