The first 'Longer Long Lunch' was hosted by Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, in conjunction with Catalano Agents NZ.
The successful networking event was held at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) on Thursday 24 June 2021. The lunch was the opportunity for Captains from all over the region to socialise and exchange information and opinions about the region’s place and its prospects in an ever-changing World.
The Members’ Lounge at RNZYS was the ideal venue for the inaugural luncheon, and guests were treated to delectable cuisine featuring seasonal produce and seafood, complemented by local wine, with the picturesque backdrop of Waitematā Harbour, and taking pride of place among the vast cabinets of silverware, the America’s Cup.
The aim of the event was to capitalise on the strong bonds between Australia and New Zealand and foster a great connection among superyacht captains in Auckland. Amongst the topics discussed were, COVID-19 was at the forefront; border lockdowns, travel restrictions, protocols and how the global pandemic has impacted the entire industry. The Captains spoke of the many challenges they faced and the sentiments of their owners, many of whom were taking the opportunity to conduct maintenance and refit work ahead of a planned southern spring-summer of cruising. On a positive note, Captains and industry representatives were optimistic that yachting and charter would remain compelling propositions as they examined what the future could look like.
Following the lunch, emails and texts of thanks flowed in from Captains grateful for the show of support and the chance to unwind and socialise with their colleagues. “Thank you so much for the marvellous lunch at the Squadron. I enjoyed sharing thoughts and stories with my mates,” said one guest. “Thanks also for the marvellous documentation you gave us: Queensland SEQ Superyacht Guide and GSR. Great books I will keep with my pilot books.”
Sarah Egan, Director of Boat Style based in Brisbane, said the Auckland Long Lunch is a great initiative that “has legs”. “The camaraderie was excellent and the conversation as well,” she said. “The idea of the Australia-New Zealand bubble is an awesome marketing strategy for our region. Australia, New Zealand and eventually Fiji, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga. We’re all in the same pond and there is such a depth of talent here, as well as so many options for cruising superyachts to experience.
“COVID has created a new world. Owners are pushing to see more. Our aim should be to promote our region as a safe haven and entice superyachts from Asia and around the world to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific – for them to explore further afield and stay longer. Especially now with the new Australian charter legislation, there are so many reasons to stay a few seasons.”
Catalano Shipping Services is a global network that provides a seamless experience for large yachts. In New Zealand, Managing Director, Duthie Lidgard heads up the CSS New Zealand team which oversees all aspects of shore support, from immigration, customs, charter permits to provisioning, itineraries, crew and project management. Duthie described the lunch as “the ideal networking event and everyone commented that it was great, and it was perfect timing between restrictions! It was very valuable to get together to discuss projects we’ve worked on and upcoming projects we can collaborate on so vessels spend a full 12 months, or longer, down here. 30 international superyachts came to Auckland for the America’s Cup. They’ve done their time in NZ and it’s our objective to get them to stay on and see the rest of the region. The more they enjoy the whole region, the more they’ll spread the word and the tell others to come downunder.”
One things that stuck a cord with all the participants was the bonds between the Australian and NZ industries and how together they can achieve more. Now everyone is looking forward to 2022 when the event can only grow even bigger and better!