Catamaran starts Tasman crossing

Crowds lined riverbank to farewell boat

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 12:00 03/02/2014
Catamaran
GRANT MATTHEW/FAIRFAX NZ

ONWARD: The catamaran built by Profab Engineering in Palmerston North leaves Foxton Beach bound for Darwin.

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More than 1000 people lined the Manawatu River to see off a boat, built in land-locked Palmerston North, as it began its journey to Australia.

Guru - a 110-tonne, 24-metre-long, 11m-wide catamaran - launched from the Manawatu Marine Boating Club in Foxton Beach at noon yesterday, after being delivered there by truck last month.

Crowds lined the riverbank, with most people based at either the boat club or at the mouth of the river.

People on powerboats, jetskis and even paddleboards accompanied Guru down the river, while a helicopter hovered overhead.

The seas were calm when Guru made it over the sandbar, before turning south and sailing out of view.

The boat was to leave at 1pm, but high tide was an hour earlier.

Palmerston North man Kevin Ram was sitting near the mouth of the river to see Guru launch, and said he used to take boats out on the river a lot when he was younger.

He said Guru was one of the biggest boats he had seen travel down the Manawatu River, although a large fishing vessel used to tie up near the boating club.

"That's going back 30 or 40 years though."

The water looked high enough to suggest it was a slight king tide, which would make getting the large ship over the bar an easier job, he said.

Guru was built by Profab Central Engineering, and has enough room to sleep 18 people.

The boat's trip was marred when a fatal crash occurred behind the boat as it was transported to Foxton from Palmerston North on State Highway 1 on January 8.

But the boat was not involved in the crash itself and the moving company was found to not be at fault.

Guru will sail out of Darwin, and will be predominantly used by an oil and gas company to transport equipment.

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- Manawatu Standard

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