Athena biggest refit yet in NZ

By Kieran Nash

Superyacht Athena. Photo / Supplied
Superyacht Athena. Photo / Supplied

One of the world's largest private sailing yachts, Athena, is due to arrive in Auckland today for a super-sized makeover.

No one will "talk numbers" but there is little doubt the contract will be eye-wateringly lucrative - all the dollar figures associated with superyachts are big.

The 90m yacht, owned by American billionaire and Netscape founder Jim Clark, is believed to be worth between $70 and $100 million.

The three-masted schooner is decked out with such luxuries as a formal dining room, media lounge, salon, and custom-built kitchen.

The refit is being done by Orams Marine Services in Auckland. Managing director Craig Park says the whole boat is being re-painted and the interior re-varnished.

"It's the biggest boat to be refitted in New Zealand," he says. "It's a full re-paint, it's the first since the launch.

"It's really a cosmetic re-fit although all five engines will be serviced."

Athena will join more than a dozen multi-million dollar floating palaces which are in New Zealand's waters for the summer to escape the cyclone season of the tropics.

Most of the superyachts in New Zealand at the moment are private vessels. But the 53m SuRi, a converted North Sea fishing boat, is available for charter for just over $291,000 a week. This doesn't include fuel or food and drink.

Included in the package is use of a helicopter, sea plane, hovercraft, speedboat and dune buggy.

"She's got the most amount of toys I've ever seen on a superyacht," says yacht broker Allan Jouning.

The $20m vessel has been cruising the Marlborough Sounds this summer with its owner.

Jouning would not name the owner but he is believed to be an American working in the financial sector.

SuRi has been making its way north to Whangarei since January 3, where it is due at the end of month. There the crew will work on it for a month.

"They come down normally October-November and do some work on the yachts and the owners will come down December-January and go for a cruise," says Jouning.

He says a new large dock at Westhaven marina provides for these superyachts, which are often too large to moor in the Viaduct harbour.

"Finally we've got this new marina built which is really nice."

- Herald on Sunday

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