The Connoisseur

Kiwi superyachts

These days, Americans and Europeans in the market for custom luxury superyachts—a rarefied class of sailing or motor vessels more than 100 feet in length and $10 million in cost—are heading for New Zealand. In fact, at the dozen Kiwi yards that specialize in über-yachts, all 18 of those under construction are for export. "New Zealand is where I'll get my boat built when I win the lotto," says Marilyn Mower, editor-at-large of the luxury-craft magazine ShowBoats International. "Their work is stunning. We've given them seven awards over the past twelve years." An example of that prizewinning craftsmanship: the 174-foot ketch Salperton, built by Alloy Yachts International for British owner Barry Houghton, who came here for the best quality and is convinced he got it, down to the cherrywood interior. And nobody minds a bit paying at least 10 percent less than they would from a European yard. Alloy Yachts: Other builders: Marine Export Group of New Zealand, Salperton Mediterranean or Caribbean charters: