Sanctuary Cove 2022

Travelling freely to an overseas boat show for the first time in a few years was an opportunity many New Zealanders took. The number of Kiwi voices at the show and full flights there and back were a significant indication of just how many! Story by Andrew Howard.

The location of the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS), halfway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, provides a superb venue. The show runs over four days, and to do it justice, requires at least two days to see it all and also enjoy meaningful conversations with vendors and fellow boaties.

The range of boats on display at this show is always extensive, with something for everyone. The 33rd Sanctuary Cove Boat Show was loaded with everything from luxury motorboats and yachts, to trailer boats, PWCs, engines and supercars, watersports gear, gadgets and chandlery – even fishing lessons. It was also great to see a couple of high-profile New Zealand trailer boat manufacturers with large displays.

This year’s four-day show proved to be the classic ‘game of two halves,’ in that two of the days were bright and sunny but the other two were wet. Very wet! Fortunately, the show is very well-organised, with plenty of car parking and easy public transport options. Despite the challenges of keeping boats clean and dry inside when it was raining, the vendors were incredibly accommodating, helping show visitors to stay dry and look over the boats regardless of the rain.

Visitor numbers didn’t flag either, despite the weather, and there was an energy and buzz in the crowd that we haven’t seen in New Zealand for a couple of years.

Eyachts Managing Director Peter Hrones: “Despite some unfortunate weather, it was great to see so many still come to see our line-up of Axopar, BRABUS Marine and Pardo Yachts. Since bringing in the first European day boat in 2007, it is astounding to see how much this sector has grown. When Eyachts first brought Axopar to Australia in 2015, I thought this would be a niche brand, but now we are seeing so many people at the show who recognise and love these boats. Eyachts are now on track to have sold 250 Axopars by the end of 2022.”

Traditionally this is a show of world premieres, Australasian launches, and innovation. This edition of SCIBS certainly had all of those in spades.

The new Jeanneau 60 yacht was stunning, as were the three new Riviera models that premiered at the show: the 465 SUV Platinum Edition, 4600 SY and the company’s flagship 78 MY. The expanded display from Maritimo was its largest-ever at this show, and with three new models – M60 Flybridge, M600 Offshore Flybridge, and S600 Offshore Sedan – there was a feast of options to explore.

One of the best parts of any show is that the people behind any product or brand are usually present and available. In speaking with Tom Barry-Cotter, Maritimo’s Managing Director, we had a lengthy conversation about its new models and where the brand is heading globally, and in New Zealand. The new models capture heritage features like the walk-around deck and rear galley and include the more contemporary design elements that create more space and overall volume for customers.

Another highlight of the show was talking to the technical experts. The live ‘corrosion tank’ at the joint Propspeed and Marine Protection Systems stand was one such opportunity. The tank contained three different anodes, combined with a propeller coated in Propspeed. The purpose of the stand was to show two things: firstly, how effective Propspeed is in a natural world environment; and secondly, to show how it works with different anode types. The anodes on display included aluminium, zinc and Maddox. The latter is a proprietary alloy.

For most of us, anodes are not overly interesting – provided they work and we don’t need to change them too often… But this tank clearly showed the impact of the ‘anode drop’ onto the seafloor and on any sea-life ingesting these microparticles. The results were plain to see and, frankly, a bit frightening.

The Maddox product showed next to no anode drop, reduced fouling growth and lasted 50% longer than a traditional anode. These new anodes will not suit every vessel type, but with zinc anodes already banned in San Diego marinas, it won’t be long until we are encouraged, if not forced, to think differently about all matters below the waterline. It was a great innovation, and with Propspeed leading the charge in New Zealand, it was great to hear directly from them about how a New Zealand company is taking on the world and securing global naval contracts.

The range of personal flight boards is growing rapidly, with many more options on show than we have seen domestically. I am somewhat fascinated by these powered mini-craft, and I might have to get one soon!

What boat shows like these do exceptionally well is to feed our aspirations by providing the opportunity to get close to boats most of us will only ever dream of. Rick Rodwell, Ray White Marine’s CEO and founder, presented one such dream for everyone to see: the stunning Riva 88. This writer was fortunate enough to spend some time with Rick aboard this vessel, an enormous yet practical motor yacht.

The Riva 88 is a beautiful example of what is possible and seeing such a craft in person is just another reason to visit the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. If you have never been before, I highly recommend putting a visit to this boat show on your ‘to-do’ list.

Akaroa Yacht Club

The regional boating clubs around the country are hidden gems. Let’s start with A for Akaroa. Story by Alex Stone.

A gaff-rigged cutter of sublime beauty, its sails, its cordage, its hull, its entire being in fact, crafted from sterling silver. It’s the most impressive sailing trophy that’s held in New Zealand I reckon. Apart, perhaps, from the America’s Cup.

Only this one is here to stay. But right now, it’s behind glass, in a cabinet in the Akaroa Yacht Club. It’s for a race – not one for the faint-hearted – that’s somewhat in abeyance. Last competed in 2012, the Wellington-to-Akaroa yacht race, like many regional sailing events requiring some commitment, some time, some emotional investment, has been partly forgotten.

In the post-Covid world, where we New Zealanders may re-discover what really rings our bells – when we re-configure our stress and compromises – well then, I reckon the trophy for the Wellington-Akaroa yacht race will come out of its closet again. We owe it to ourselves not to overlook such authentic down-home challenges.

