With the superyacht charter season commencing in Tahiti, the gateway to the South Pacific, a strong contingent from Superyacht Australia hosted a day of events on Marina Taina in Papeete on Friday 27th June.
The event which was held for the first time in 2013 once again generated significant interest and this year AYSS also decided to have their meeting of Pacific agents to coincide with the event.
Etienne Boutin, Tahiti Ocean said 'We are pleased to have the key players in Australia here in Tahiti and it is great we are all working together. It was also an opportunity for me to host an AYSS event and for all of us in the region Fiji, Vanuatu, NZ to catch up with our Australian industry colleagues. We are all doing the same thing trying to attract more yachts to visit our region which we believe is the one of the best cruising destinations in the world. We applaud the Australian initiative.'
The South Pacific is receiving considerable attention as more of the global superyacht fleet are looking for new and exciting destinations. Tahiti being the key entry point for the South Pacific is an obvious location for the Australian industry to focus their attention.
Whilst the target was superyachts there was also considerable interest in coming to Australia by the smaller yachts and this market sector is also very important to the Australian industry. They need to know Australia is open for business.
Mark Siu, the Australian Honorary Consul in Tahiti said 'It is impressive that so many Australian companies are here showcasing their services and there certainly has been high interest from the superyachts here to understand more about what we can offer and to better understand Australian government regulations. I am impressed by the event and the lengths the crews go to, to participate in the cooking contest… it is a great spectacle.'
The key focus on the day was promoting Australia as a cruising destination and showcasing the significant infrastructure and capability of the Australian superyacht and marine sector. The day started with some serious discussions in the morning with B2B sessions where the Australian suppliers showcased their products and services. Captains and engineers found this incredibly helpful being able to speak first hand with the key players in the Australian industry who answered a number of queries regarding Australia’s marina facilities, refit facilities, agents, yacht clubs and equipment suppliers providing confidence that whatever they needed when cruising Australia they would find to a very high standard with a level of service second to none.
Australian Beef BBQ competition - AIMEX ©
The rather serious morning session was quickly overtaken by the annual heavily contested cooking competition in the afternoon between eight superyacht teams determined to show off their considerable talents not only in the cooking department but in their creative style and team presentation. The teams entered were Relentless, Erica XII, Nephele, Silver Tip, Douce France, Modango, Ultimate Lady, plus Salperton and Bliss who joined forces to get their team of four. Each team was provided with Australian waggu beef and a number of Australian spices and products. The challenge was to include the ingrédients to create three unique Australian steak dishes.
The judges knew they were in for a tough job ahead when the teams lined up at the start all impressively costumed up and trying very hard to impress. It would have to be said that every team was unique with some going to great lengths to curry favour with the judges and bribery did seem to be paying off with the judges succumbing to the specifically prepared high octane cocktails as they tasted each Team’s creations.
The judges this year were Peter Luke Superyacht Solutions, Steve Mitchell Sydney City Marine, Kym Fleet Gold Coast Marina and Shipyard and James Gilchrist MTU. All took their role very seriously trying to fend off the little additional delicacies plied upon them by the enthusiastic crews trying to gain the highest scores.
After long deliberations the winners were announced and this year the honours went to the joint team of Bliss and Sapperton, followed by Erica 11, Ultimate Lady and Mondango. The key prize being a trip for two to Australia.
Australia Tahiti Rendezvous networking party - AIMEX ©
The celebrations then went into full swing in true Aussie style, certainly gaining momentum and making its mark again as the best marina party in the South Pacific. It was certainly a very quiet Taina marina the next morning.
CEO M Edwards said 'this was the second time we have run this event and we intend on making it a permanent part of the Australian activity calendar. Everyone is already committed to doing it again next year for the third year running and we can see this just getting bigger and better'. Australian companies in attendance included principle sponsor Rivergate Marina and Shipyard, Acutec Systems, Awlgrip, Barz Optics, Boatstyle, BSE Maritime Solutions, Cairns Marlin Marina, Carter Marine Agencies, City of Melbourne, Gold Coast City Marina, MEC Yachts, MTU Detroit Diesel, Muir Winches, Pantaenius, South Port Yacht Club, Stella Marine, Superyacht Australia, Superyacht Queensland, Superyacht Solutions, Superyacht Sydney and Sydney City Marine.