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NZ Marine Industry expects boom time

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017

There could be a healthy spike in the number of apprentice boatbuilders coming forward after Team New Zealand's stunning America's Cup win.

The NZ Marine Industry Association's executive director Peter Busfield says a number of builders and suppliers in the industry contributed to both finalists' vessels - Team USA's boat was built by Core Builders of Warkworth and Team NZ's by Southern Spars of Avondale.

Dozens of other suppliers made it possible for both teams as well - from clothing retailers to sailmakers and engineering firms, he said.

Mr Busfield said the victory will likely have a bigger impact on the industry than Sir Peter Blake's famous win in 1995, which worked to "open the front door" at the time.

"It's enormous for our industry, awe-inspiring," he said.

"The profiling and the credibility of New Zealand-made design, people and equipment worldwide will gain substantially from this."

Greg Salthouse, executive director of Salthouse Boatbuilders in Auckland, said his chase boat business was faring well, and he hoped the America's Cup exposure would continue the positive trend.

"It's been a good run for us - [Team USA head] Larry Ellison has two of our boats, the British have one and the one Team New Zealand is using is borrowed from Luna Rossa, but that's ours too," he said.

Mr Salthouse said that while some boat-related businesses sprang up after the America's Cup win in 1995 - and he expected this to occur again - many, like his, will keep on doing what they are doing, regardless.

"Nothing much will change for us, although we might get a spike on top of how busy we already are - maybe some extra rich guys want us to build them a chase boat.

"The good thing winning the cup does is bring people to New Zealand, this helps the whole country."

Mr Busfield said working with central government to get school-aged teens into the boatbuilding industry was already well under way, but could get a shot in the arm now.

"We have 420 apprentices nationwide, in 190 companies at the moment, so we have a culture of training, and those companies are likely to want more apprentices signing up to build our capability and export even more."

He also expected yacht club membership to spike now, which would also flow into the marine industry getting more work as more boats were needed on the water.

Mr Busfield said he was 100 metres from the finish line in Bermuda and the brilliant sailing by helmsman Peter Burling and his crew on Tuesday was one of the best days of his life.

"I was such a proud Kiwi.

"What took me was the way Grant Dalton held that cup - you can imagine every day and night he spent for the past eight years chasing his dream, from the depths of San Francisco and to step up after that.

"He [Dalton] built a formidable team around him and our hats go off to him, Sir Stephen Tindall and the board for backing him."

Mr Busfield said the Cup is in the hands of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, who would decide where the 36th edition of the famous race would be held - but he sincerely hoped it would be Auckland.

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