45-metre Delta-built superyacht, Gran Finale, set course for Australia towards the end of 2022 with work needed to be done in order to capitalise on the Australian summer cruising season and iconic New Year’s Eve festivities. Captain Josh Kay shares his appreciation for the country’s exemplary superyacht service providers, who ensured a seamless entry and experience for the yacht.
As a destination, Australia offers an all-year-round playground that is becoming increasingly sought-after by superyachts. The adventure and diversity of these cruising regions is not the only attraction for yachts visiting the country, with a wealth of world-class shipyard and marina facilities creating a thriving yachting hub in the Asia Pacific region.
It was both the cruising potential and the opportunity for high-quality maintenance work which attracted Gran Finale to Australian shores. The superyacht engaged award-winning, Brisbane-based shipyard, Rivergate, to assist with its service requirements, whilst working alongside agency Superyachts 153° to ensure a smooth entry into the country.
“Rivergate were strategically positioned for our cruising, coming from New Caledonia,” explains Captain Josh Kay. “They visited the yacht in Fiji to determine the scope and promised to deliver the huge workload in the allotted timeframe.
“It’s not often a yard exceeds expectations, but Rivergate and their team went above and beyond to ensure a seamless stay, which had the whole crew and yacht owner very impressed.
“The work was professional, well communicated and at very fair prices.”
Rivergate’s location, nestled between the popular cruising grounds of Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, makes the facility an ideal refit destination for yachts in-between seasons. The major development of a new Superyacht Hub at Rivergate marks a response to the growing demand from visiting yachts, but it is the care and attention of its project management team which has earned consistent commendation for this family-owned shipyard.
“Australia is a long way from the West Coast of the States or Europe,” explains Corina Wilson, Managing Director of yacht agency Superyachts 153°. “So to have world-class shipyards available in our country is vital to support superyachts when they are cruising in our region. The team at Rivergate were calm and professional when hauling the vessel, which instilled confidence in the Captain.”
The team at Superyachts 153° worked alongside Rivergate once confirmations was received of the yacht’s intention to haul-out in Australia. Ongoing communication ensured all international freight and logistics was coordinated with ease, and Superyachts 153° were present onsite during the haul-out to provide additional support to the vessel.
Australia has been made more accessible for superyachts since the passing of key legislation at the end of 2019. Captain Josh highlighted the benefit of engaging local expertise to guarantee a smooth entry process, allowing the yacht to focus on preparing its voyage and welcoming guests.
“There’s a lot of paperwork involved, including crew visas and certain entry classes for the yacht. It is important that the agent understands your intended purpose for visiting the country.
“We needed to make sure all documentation was carried out promptly due to our busy schedule. Superyachts 153° took care of all entry requirements and paperwork, which removed a huge workload from myself.”
Superyacht 153°’s Corina Wilson added, “there is a lot of information to provide captains entering Australia. To save overloading the captain, our goal is to minimise paperwork and streamline relevant documents.
“We capture all the vessel requirements and Border Force information via our online forms early in the communication stages, which is a click and upload process, and we don’t repeat what is required. We keep in touch via WhatsApp or whatever works efficiently for the Captain, and are available 24/7 for further questions or clarification.”
Since arriving to Coral Sea Marina in October, Gran Finale cruised the Whitsunday Islands with her owner before heading to Brisbane to complete a month of maintenance works at Rivergate. With everything in order before Christmas, the superyacht was able to welcome back her owner to enjoy the iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks on Sydney Harbour, where she berthed at the centrally located Sydney Superyacht Marina.
“It’s the yacht’s third visit to Australia in 20 years, and after Covid we were looking forward to the warm Australian hospitality,” shares Captain Josh. “The Whitsundays were beautiful as always, and we visited our favourite marina in the world – Coral Sea Marina – where they really know how to look after you!
“Our focus was the Sydney fireworks as, after a couple of years of cancellations, we knew it was going to be big and it didn’t let us down.”
There are already a number of high-profile superyachts considering or already booked to tour the spectacular Australian cruising grounds in 2023. With a wealth of yachting expertise in Australian shipyards, marinas, and agencies, the accessibility of this adventure-filled destination has never been greater.
“Reach out!” is Corina Wilson’s advice to any captains contemplating a voyage Down Under. “We are more than happy to assist with questions, itineraries, or whatever you may need prior to signing with us. Or, provide instructions to other South Pacific country agents. We would love to see more vessels cruising our region and discovering the unique experiences on offer here.”
“It’s not often a yard exceeds expectations, but Rivergate and their team went above and beyond to ensure a seamless stay.”
Captain Josh Kay – M/Y Gran Finale