The Wellington-to-Akaroa race was first held in 1966. In fact, the Akaroa Yacht Club was established initially, purely, for the running of this single yacht race. No wonder it had such a fine trophy. Only, it didn’t have a clubhouse then. The building, originally a boat shed, was gifted to the club by larger-than-life local (and Christchurch) character Ces Stephens in the early 1980s.

But first, they had a race to run. Eleven yachts entered the inaugural Wellington-to-Akaroa Yacht Race. The winner was the Lyttelton gun boat of the time, Calypso, with an all-local crew.

There were stories aplenty from that race. The owner of Caprice, Wellington-based and the other main contender for line honours, suggested that Calypso had used the fuel that was on board.

“The only fuel we had,” was Calypso’s reply, “was beer.” In fact, Calypso’s motor seldom worked. In keeping with the flavour of the event, Spree’s crew of four were all farmers. (Incidentally, the district was then at the height of a boom in the export of cocksfoot grass seed – top quality.) Among them was Kit Grigg, who has farmed thereabouts all his life; and has become the club’s de-facto historian. We had fun poring over the pencil-on-paper calculations he still has in a notebook, outlining the handicaps and corrected times (long multiplication) for the yachts in those early races.

Still, it was a tight finish to that first race, with Calypso and Caprice crossing tacks as they beat up into Akaroa Harbour, and to a hero front-page picture in the Christchurch Press.

After the race, thoughts turned to a shore base. Ces declared from the deck of his boat Lady Barbara, “We need a clubhouse.” Local architect Colin Pilbrow was roped-in to square things up. He did a fine job – the clubhouse has ample storage space, the best hot showers, a killer pub, and full-width decks with a view to die for. For the alterations, Kit milled macrocarpa he had on his Hickory Bay farm. By 1985, the club had its flash clubhouse. In the early years of the big race, arriving crews were billeted in Akaroa family homes. The finishes of those races would find Kit – and most of the crews’ wives – sitting all night on the main town wharf.

Ah! A dock for the clubhouse. Let’s just say “some piles happened to fall off the back of a Council truck” (my informant must stay anonymous), and by the next sunset, were upright, in a not-so-straight line in the water extending out from the clubhouse deck.

The day we were there, the Sunday race boats were tied up, while post-race analyses raged on in the bar. Lesley and I were surprised to see the race starting from a line extending from that wharf, and finishing there. Which resulted in some tricky course-making and tacking in between the moored yachts. Like a number of clubs in Canterbury, Akaroa has quite a few Young 88s regularly racing. Meltdown, skippered by canny Gil Smith (we saw him finding puffs and lifts right up against the shore, and among the moorings) is usually the one to beat. Only, on that day Armalite a Ross 930 had beaten them across the line by half a length – literally!

The good folk of Akaroa Yacht Club miss those old days of the big race, and the occasional cruising boats that came down here too. Says commodore Patsy Little, “We used to enjoy offering them hospitality. The modern cruising boats are too well-equipped with showers and washing machines on board. We wish they’d pull in here instead and share a few yarns.” So, we did.

Akaroa Yacht Club stalwarts.

We found that the lovely little town of Akaroa had re-invented itself post-Covid – and post the controversial days of cruise ship visits, sometimes four a day. Most locals hated the ‘Disneyland madness’ they brought about. But cruising yachts? Always welcome.

As for the local economy, there are four companies doing tours of the bay, the two marine reserves, with the added bonus of (always) spotting the rare Hector’s dolphins. We were in the bay for a week and every day, all the dolphin tours boats went out – including the 100-year-old sailing ketch Fox II. Only this time, they were all filled with Kiwi visitors. All good.

The marine environment appears very healthy. We saw so many Hector’s dolphins, it’s hard to think of them as rare. Steve Dawson, a marine scientist who monitors research there, tells me there are about 15,000 alive – but all endemic to this coastline. Another feature is the prevalence of what the locals call whalebait, clouds of tiny-lobster-like krill that paint the water in moving blobs of red.

Akaroa Cruising Club changed its name to Akaroa Yacht Club in 2012, the year the Wellington-Akaroa Race was last sailed in its own right. The club retains a connection though, as a port-of-call in the triangular Wellington-Napier-Akaroa Race, which keeps going.

Says Kit, “While there are no plans to run the Wellington-Akaroa race currently, if enough interest is shown by Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club and others, it could well be re-activated.”

But I opine that it’s time that impressive silver trophy breaks from its shackles in the trophy cabinet of the Akaroa Yacht Cub. Those silver sails need to be contested for again. So, what do we all say –Akaroa Yacht Club – and the extraordinarily beautiful bay it finds itself in – is surely a place worth racing to?

Dynamic trim

After a Covid-induced hiatus of three years Advance Trident Limited (ATL) welcomed Zipwake’s Patric Nilsson to New Zealand for the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show.

Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, Zipwake manufactures an array of versatile, automatic interceptor-type dynamic trim control systems suitable for a wide range of planing and semi-planing vessels up to 50ft long.

Zipwake introduced its Series S fully retracting Dynamic Trim Control System at METS in 2015, which is where Blair Geldard secured the New Zealand agency for ATL. Sweden is where interceptor trim systems were first developed and Swedish manufacturers like Zipwake continue to lead the field.

Nilsson is responsible for Zipwake’s sales and business development throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Advance Trident Ltd is among Zipwake’s top 10 distributors globally.

Since the introduction of Series S in 2015, Zipwake has developed a range of models and accessories to suit almost any vessel between 20 and 50 feet. Over 1,000,000 Dynamic Control Systems have been sold around the globe. Zipwake is marketed in over 60 countries worldwide.

Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control system features fully retracting inteceptors and a Smart Ride controller.

“Since we first introduced Zipwake we have perfected the system,” says Nilsson. “It’s now so reliable that for every 10,000 systems sold, warranty claims make up just 0.04%.”

Boating NZ caught up with Nilsson and Advance Trident’s Blair Geldard on the ATL stand where Nilsson spent the weekend talking to show-goers about Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems.

Zipwake is a fully automatic and active system that uses a built-in GPS, 3D gyro and a 3D accelerometer. It dynamically eliminates boat roll and pitch, and automatically minimises wave resistance. Manufactured in Sweden, Zipwake systems are simple to install and easy to operate using Zipwake’s Smart Ride Controller. Affordable and easily expandable, they support integration with external devices via NMEA 2000 networks. “Although they can be operated in manual mode, the beauty of a Zipwake system is that it is fully automatic,” explains Geldard. “Zipwake takes the guesswork out of trimming a boat, its fastacting interceptors instantly dealing to any trim problems.”

Nilsson agreed that the system’s operational simplicity is one of its main strengths, but also highlighted the performance benefits: “A Zipwake system significantly enhances performance, fuel economy, comfort and safety when accelerating, turning or running in a seaway.”

Judging by the number of boats at the show fitted with Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems, New Zealand boat builders have been quick to see the benefits. BNZ

Superyachts to return

New Zealand’s air and sea borders will open from August 1, allowing tourists to again enjoy one of the world’s great natural playgrounds.

The move has delighted New Zealand’s superyacht industry. New Zealand has spent the past two years expanding superyacht offerings across its marine destinations, including additional inner city berthage in the heart of Auckland’s CBD and enhanced refit facilities.

There’s now a new 820-tonne travel lift in the central city, adding to existing 1,500-tonne and 600-tonne slipways and a 181m dry dock. Central Auckland boasts 75 superyacht berths with 40 berths for yachts between 25 and 40m LOA, and 30 berths capable of accommodating yachts between 40 and 100m. For the largest yachts – those over 100m – Auckland has five berths.

Elsewhere, Bay of Islands Marina now offers casual berthage to visiting cruising yachts and a new 120m superyacht berth. There’s also an expanded superyacht refit facility in Whangarei and a newly enlarged Vessel Works haul-out yard in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty.

Visiting foreign-flagged yachts benefit from a superyachtfriendly framework that includes newly completed refit facilities, a 24-month Temporary Import Entry (TIE), and GSTexempt refit services and supplies

The reopening of New Zealand completes the traditional South Pacific loop for yachts, with most favouring a journey through the islands of the South Pacific and on to New Zealand, where they can refit, bunker, provision, explore and charter. Many yachts use New Zealand as a base over several seasons, before resuming their onward journeys.


Through 2020 and 2021, the New Zealand superyacht industry turned inward to come back stronger with a more refined offering once the country reopened. Auckland’s expanded superyacht refit facilities now offer a refit experience unrivalled anywhere in the region for its proximity to the central city, travel lift and haul-out facilities, range of on-site marine trades, sustainable water treatment plant, hardstands and on-site work spaces, both in-water and on land. Additional refit facilities to the country’s north and south provide extra capacity.

Visiting superyachts will find safe and secure berths designed specifically for them, plus thousands of bays and islets to explore in the north and mountains and ancient fiords in the south.

In 2023, the world’s most-southerly superyacht regatta, the NZ Millennium Cup, will return. Taking place in the Bay of Islands, it’s a four-day celebration of camaraderie and fierce competition, set to a backdrop of daily dolphin vanguards and relaxed hospitality in one of the world’s great natural playgrounds. BNZ

Doctor’s orders

They were doctor’s orders of the kind Bernie Reid could only agree with. Keep rowing, mate – even if it hurts your ageing knees.

So, Akaroa-based Bernie – a multiple single sculls, even world age-group champion – designed a lovely recreational rowing boat in his mind and built it by eye in his shed from one sheet of 4mm plywood. It has no plans on paper.

It’s got lovely lean lines and sports a finely-crafted pair of long oars deployed on elegant outriggers fashioned from a yacht’s spreaders. Only, this boat – unlike all the racing shells Bernie has propelled in the past – has dispensed with the sliding seat.

Akaroa’s Bernie Reid in action.
Akaroa Boating Club’s first boat shed

Bernie had thus far remained relatively injury-free and fit, but a heart scare had cautioned him and his doctor. The solution: a recreational rowing boat Bernie can launch on his own and row every day, without the additional strain on his knees. The boat weighs in at 24kg and the sweeps are six inches shorter than is normal for a racing scull, in keeping with the little-less-effort approach.

So, every morning at about 9am Bernie strolls down to the historic rowing clubhouse and heads off for a quiet circuit on the water, usually accompanied by a few rare Hector’s dolphins. They are both iconic features of the bay.

Staying behind in the clubhouse are the memories of Bernie’s – and his family’s and friends’ – contribution to rowing in these parts, and much further afield.

Akaroa’s maiden double sculls champions, including Bernie’s father Dave
Bernie Reid competing internationally

Akaroa was for many years one of the most powerful rowing clubs in the country. In 1935, the eight from this remote harbour town became the Canterbury representative crew – the only time the entire Canterbury crew has come from one club. Bernie’s father Dave and his uncle Walter were among this champion crew.

Bernie himself went on to win the single sculls Masters’ World Championship in Italy in 1990 and in Miami in 1991.

