Marra Marine recently completed an impressive Leo Young Speedboat, a stunning collaboration between the Tauranga-based owner Kim Henderson and Marra Marine and its team of sub-contractors. For everyone concerned, it turned out to be so much more than just another boat.

Kim saw the hull for sale and was initially very keen on building a flat bottomed, vee-type boat like those he had seen while living in Colorado. His original vision was for a very low draught boat with a huge V8 sticking out the top. However, after seeing ths Leo Young Speedboat, he decided it was a more user friendly boat for family and friends to enjoy as well. He is delighted he went down this route, as this is a boat to be shared.

After purchasing the raw, unfinished hull, Kim called in Tim Marra from Marra Marine for the project. The project with Marra Marine took two years and was completed in the summer of 2024, just in time for the Lake Rotoiti Annual Classic Wooden Boat Parade where it was seen… and indeed heard! The boat is named Bluebird, a touching reference to Kim’s son, who sadly passed away in 2022.
The construction is cedar with fibreglass sheathing on the hull. The deck is solid mahogany with 14 clear polyurethane coats. Bluebird is 6.018 metres long, powered by a Chevrolet 454ci V8 engine producing 700hp @ 6800rpm. It’s built by the Dubai-based offshore powerboat racing team Victory and transfers its power through a Borg Warner Velvet Drive, 15-degree V-Drive configuration. And yes, she flies! At 3500rpm she is doing 42 knots, still well short of the 6800rpm redline.

The owner’s vision was achieved and he and his family are very happy with the ‘classic design’ of boat, which resembles a bit of a hot-rod. This project was special. Given the length of time, almost all the team at Marra Marine had input. “We are so pleased to be able to deliver this project for the owner and his family. We as a team understood the significance of Bluebird and made sure we stopped at nothing to ensure she was absolutely perfect,” said Tim Marra, Director Marra Marine

Boatbuilding: Marra Marine
Engineering: Graham Gatiss and the owner
Marine wiring: Jamie Chandler
Upholstery: Matamata Motor Trimmers
Painting: Super Yacht Coatings 
Stainless: Mount Marine Fabrication