The monster ketch that has docked in Auckland is available for charter - with a starting price of $800,000 a week.

The ultra-luxury Aquijo boasts pools, a Turkish bath, a sauna and a crew of 17 to look after just 12 guests.

Built in the Netherlands for an estimated $175 million two years ago, it is available during the European summer for charter through specialised agents.

Aquijo is the biggest sailing mega-yacht to come to New Zealand and docked in Auckland this morning with its Kiwi co-skipper on board.


The vessel's representatives are tight-lipped about who owns the vessel, saying that it is a "European businessman" and that previous overseas reports on its ownership are inaccurate.

Unlike other non-sailing mega-yachts that have come to Auckland - such as A and Serene - it is believed not to be owned by a Russian oligarch.

At 86m long and is one of the world's largest private sailing ketches, its 91m masts tower more than 25m over the Auckland Harbour Bridge's highest span.

Aquijo arrived into Auckland in the early hours of Friday morning. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Aquijo arrived into Auckland in the early hours of Friday morning. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Auckland's Southern Spars designed the masts which are some of the tallest in the world and mean Aquijo is unable to pass under the bridges over the Panama and Suez Canals so the vessel has to go around Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope on world voyages.

The Dutch-built yacht's total sail area is 5000sq m - equivalent to that of half a rugby field.

The main sails weigh around two tonnes each and will be serviced in the Auckland loft of international sail company, North Sails.

It motored through the Rangitoto Channel just after 7am with a pilot on board and docked at Wynyard Wharf an hour later.

Launched in 2016, Aquijo can accommodate up to 12 guests (plus two owners) in seven cabins and they're pampered by a crew of 17.

Yachting World says the sociable main deck includes the dining room and main saloon, linked to the outside deck by an inside-outside bar.

''The yacht's real showcase feature is the 'beach club' on the lower deck, which includes a Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam/Turkish bath, rainfall shower, and room for gym equipment, with an open walkway through to the transom swim platform.''

There is a further whirlpool spa bath on the outer deck.

Its co-skipper Luke Hoskins is orginially from Matakana and has been on the vessel since last year.

He told the Herald that a spell as a trainee on the Spirit of New Zealand sail training ship while at school got him interested in being on the water.

The first boat the 39-year-old worked on was a 35m wooden schooner in Mexico in 2002.

''I've worked on several large sailing yachts over the years and worked my way up through the ranks while gaining the required qualifications. I joined Aquijo as first officer in May 2017, then earlier this year started to rotate the captain's job with the senior captain [Gerhard Veldsman],'' he said.

''The most fun is when you have passengers onboard cruising in beautiful parts of the world and helping them to have amazing experiences. I know how romantic that may sound, but working on superyachts can be demanding at times for the crew, and means being away from home for long periods.''

Aquijo was ''an extraordinary yacht'' which handled exceptionally under sail.

''It's impossible to describe the feeling when you first bear away and she powers up. Everybody who sails on her is amazed at how well she handles and how graceful she feels,'' said Hoskins.

Superyacht Aquijo's total sail area is equivalent to that of half a rugby field. Photo / Supplied
Superyacht Aquijo's total sail area is equivalent to that of half a rugby field. Photo / Supplied

Since departing Europe in November last year the vessel had covered more than 55,000km and experienced all kinds of conditions.

''We sailed around Cape Horn in 50 knots and pretty big seas - albeit with only the staysail up as it was so windy,'' he said.

The international crew of comes from South Africa, Australia, England, Estonia, Barbados, Brazil, the United States, Canada, Netherlands as well as two other Kiwis - Josh Mangakahia and Jake Tyndall.

He said it was a ''dream come true'' to bring the vessel to New Zealand.

Work would be carried out at Orams Marine over the next couple months and sails serviced by North Sails - a job which requires cranes just to remove them from the yacht due to their size.

He said New Zealand's maritime industry was held in high regard and the country had a lot to offer as a cruising destination too.

''I've heard that there are loads of yachts coming down for the America's Cup in a couple years.''

Aquijo is being handled by Asia Pacific Superyachts New Zealand, which provides specialist service and luxury experiences to superyachts visiting New Zealand and the Pacific.

Managing director Duthie Lidgard said Aquijo's arrival marks the start of the superyacht season which runs through until April next year. Aquijo is the first of around 20 superyachts due to arrive this season.

Scenic flights, bespoke guided excursions and Māori cultural experiences were popular with superyacht crew and guests across New Zealand, he said.