Many of you will already be familiar with the convenience of onboard accommodation - arrive before 4pm the day before your charter and we'll get you settled aboard and your briefing underway - from the 1st of May we've added an hour to the handover to take the pressure off the last morning. Be back to the marina by 9am and you'll still have time to unpack and clean up before "handover" at 10am (subject to vessel availability - let us know when you confirm if you are considering onboard accommodation)
We've also recognised that families make up a huge percentage of our charterers and that a "child fare" was only fair - onboard accommodation is $30/adult and now $15/for the under 16's. We do also recognise that the briefing can seem long (and boring) to little people and as we really do want Mum and Dad to be able to concentrate we suggest bringing entertainment for the kids - remember you're alongside so a tablet can be plugged in!!
Of course you'll also be aware that we offer hourly extensions to make the most of your last day. With an extra 4 hours (hourly rates applies, see your vessel costing)you could enjoy lunch afloat and have time to stroll in by 1 for a 2pm handover.
Tourism is booming in the top of the south with a record number of Cruise Ships visiting Picton – we advise all charterers to keep a look out – the biggest of them seem to fill the Sound! They add a different flavour to Picton as well with an outdoor market for the day of all visits.
Earthquake recovery. Picton escaped relatively unscathed from the November earthquake and NZTA are working at capacity to reconstruct the road through to Kaikoura. We are all assured it will be open for business by next summer and looking at what they have achieved so far we don't doubt that its possible. I'm sure it will be an attraction in itself once opened as we all make the comparisons to what we knew – and enjoy the new passing lanes in the planning! Check out their progress online with the weekly updates https://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/kaikoura-earthquake-response/]
The earthquake did however see a shake up of the insurance industry and this has forced us to increase bonds for all bareboat charters to $3000.00 The process remains the same and it is an authorisation not a charge so no interest is incurred while we hold the $3000.00. Bonds are processed as quickly as possible post-charter.
Another great summer of fishing stories – the blue cod 33cm size limit is much easier to understand (the old slot system just caused confusion and we never got used to the idea that 30cms was actually legal – that's tiny!!) Kingfish and Kawahai rewarded those that were keen to try a trolling lure.
The Orca made themselves known again – they are now regular visitors to the Sounds, usually in the spring – if you find a seal too close for comfort he may be just hiding!! And to see the Orca chasing the stingrays in the shallows really is a spine tingling experience.
Lochmara Lodge's new underwater observatory was a great hit giving young and old alike the chance to marvel at "what's down there" without getting wet. The touch tank and classroom is also designed to increase the appreciation and conservation of the pristine waterways of the Marlborough Sounds. Lochmara really must be commended for their ecological ideals – we can all only wait and see what they come up with this winter!!
Our additional extras remain popular with the dinghy outboards and kayaks giving you the chance to explore while at anchor and the rods (almost)guaranteed to provide dinner or an entrée. We also have a set of inflatable PDF's for hire now. The convenience of a slimline PDF really does mean you'll keep it on, great for when you need the freedom of movement for sailing or fishing.
Regulations surrounding the moorings have been tightened with most existing moorings throughout the Sounds now due for Resource consent renewal – this is a very expensive exercise (especially as we own 8) but we recognise the real value and security that they offer our charterers. Our network of moorings includes some privately owned moorings available for a nightly rental fee and all of the Resorts provide moorings as an incentive to encourage you to use their shore facilities.
Our fleet numbers remains stable with the addition of Vis-à-Vis and the retirement of Southern Endurance. She had over 30 years in charter and people were still having a ball aboard. The H28 was a very predictable forgiving yacht that has been the beginning point for many sailors – we still have two 30fters, Zachary Hicks (also with a proven charter history having been with us for a similar length of time to Southern Endurance) and Dreamtime. A Hunter 30ft she is more modern with wheel steer (giving much more room in the cockpit)and a completely separate head – we all appreciate being able to shut the door!! She also has one of the largest double berths in the fleet!!! She's already proving to be very popular.
The Queen Charlotte Track is as popular as ever and with the development of the Anakiwa – Picton section (not yet completed but well under way)it will open up more options for day walks. Several sections are ideal with very obvious drop off / pick up spots.