Born in Akaroa, Bernie’s day job was house builder, but naturally with his wood-working skills, boats have always been a part of his life too. He built his first single scull, a finely-wrought craft sculpted from tortured plywood, 38 years ago.

Akaroa Boating Club’s third and current club house.

He also built the fast trailer-sailer Rapid Ride and worked on and sold quite a few yachts, including a trimaran that was for many years the fastest in the bay – and in all of Canterbury.

Along the way, Bernie helped restore the Akaroa Rowing Clubhouse in 1988. There’s history aplenty here. Old photos of great rowers, extensive honours boards with reams of gold lettering, a rowing four clinker-built from tōtara slid in among the rafters. Now the grand old building also hosts the Akaroa dinghy sailing club, and many a wedding.

Bernie’s bright red rowing boat is a reminder to all of us to live life to the full. And that rowing, just for fun, can also offer quiet, profound pleasure.

Bernie’s workshop – the neatest I have ever seen – used to be where the Walker family built the local coffins. But in defiance to all that, it’s also now produced the nicest wee recreational rowing boat, with the best back story. BNZ

Bernie rows his bright-red rowboat every day the conditions allow.

Fun & adventure – the RYCK 280

Hanse’s 2021 motor boating brand RYCK splashed down in Sydney late last year. Dealer Windcraft invited Kevin Green to use it as a media platform during the SailGP regatta on Sydney Harbour. It’s sharp and narrow hull proved ideal for cutting through the chop on a windy harbour as it ferried people to a mothership alongside the SailGP catamaran racing.

Named after the river that flows past the German yard, the RYCK 280 is designed as a utility boat by iconic naval architect Bill Dixon in conjunction with Hanse. It’s hard to avoid the comparisons with other rugged day-boats such as the Axopar 28, but RYCK is aiming more at the family market with the 280. And the RYCK 280 has its own charms – and, indeed, practicalities – such as the stepped topside that creates forward cabin space. Other useful features include the integrated bow roller/anchor and there’s an optional T-bar ski pole.

Blasting along at speeds of 40 knots was effortless and fun, even with three of us aboard, thanks to the stepped hull and a torquey 350hp Mercury Verado outboard. This is an in-line six cylinder with a 70-amp alternator to charge the battery. The near gale-force conditions also tested the 31-foot hull, which tracked straight thanks to its deep bow and pronounced deadrise running aft, which also reduces leeway.

As for me, I was snug behind the centre console under the cover of the T-Top bimini. Controls were simple yet sufficient, with a Simrad display, throttle on the right and an adjustable steering wheel.

Even more snug was my camera gear inside the cabin. The deep forefoot allows for a double vee-berth, generous storage and a separate toilet cubicle. Cooking is easy on the topside wet bar while dining can be enjoyed at the nearby table with a dropdown back that becomes a double sun pad.

I tested other features by regularly walking around the centre console to photograph from the sun pad on the foredeck, often relying on the sturdy handrails for support. My experience confirmed that the RYCK 280 is an ideal weekender, as well as a good media boat. BNZ

Way beyond willing and able

Imagine you and three shipmates take off to sail across the Cook Strait. Each single-handed in a twelve-foot dinghy. On a day the Interislander ferries were cancelled due to rough weather. Ten-metre swells out there.

Now imagine you and your mates are all disabled sailors in some way. Dennis Hebberley is hardlysighted, Katy Moanamika is on the Autism spectrum, two are normally wheelchair-bound, Otis Home with an s-shaped spine of spinabifida myelommeningoceie and Sam Gibson with really brittle bones.

You leave Picton at 7-30am to catch the tide. You arrive at Mana Island Yacht Club at 6pm. Ironically, half the time of the crossing is spent at either end of the voyage, in light, fickle winds.

Your rides are small Liberty class open boats, each ballasted with a 70kg centreboard. Which is a good thing, because none of you can stack out.

All this, after a week cruising these same wee boats in the Marlborough Sounds.

This is just one epic adventure recounted by the staunch sailors of the Napier Sailing Club’s very active Sailability (disabled sailing) contingent. The Cook Strait crossing was six years ago.

Says Dennis, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

Now Napier’s disabled sailors are evenly divided between those into racing, and those into more adventure sailing of the kind described above. But like all sailors everywhere, racers or adventurers, their time on the water has been curtailed by Covid. They’re all just getting back into it.

Dennis Hebberley says of Sam, he of the brittle bones, “He was absolutely fearless. A great adventurer. Sadly, he died while competing in his wheelchair at the Hastings Marathon, trying to raise money for a child with brittle bones.”

Based at Napier Sailing Club, Sailability Hawkes Bay has a fleet of four Hanse Libertys, designed in Australia, which have mainly been used for one-design racing. The boats carry an unusual rig: what from a distance appears to be a jib is actually a free-standing foresail with a wishbone boom. The mainsail, on its own free-standing mast, has a boom raked upwards, well away from any head-bonking danger. In effect, the Libertys are perhaps the smallest schooners. But their Cook Strait crossing certainly shows the seaworthiness and dash of these small yachts, and their unique design.

Two 303s – dual seat trainers – complement the racing/ adventuring fleet. And just outside their shed there’s New Zealand’s only SV14. It’s a high-tech dinghy of sharp lines and quite some performance. It’s perhaps the future of disabled dinghy sailing. Like the other established disabled sailing dinghies, it also has dual rudders, and a high boom. And a bowlaunched asymmetrical kite.

Disabled sailors in Hanse Libertys leaving Troy Channel to cross Cook Strait.

