Preparing for the America’s Cup

When you see M/Y Little Blue in the slings of Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard’s (GCCM) straddle lift, she is an imposing sight.

This yacht has some serious ocean-going capabilities which are fully evident as her bulbous bow emerges from the Coomera River.  She arrived at the yard, under the watchful eye of Captain Dan Airey, after five years completing a world expedition.  It is now time for the next phase of her career.

Little Blue was launched in 2007 and purchased five years ago by her current Owner who was looking for a yacht to safely undertake some long-range cruising.  Dan, a native New Zealander, joined the yacht as captain taking her from the Mediterranean across the ‘pond’ to Florida.  As a purely private yacht, she cruised through the Bahamas and Caribbean before heading north up the US’ east coast to New York.  Dan and the Owner took the yacht back down to Cuba and through the Panama Canal before cruising Costa Rica and then across the South Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia.  The intrepid yacht cruised from the Whitsunday Island right down to Tasmania and everything in between.

It was an impressive and exhaustive five-year journey which landed them on the Gold Coast in March 2019 looking to the future.  With the America’s Cup in Auckland in the coming years, it was time to enter the yacht onto the charter circuit and so began, at GCCM, the process of placing her in PYLC code.  She also needed a hull refinishing to keep her in superb condition.

The yacht had completed a standard annual maintenance period in GCCM in late 2018 and been happy with the experience.  It helped that Dan and project manager, Pete Grocock, had known each other from their time in Florida, so the yacht returned to GCCM for this more substantial yard period.  Dan and the crew decided to self-manage the project selecting contractors on word of mouth and competitive quoting system.

“We were happy with the quality and pricing of the trades onsite.  When you are managing the project yourself, you rely on contractors to give accurate pricing and keep the project on time and in budget.  Total Refinishing, Lumark, Blackpond Marine Consultants and Precision Diesel in particular were great.  Aside from the contractors, having access to the GCCM courtesy cars was massively helpful to get myself and the crew around both in terms of logistics and costs.  Overall the process was wonderful and we have completed a significant amount of the engineering works to get into PYLC,” explained Captain Dan.

By early June, Little Blue was ready to depart and cruise out into the South Pacific.  When pressed as to their favourite destination so far, Dan felt each destination had something to offer.  It was the variety of those destinations they had visited which was the allure of yachting, although Cuba and the South Pacific got a special mention.  Yet, as a Kiwi who has been yachting overseas since 2011 and with members of the Owner’s family in New Zealand, it is clear they are all looking forward to spending some time in the Antipodes and making the most of the America’s Cup.

For our part, the GCCM team look forward to assisting M/Y Little Blue in the future.

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