She may be called The Beast, but the word is that on the inside a huge boat owned by jeweller Michael Hill is a real beauty.

"The Beast" hit water off the Foxton loading ramp today in front of a huge crowd of 2500. A coffee cart called Stay Grounded ran out of beans.

Tension was high as a large crew working on her maiden berth were working to a tight timeframe to make use of high tide, allowing a window of just 30 minutes.

There was noticeable relief among the ship's crew when she slipped back into the river and docked alongside the jetty.


The launch wasn't without hiccup though. One of the two Caterpillar C32 engines failed to fire after testing perfectly before hand, and an airbag blew out causing her to lurch to one side.

Divers tried to free an airbag under The Beast.
Divers tried to free an airbag under The Beast.

After being inched closer to the water by two huge trucks bearing sand and two large tractors, she finally hit the water with a big splash, much to the relief of its builder Carl Ferguson.

Ferguson amitted there was stress involved, but was pleased the vastly experienced crew were able to deal with adversity, including experienced skipper Sean Kelly from Tauranga.

"You have to think on your feet a bit. You surround youself with good people that can think for themselves," he said.

"We probably made it hard for ourselves when we tried moving one of the airbags...but we got the right result. It's in the water."

Now, The Beast would wait for the right tide before heading out to sea. That was tipped to be a predicted "king tide" on March 20.

The Beast was two years in the making. Built by Ferguson's company Profab Central Engineering in Plamerston North, the 39.5 metre tri-deck catamaran project was shipped to Foxton in two parts late last year.

There, work began on joining the hull and superstructure were joined. It was the biggest boat his company had made. The previous biggest was 34m long.

Inside, The Beast featured naval architecture and exterior styling by LOMOcean. It could house 12 guests split across five staterooms, including four double cabins that could be converted into twins. The crew quarters allowed for ten staff.


The Beast should have an impressive cruising range, drawing on a total fuel capacity of 76,000 litres. There was still 60,000 litres to be pumped aboard.

The Beast is on the water
The Beast is on the water

It could take on 14,000 litres of water and hold the same amount of sewerage.

The Beast could sail anywhere in the world except Antartica and would eventually dock in Auckland after a brief stay in Wellington.

General crowd comments were mixed. Some liked the subtle grey colours and were huge fans, while others said they would have painted the exterior a different colour if the boat belonged to them.