How it – the design – got here is a circuituous story.

The SV14 originated in Thailand where a group of disabled sailors were on a quest for a competitive but affordable boat. The Dutch design team Simonis-Voogd came to their aid and drew the boat. Later Fareast Yachts in Shanghai committed to building the boats at cost price. The SV14 has now taken off all over the world. The one in Napier, however, was built locally by Paul Freeman.

Besides Hawkes Bay, there are other Sailability outfits in Auckland, Nelson, Otago, Rotorua, Taranaki, Tauranga, Waikato, Wellington and Whangarei, all operating independently under the aegis of Yachting New Zealand.

All Sailability groups in the country have their own Facebook presence.

Most Sailability units offer a pathway into sailing, progressing through training, then individual fleet racing in the 303s and Libertys, then moving on to crewing positions and teamwork in bigger keelboats. There’s much to aim for. Lyttelton Yacht Club’s Andrew May is a world champion disabled sailor in keelboats, and three-times America’s Cup sailor Rick Dodson, now diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, is a great influence here, and has won up large too.

Like Rick, Dennis was a top-end sportsman before, too. A cricketer, basketballer – anything with round balls, in fact. “I started sailing when I Iost my sight. It disappeared overnight. I got a virus, and lost the use of one eye. Eighteen months later, I lost the other. That made ball sports impossible. But that doesn’t stop me sailing.”

True to his competitive spirit, on only his second day of yacht racing, he won every race. “I beat all the reps,” he recalls proudly.

At the first American Blind Sailing Regatta Dennis and his crew finished first-equal. They hit on a novel race-winning tactic. In the very narrow channel of the Alameida, California, race course, they could pull off port-tack starts, legitimately claiming the ‘water room’ right in the restricted water(!).

No doubt every Sailability unit has sailors with as much free spirit and firm resolve as them, and the crew at Hawkes Bay.

Sailing away from Napier on our 12m bridge-deck cat, with all comforts provided, we could only marvel at the chutzpah of the Sailability crews. We felt honoured and humbled to have met them. BNZ


EZoutboard: electric performance on a budget

EZoutboard is a newcomer to the portable electric outboard scene, offering high performance on a budget.

The NZ Electric Boat Company runs a fleet of electric hire boats on the Kerikeri River. Company founder Chris Claydon also imports and distributes a range of marine electric propulsion systems, including bolt-on sail- and pod-drives, hybrid systems and electric inboards from Dutch company Combi, plus electric outboards from Torqeedo and newcomer EZoutboard, one of which is featured here.

The EZoutboard that Chris demonstrated is the 48-volt EZ 20 model with a nominal 20hp equivalent power rating, optimised for high speed – much higher than most other ‘portable’ electric outboards. As Chris points out, “Everybody wants to go fast!” On a yacht tender or small auxiliary craft, it can replace a 15hp petrol outboard and provide similar or better performance.
The EZoutboard is also available in 6hp and 10hp equivalent versions – the motor casing cowlings are slightly different across the models to accommodate differently rated electric motors.
Manufactured in China, EZoutboards house the electric motor at the top, rather than in the propeller hub. The motor is cooled by a sealed circulating freshwater system that sheds heat through the immersed leg – the same principle as keel cooling.
Unlike some electric outboards, which use off-the-shelf outboard motor legs and mechanicals, EZoutboard legs are custom-made. Incorporating water passages for engine cooling and an oil-free belt drive transmission, they are completely maintenance-free. And since the custom leg accommodates standard Mercury props, finding exactly the right propeller for your vessel is easy, says Chris.

The clamp-on EZ 20 is adjustable for short or long shaft applications and the tiller handle offers a range of height and reach adjustment, as well as three operation modes. Eco mode pushes the boat up to hull speed while Normal is for everyday operation. Obviously, Sport mode unlocks the motor’s full power potential and delivers its high-speed performance.
However, like any electric propulsion system, speed/thrust comes at a cost: battery life. For the demonstration Chris used an improvised battery set-up comprising four 50Ah batteries with 10kWh capacity – far more than is necessary for most applications. He typically supplies EZoutboard packages that include the motor and two lightweight EZoutboard 30Ah or 50Ah lithium LiFePo4 batteries, plus cables and connectors.

Batteries weigh between 17 and 26kg each. Two, three or more batteries can be used to increase range and endurance – two 50Ah batteries provide the EZ 20 with several hours of normal operation and 30 minutes at full speed.
We tried the EZ 20 clamped to the transom of a TrueKit Discovery 400 inflatable catamaran tender/dinghy. The outboard looks solidly built and proved easy to operate – much like a conventional petrol outboard, in fact. The operation mode is selected using a dial on the tiller while forward, neutral or reverse is selected by twisting the handle grip one way or the other – more twist equals more speed. The operator’s magnetic ‘safe key’ attached to the safety lanyard must be engaged to operate the motor.
Switching between modes on the fly is easy – Chris recommends starting off in Eco or Normal mode if manoeuvring in close quarters before switching up. With all the motor’s torque and power instantly available at a twist of the throttle, it’s easier to control the thrust in one of the lesser modes.

