Billionaire's superyacht visits capital

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2011
Kokomo III
ROSS GIBLIN/Dominion Post

BIG LADY: Kokomo III is significant not only for its sleek length and moulded fly bridge, but for the size of its rig and sails.

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Billionaire Australian property developer Lang Walker paid a brief visit to Wellington Harbour during the weekend in his New Zealand-built superyacht, Kokomo III.

The yacht, at 58.4 metres long, is the third superyacht bearing the Kokomo name built by Auckland's Alloy Yachts for Mr Walker. It is the biggest superyacht built in New Zealand and it can accommodate 12 guests in five cabins all with ensuites. It can also accommodate up to 12 crew members.

It was the yacht's 74.3m high-carbon-fibre mast that captured the attention of Wellingtonians when it anchored off Oriental Bay on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Walker and his entourage were ferried from the yacht to Chaffers Marina and then, yesterday morning, in the direction of Wellington Airport, after a week's cruising in Marlborough Sounds.

The superyacht then sailed back out through the Wellington Harbour entrance bound for Auckland at 2.30pm.

Wellington deputy harbourmaster Patrick Atwood said the 495-tonne yacht arrived unannounced at the heads outside Wellington Harbour at 2.50pm on Saturday.

Harbour staff working at Beacon Hill contacted the yacht before it entered the harbour to ask for identification details. "If it was five tonnes heavier, it would have needed a pilot," Mr Atwood said.

"We had to notify Strait Shipping of the yacht's presence in Oriental Bay as the company operates [Cook Strait] ferries near to where the yacht was anchored overnight on Saturday."

Kokomo III was first launched early last year.

Alloy Yachts is a custom builder of luxury sailing yachts and motor yachts from 30 metres to 68 metres and is recognised as one of the leading superyacht builders in the world.

Kokomo III is significant not only for its sleek length and moulded fly bridge, but for the size of its rig and sails.

The carbon-fibre mast is the biggest ever built by Auckland-based world-class spar makers Southern Spars.

The yacht's height prevents it from travelling through either the Panama or Suez canals. It was specifically designed to easily handle voyages around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope.

Kokomo III also carries the biggest set of sails made by Doyle Sailmakers in New Zealand. The mainsail is 883 square metres, the genoa 1151 square metres and the asymmetric gennaker is the biggest single sail ever built by Doyles, at 2227 square metres.

Mr Walker first went into business with his father, Alec, in the late 1960s as a plant hire and earth-moving contractor. Walker Corporation specialises in large residential, retail, commercial and industrial sector developments in Australia.

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- The Dominion Post

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