Son launches father's legacy with Marlborough Sounds charter business

Grant Orchard finished the 46-foot semi displacement launch in 2013.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Grant Orchard finished the 46-foot semi displacement launch in 2013.

A chef who became a boatbuilder to finish his father's retirement project has turned his new passion into a Marlborough Sounds business. 

Picton man Grant Orchard's father Bill was a boatbuilder and fisherman from Nopera Bay in the Kenepuru Sounds.

Bill Orchard was working on a 46-foot semi-displacement launch the Katabatic in the early 2000s. He had done his boat building apprenticeship  in the Queen Charlotte Sound back in 1957.

Now in his second year running charters in the Marlborough Sounds, he's decided to go "zero carbon".
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Now in his second year running charters in the Marlborough Sounds, he's decided to go "zero carbon".

He had "the hull turned up the right way and fitted out" and it was going to be his boat to retire on, Grant said. 

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But he died in September 2002 after a short battle with cancer.

Grant Orchard runs Katabatic Charters from the boat built by him and his father.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Grant Orchard runs Katabatic Charters from the boat built by him and his father.

So Grant, a chef by trade, took over the project and began a boat building apprenticeship. 

He realised he wasn't going to finish the launch with a "bank account full of fresh air" and so he headed overseas to save some money working on the "mega yachts". 

Orchard completed the Katabatic in 2013. 

The ship's wheel has been on five of Grant Orchard's father's vessels.
SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
The ship's wheel has been on five of Grant Orchard's father's vessels.

"Building a boat is very romantic and it's emotional," Orchard said. 

"You go from having a boat on land that you need cranes and trucks and people to help move ... and then as soon as it's on the water you tug on a line and it comes towards you.

"It something very special I think."

The Katabatic was built in the style of all his father's boats.  

"Where possible I have used recycled timber, for example, the posts in the wheelhouse are heart rimu dressed from verandah uprights of a house of ours that burned down in the early 80s.

"The ship's wheel has also been on five of my father's vessels previously and was from a vessel built by Ernie Lane in Picton and launched in 1923."

Now in his second year running charters in the Marlborough Sounds, he's decided to go "zero carbon". 

His father came from a generation that prized resourcefulness and limiting waste.

"His method of fishery was very much hook and line, no electric reels, no automatic bait machines. 

"I wouldn't say he was an environmentalist but he came from that era just after the Second World War where you didn't waste anything."

Orchard went to a company called EKOS which measures and offsets carbon footprints by growing and protecting indigenous forests in New Zealand and the Pacific. 

"So with the burn of diesel, petrol for my car, LPG for the bbq on the boat, electricity and rubbish, I offset my emissions.

"They take your numbers and work out how many trees it that they need to plant to offset your "burn". 

There were many people who had asked a lot of questions and been skeptical about his move to go carbon neutral, he said. 

"The most diplomatic answer that I have to all the nay-sayers is that I've done my research and bar going to visit the plantations myself...

"I've taken it on good faith that what they're giving me and the certificate they've provided is in cohesion with the service."

The Marlborough Express