A joystick remote control is also available for remote-steer installations. Voltage, amps, remaining battery capacity, motor rpms, motor temperature and the mode currently selected can be graphically displayed on a mobile device via Bluetooth using the EZoutboard app.
The three modes provide quite different boating experiences: Eco is fine for tootling around the marina or manoeuvring near the dock, Normal provides a decent turn of speed without excessively draining the batteries, while Sport really gets the Discovery up and running. Two adults onboard, plus extra batteries, we achieved perhaps 20 knots – impressive performance for an electric outboard.
Impressive too is the price, which starts at around $7,000 plus GST for the EZ 20 (motor only) or $4,150 for the EZ 6 ($5,620 plus GST with one battery). A typical EZ 20 set-up with two 50Ah batteries will set you back around $12,000 plus GST.
Compared to other electric outboards, that’s great value.

Mercury Verado 600hp V12

So, what’s it like to drive a big RIB with a pair of 600hp Mercury Verado outboards bolted to the transom?

In a word, awesome, for all the right reasons – shove-in-the-back acceleration, instant throttle response and blistering top speed, but also mechanical excellence, exceptional refinement and effortless operation.
Mercury’s most powerful outboard to date delivers on every level, including styling. Essentially two V6 Verado powerheads stacked end on end, the new V12 is a tall motor, but a cleverly-designed solid aluminium bracket compensates for the engine’s height and ensures it can be tilted completely clear of the water.
Available in black or white with understated graphics, Mercury’s Verado V12 is stylishly modern – muscular looking and well-proportioned.

Most powerful
The new 7.6-litre V12 Verado is currently the world’s most powerful production outboard, producing 600hp at the propshaft. The same V12 platform, engineered for commercial applications, is used in the 500hp SeaPro outboard.
The V12 Verado’s naturally-aspirated, large displacement quad-cam powerhead is a torque monster designed to power large centre-consoles, day boats, luxury cruisers and more – in our case an 8.5-tonne Rayglass Protector RIB – in single or multiple engine installations.
Rigorously tested over thousands of hours, the new outboard benefits from improved corrosion-inhibiting coatings and seals, an industry leading 150-amp alternator and enhanced engine monitoring systems to improve the overall boat ownership experience.
Mercury built the V12 Verado outboard to make maintenance easy. Capable of operating for 200 hours before requiring routine service, including oil changes, basic maintenance for this engine can be done through the top cowl service hood while the boat is still in the water. The entire cowl only comes off for more in-depth service at 1,000 hours or five years.

The new Verado is packed with engineering innovations, including industry-firsts for outboards: a two-speed automatic transmission and the outboard segment’s first steerable gearcase.
The streamlined, small diameter gearcase has dual, contra-rotating propellers with three blades in the rear and four blades at the front, providing outstanding hydrodynamic efficiency. Available in pitches up to 18 inches, these large diameter contra-rotating propellers transfer more thrust to the water and minimise slip, providing more rapid acceleration.

Unique steering
Steering is achieved by rotating the gearcase, which can pivot as much as 45° at low speed – far more than the 30–32° possible with a conventional outboard installation. Joystick control works even better, since there is a greater range of movement, while the contra-rotating configuration also makes docking manoeuvres easier by providing greater forward and reverse authority at slow speed.
The steerable gearcase offers numerous advantages. Digital steering is integrated, so no hydraulic hoses and mounting complications, and the powerhead – everything visible above the water – remains fixed in place. It doesn’t pivot on the transom to steer like a normal outboard does. For multiple rigs, this means the V12s can be mounted closer together, since the powerheads won’t interfere with one another, saving transom space. The lower units also tilt completely clear of the water.
Adjusting to the non-pivoting powerhead(s) is kind of odd at first, especially when backing up, since there is no visual clue as to which way the propellers are facing, but there’s a useful rudder angle indicator included in the digital display. You quickly get used to it.


Two speeds
The Verado’s two-speed automatic transmission works seamlessly, automatically selecting low gear for hole shots and slow speed manoeuvres and shifting to high gear at cruising speed and above.
Low gear is 20% lower than high gear, leveraging torque to accelerate the boat onto the plane more quickly; high gear delivers power all the way up to rated speed. Grab a handful of throttle and the transmission kicks down to propel the vessel forward, just like a car with an automatic transmission. Decelerate and the transmission automatically shifts down to low.
In practice, gear changes are almost imperceptible unless you concentrate on the rev counter. Hydraulic shifting – synchronised on multi-engine rigs – eliminates ‘shift clunk’, something we remarked on when using Mercury Joystick Piloting for Outboards.
The two-speed transmission also contributes to excellent fuel economy and exceptionally low sound levels, especially at cruising speed. We noted how smooth and quiet the twin engine installation was – the Protector 410 Targa has an open-backed hardtop, but we could easily hold a conversation underway.

Digital control
The V12 Verado outboard comes standard with Mercury’s Next Gen Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) system. The new controls are sleek and ergonomic. Mercury has made them more intuitive by adding features like pushbutton access to Active Trim, which automatically adjusts trim for optimal performance. The dual-handle console-mount control for multi-engine boats includes an integrated digital display that connects boaters with valuable system information and helpful pop-ups.
Multi-engine controls have a start/stop-all button for all engines and buttons for starting and stopping individual engines, as well as the ability to trim all or individual engines.

Rayglass 410 Targa

The new Verado V12s were demonstrated on a custom-built Rayglass Protector 410 Targa.
These engines are the world’s first production outboards to feature a V12 powerhead, Mercury’s most powerful production engine to date, and the most powerful engines ever to be fitted on an RIB vessel. With a total of 1,200hp, the Protector has more power than the Aston Martin Valkyrie, a $5.18 million hyper-car.
Weighing almost twice as much as the 450hp outboards usually fitted to this Protector model, Rayglass had to re-engineer the vessel’s transom structure to make it strong enough to handle the weight and massive torque of the new V12 Verados.
Other custom features include enhanced seating, a recessed BBQ and new teak hatch lids. The vessel is fitted with three Ixnav screens that enable digital switching, push-button start, digital throttle technology, joystick piloting, Skyhook advanced controls and more, designed to make operating and monitoring the vessel as stress-free and easy as possible.

