DOUBLE BONUS: Boat & Cruise
In the good old days buying a new boat from a foreign land used to be a risky, not to mention pricey, exercise. The build could be of dubious quality and the product would take a long time to get to our little part of the South Pacific, well away from the manufacturers and their warranties.
With the rise of the quality production boat manufacturers in Europe over the last 20 years all that has changed. Even in New Zealand, which is known for its well-built custom boats, most of the new boat market is now made up of imported production boats. Buying a European production boat here has traditionally been based around shipping it direct from Europe, as most New Zealand agents keep only a small range in stock. While seen as a disadvantage by some, it can now be turned into the best of advantages.
Ordering your boat from the European factory, having it commissioned there and then launched in time for a cruise in the Mediterranean or Adriatic is now an option. Once the
cruise has been completed over the northern summer, the boat can then be shipped back to New Zealand to arrive in time for the southern summer – with all the bugs ironed out and a boatload of memories in tow.
One of the advantages is that the boat remains relatively close to the factory during the all-important commissioning stages. Using the boat in cruising mode will flush out any problems or warranty issues, which can then be quickly sorted out by the factory and fixed on the spot.
While this knowledge is nice to have as a back-up, most production boats now on the market have quality assurance measures and preferred suppliers, which means you will be focussing on the other big advantage: a great opportunity for a European cruising holiday.
Richard and Suzy Wardenburg, the New Zealand agents for Greenline Yachts and other European brands, put this idea to the test recently when purchasing their own 48-foot (14.63m) Greenline Flybridge Cruiser from Greenline Yachts factory in Slovenia.
“It was such a great way to introduce ourselves to the new boat,” said Suzy. “From the outset it was a genuine experience, from seeing the production line at the Greenline factory, to exploring the beauty of Slovenia while we had the boat commissioned.”
The Wardenburgs met their new boat, Kiwi Green, at the Portoroz Marina in Slovenia before embarking on a journey south through the myriad islands of Croatia’s Adriatic coast.
“It was reassuring to have the Greenline technicians there while we were getting ready to cruise. We were also able to fit the boat out with the best gear as both Slovenia and nearby
Italy have good quality equipment at reasonable prices,” said Suzy.
With Kiwi Green fitted out, the Wardenburg’s headed south on a 240 nautical mile cruise to Kotor in Montenegro, via the Istrian Peninsula and the Kornati Islands.
“The cruising is magic!” said Suzy. “There are plenty of anchorages, however most nights we booked in to the waterfront quay of one of the many beautiful small towns amongst the islands. It was stern-to Mediterranean mooring with a selection of restaurants and bars right at your boarding ladder.”
This factor alone made it quite different to the sort of cruising we are familiar with in New Zealand where anchoring out is the norm.
“We narrowed our favourite spots down to Brbinj Cove on the island of Dugi Otok near the Kornati Islands, the town of Skradin on the inland
waterways of central Croatia and Stiniva Cove on the island of Vis. We were spoilt for choice, as all of it is pretty amazing,” said Suzy.
“If we needed to provision along the way we went to one of the mainland ports where there were big supermarkets to do a stock up.”
The mainland ports were good for logistics as well: “We had several groups of friends and clients meet us along the way, and with airports and buses, access was a breeze. Everyone was able to meet us, and with the short distance between ports, it was always easy to coordinate the crew changes.”
The cruise south was enough to whet the appetite for more. “Once we reached Montenegro we had a definite list of places we wanted to revisit on our way back north, as well as many new areas we had missed on the way south,” said Suzy.
Part of the advantage of cruising the Adriatic this way was that the Wardenburgs had many of the potential bureaucratic hassles ironed out by registering the ship as a New Zealandflagged vessel. “It was also great to fly the New Zealand ensign so far from home,” said Suzy.
The Wardenburgs were able to cruise for three months before returning to Portoroz to prepare the boat for shipping. Kiwi Green was then taken to the Italian port of Trieste, where she was craned directly from the water onto a container ship. With the aid of a customs agent, they were able to work through the fine details of import and export with ease.
After her transit to New Zealand, a trip that typically takes six to eight weeks, Kiwi Green has arrived in the port of Tauranga in time for summer. She will be attending the Auckland On Water Boat Show with a boat-load of memories from one of the world’s best cruising grounds in her wake.