Marooned, 1959-style

My boyfriend Fred and I sprawled on a sandy cove of Motutapu Island, which adjoins Rangitoto in the Hauraki Gulf.

That was a fun sail across,” I commented. “I think I did alright on the trapeze for the first time.”

I didn’t say it had scared the hell out me. From my parent’s beach house at Matakatia Bay on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Motutapu was further away than it looked. We’d sailed across the sparkling waters of the Waitemata in Fred’s new 18-foot fibreglass yacht.

“A bit more practice and you’ll be good,” Fred said, “then I won’t need to swear so much.”

Having eaten our sandwiches and collected some rock oysters in the empty beer bottle, it was time to sail home. Fred was a good sailor, or else my mother wouldn’t have entrusted me to him. Now he looked across the Gulf with a frown.

“The breeze has got up a bit,” he said presently. “It’ll be quite choppy out there. I think we’ll wait a little longer. The wind usually drops about five o’clock.”

Kinsa as a 17-year-old debutan

We waited, bored, and collected more oysters. By five the breeze had not dropped – it was even stronger. Cold now, we put on all that we had – life jackets over our swimsuits. The little beach cove tucked in between rocky promontories suddenly felt less friendly. Ever larger waves were dashing themselves against the rocks and the sun was setting.

“Mum will be getting anxious,” I said to Fred, “and I’m feeling nervous. What are we going to do?”

“We’re safer to wait here,” was his reply.

I felt like a marooned sailor – I was one!

It grew dark. In 1959 there was no way to communicate our situation to anyone. Suddenly I spotted a flicker of light on a nearby beach.

“What’s that?” I drew Fred’s attention to it.

“Looks like help to me,” he answered. “Come on. We’ll sail there under the jib. Hurry, before they leave.”

To say I was frightened as we navigated unsteadily around the rocks, guided only by the glare of foam as waves broke over them understated it. One wrong move from Fred and the yacht would be dashed to pieces and in the dark, we’d be battered and drowned. We tried shouting but the waves were too noisy. My heart was in my mouth, but somehow Fred beached us safely.

A family was there, cleaning fish that they’d caught by the light of a lantern. As surprised to see us ghosting into the cove as we were relieved to find them, they offered us accommodation for the night. We learned there was an army barracks on Motutapu and the family was using part of it for a holiday. It was the only time they’d been night fishing.

They put me in one barracks of forty beds and Fred in another and promised to try to contact my family. No food was available for us as they were leaving the next day. I found it impossible to use the shower – there was only a millimetre between freezing cold and scalding hot. I crept into my Army bed cold and lonely, hungry and miserable. Army rations, I supposed.

Next morning when I awoke, the first thing I saw were three children standing in the doorway staring in wonder at the ‘shipwrecked sailor’ in their midst.

Kinsa's boyfriend at the time, keen sailor Fred Herbert.

Later that morning we sailed back to Whangaparaoa to face the barrage.

“When you didn’t come back, we thought you’d capsized,” Mum informed us frostily. “We sent out Lew and old Jimmy to look for you.”

“Then as it got darker, other people took their boats out to help search,” Dad added, glaring accusingly at us, “but it was hopeless. They couldn’t see a thing.”

“But it was wonderful to get the phone call to say you were safe,” Mum gave me a hug. “We really couldn’t catch all they said, the connections were so difficult.”

From an old phone on the island army base to the Auckland telephone exchange, to another older exchange at Whangaparaoa to the wind-up phone at Matakatia on a party line shared by twelve others (which we were privileged to share only because my father was a doctor), it was no wonder there was a lack of clarity.

My parents must have appreciated Fred’s focus on safety rather than attempting the sail. They allowed me to go sailing with him again. BNZ

Note: The military barracks at Administration Bay is now an outdoor education camp run for school students.

More Coastguard action, fewer boating incidents!

Tower and Coastguard calls for support from local communities to keep our waters safe. Article sponsored by Tower Insurance.

New Zealand’s recreational boating scene has never been busier, with closed borders and hot weather over the summer months, record numbers of Kiwis have been hitting the water amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Coastguard New Zealand, there was a 30% increase in trip reports in January 2022, compared to the same period in 2019.

To help the more than two million boaties have a great time out on the water safely and bring much needed support to Coastguard volunteers around the country, Coastguard joined forces with Tower last year. This summer, despite record numbers of Kiwis hitting the water, Coastguard has experienced a reduction of incidents from 978 last summer to 916. Coastguard volunteers spending more than 2,000 extra hours on the water over the holiday period compared to last highlights the value of preventative actions – being on the water as much as possible to quickly support those that need assistance.

Tower CEO, Blair Turnbull says while insurance helps boaties recover their vessels and equipment from loss and damage, it’s Coastguard volunteers who make sure they get home safe when the unexpected happens.

“Protecting what matters to our customers has long been a steadfast value of Tower’s, so partnering with Coastguard New Zealand was an easy choice.

“There are about 2,000 trained and skilled volunteers ensuring our safety across the coastlines, major rivers and lakes of Aotearoa. After two years of COVID-19 and lockdowns, we anticipated this summer would be a busy one, so we wanted to ensure everyone on the water could continue to rely on Coastguard.”

Coastguard’s Head of Operations Rob McCaw says the most common causes of boating incidents are mechanical and electrical issues, followed by running out of fuel.

“It’s important that boaties think about the maintenance of their vessel as often as their car’s. As when life gets busy or the weather’s not playing the game, boats can often sit idle for periods of time without use, regular checks and maintenance can make all the difference when out on the water,” he said.

“Also, if you’re new to boating or haven’t been out in a while, it’s well worth getting yourself upskilled with our Coastguard Day Skipper Course which covers all the basics and gives you the confidence to head out and have a great time.”

Seven things to check before each trip: 

  1. Check your lifejackets are in good condition and there is one for everyone on-board.
  2. Log a trip report with your VHF, *500 on your mobile or with the touch of a button via the Coastguard App
  3. Carry two forms of water-proof communication (a charged and working VHF radio and a phone in a waterproof bag)
  4. Check your local marine weather forecast
  5. Check your fuel levels. Always remember the rule of thumb – budget to use 1/3 of your fuel getting there, 1/3 getting back, leaving 1/3 as reserve if you need it
  6. Check your insurance is up to date
  7. Check your Coastguard membership is current so you know we’ve got your back with free non-urgent assists should things not quite go to plan

Tower also urged boaties and local communities to help support Coastguard’s mission to bring Kiwis home safely.

“Tower will continue to partner with Coastguard to help Kiwis enjoy more time on the water, and to help boost awareness around boating safety. We are proud of this partnership and hope that local communities throughout Aotearoa will keep on supporting this vital service too,” says Turnbull.

Currently there are almost 45,000 Coastguard members in New Zealand. Last year, Coastguard New Zealand received over 275,000 radio calls and carried out more than 3,500 missions to bring boaties home safely.

If you wish to support Coastguard New Zealand by volunteering or donating, visit their website to find out more.

Tower boat insurance customers can enjoy $30 off Coastguard individual memberships for additional peace of mind while out on the water. To find out more about Tower’s boat insurance, visit

Image courtesy of Coastguard NZ.

A little consideration

A boatie’s dream summer is full of swimming, sunshine, fishing, great food and adventure – as well as relaxation.

After many weeks locked away, like most Aucklanders we were ready to escape, so by December 27, 2021, we were on our way to Great Barrier Island.

We had plans to go to the Mercury Islands, but the wind had other ideas for us. Two weeks away from the city was the main objective though, as the frustration of being locked away from the sea for so long had been hard to bear at times.

Boating holidays are a great way to meet up with old friends and make new ones. This year we packed our Genesis ProFish with all the essentials, including the dog, and did just that. It was great to see our friends and family enjoying themselves and we met some fantastic Barrier locals and visitors along the way too.

We saw the very best of boating behaviour where people showed total respect for one another, but at times we experienced the very worst of boating behaviour too.

The worst boating behaviour is ignorance – ignorance of the rules, of etiquette and of the rights of other boats/people.

With the post-Covid boom in boat purchases, many of the new boaties on the water may not be aware, or choose not to be aware, of how their behaviour and the way they operate their boats affects others.

We were subject to skippers entering bays at a high speed and dropping anchor with no regard to the proximity of other boats or how far they might swing in different conditions. Waking up a skipper late at night to advise them their boat is about to collide with ours is no fun for anyone.

Another time, the towering wake of a large vessel screaming past with people sitting on the bow enjoying the ride left us holding on tight and shaking our heads in disbelief.

These are just a couple of examples of poor boating etiquette, but not the worst we saw this summer cruise. The worst was a blatant disregard for rules and safety.

The dog and us in our happy places.

The Catherine Bay entrance is a popular place for diving and fishing and this summer was no exception. With a 35ft launch anchored close to the rocks and displaying its diving flag, we decided to drift-fish approximately 75m away from them, constantly monitoring our distance but confident we were all good with our sea anchor out. We could see two decent-sized boats coming our way and thought that, surely, they would not go between us… Surely, they knew to stay a minimum of 50m away from boats displaying a dive flag? And they must know to reduce speed to less than five knots when passing that close to us, right?

But they clearly didn’t! The wake they left was very uncomfortable for us, but it was shocking to see how close they came to the dive boat.

Another instance: when entering Man of War Passage after an average day of fishing at approximately 6pm one afternoon, we were subjected to a newish 72ft motoryacht coming in from our starboard side, cutting us off from the entrance. It left us rocking and rolling while scrambling to get out of its way, hanging on to ride out the wake and just managing to save the dog falling over the side. The saying “all the gear, but no idea” came to mind!

A glorious sunset from the boat.

These examples are just a few of the incidents that left us shaking our heads and wondering how on earth boat owners think this is okay. Having a boat brings a responsibility to consider others and adhere to the rules. And the larger and more powerful the boat, the greater the impact it has on others.

The next time you want to moor in a bay, consider how far other boats will swing and what impact your anchoring will have on their enjoyment – remember, they were there first.

The next time you are in a hurry to get somewhere, or just feel like burning fuel at a great rate, consider the smaller boats and the impact your wake will have on them. Other boaties have just as much right to enjoy the marine environment as you do.

Most importantly, LEARN THE RULES! Rules are not there to limit your enjoyment but to save lives. Owning an expensive, powerful boat does not give anyone the right to disregard the rules and put others at risk.

Maybe Australia has got it right in ensuring all skippers have a licence before they can operate a boat. You are not allowed to drive a car without one. BNZ