Please select your home edition
Edition
Yamaha ETNZ

Father of New Zealand superyacht industry dies

by Justin Ratcliffe 3 Feb 11:45 NZDT 3 February 2018
Tony Hambrook of Alloy Yachts © SuperyachtNews.com

Justin Ratcliffe of SuperyachtNews.com reports on the passing of Tony Hambrook, former MD of Alloy Yachts in New Zealand, who died peacefully on 1st February, 2018, in the arms of his wife Kristen.

The first time I met Tony was back in 2004. I was one of a handful of journalists invited to Auckland to sea trial Tiara, a 54m sloop renowned for being able to land a helicopter on her aft deck (a tricky manoeuvre that to the best of my knowledge was attempted only once for the photo shoot).

My first impression was of a man of few words; a straight-talking Kiwi who got on with the job of building boats and was a bit bemused by all the media attention. We met regularly after that at boat shows and developed a respectful friendship. Throughout he remained a singularly unaffected person, still reserved but more assured in his meetings with the press.

Tony was working at his father’s engineering firm in Nelson when he set out to build his first boat, a 35-foot steel motor cruiser. This was in 1974 at the start of the oil crisis, and with the price of fuel shooting up he decided to build a 52-foot sailboat instead. “I started the build and realised early on that the hull was going to be the easy bit,” he told me. “The engineering and systems were a lot more complicated.” The lesson remained with him and years later Alloy would develop its own build specifications in line with the naval architects’ drawings, including many custom features integrated across all the systems to provide holistic solutions and total quality control from start to finish.

The only problem was that Tony had never sailed in his life. But in a nation of do-it-yourself boat builders, local knowledge was close at hand: “I had a Danish neighbour who was building a cold-moulded cruiser-racer. He was very helpful in telling me where to put the winches ­– and why I needed them! He gave me three weekends of sailing instructions and then I was on my own. It was a steep learning curve and I made some mistakes, but learnt very quickly what happens if you don’t get your sails down in time with a squall approaching.”

He then set off with his second wife on a three-and-a-half year cruise. From Fiji, they sailed across the Pacific to Canada, down the US coast to Mexico, Panama and the Caribbean, taking on various jobs along the way from boat building to converting a crane into a pile driver. The plan was to sail around the world, but when his father fell ill and missing his children from his first marriage, Hambrook decided it was time to return home:

“We were doing two eight-hour watches each and one watch together. I remember very clearly reading the stars one night and thinking what I was going to do when I got back to NZ. I decided I wanted to be in the business of building big yachts.”

For the rest of this tribute click here

Related Articles

Givealittle page set up to help Paul Gilbert
Paul Gilbert is one of New Zealand's pre-eminent photographers of real boats. He needs our help Paul Gilbert is one of New Zealand's pre-eminent photographers of real boats. Sadly, as happens to us all at some stage, Paul has health issue which is a bit of a challenge for him. He would appreciate all the help he can get. Posted on 17 Feb
Cyclone Gita is expected to land West Coast, SI
Cyclone Gita is expected to hit NW Coast of the South Island Tropical Cyclone Gita is expected to hit the West Coast of the South Island on Tuesday evening, with the centre passing north of Greymouth. Posted on 16 Feb
What's new and what is changing at MNZ
Highlights for February from Maritime NZ - Float-free EPIRBS - Speed checks and more Highlights for February 2018 Newsletter from Maritime NZ - Float-free EPIRBS - Speed checks being trialled - Help protect Poor Knights marine reserve and more Posted on 15 Feb
‘Float-free' distress beacons to become compulsory
Manual bilge pumps not required to be operable above deck in yachts and sailing vessels ‘Float-free' distress beacons will soon become compulsory for commercial fishing vessels to improve safety in the sector. Posted on 13 Feb
NZDF helps remove injured woman from Great Barrier
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping remove a 64-year-old woman with a fractured leg from The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is helping remove a 64-year-old woman with a fractured leg from Great Barrier Island. Posted on 13 Feb
Cyclone Gita expected to hit over 100kts
The certainty of Cyclone Gita hitting NZ appear to be more likely - 100kt winds expected in Tonga The certainty of Cyclone Gita hitting New Zealand appear to be more likely - with a landing predicted for late this weekend. Radio NZ reports that a state of emergency has been declared in Tonga with winds of 200kmh (107kts) and expected to intensify. Posted on 11 Feb
Cyclone Gita expected to hit New Zealand in a week
Cyclone Gita is expected to miss Niue Island with winds gusting to 50kts. Cyclone Gita is expected to hit Niue Island with winds gusting to 50kts. According to two feeds available in Predictwind the cyclone will deepen and develop after exiting Niue and then take an unusual course as it swings southwest. Posted on 10 Feb
Fouling plans under development
Boaties and cray fishers are being asked for their help to stop a highly invasive kelp spreading Boaties and cray fishers are being asked for their help to stop a highly invasive kelp spreading around Northland harbours. Posted on 21 Jan
NZ sailing clubs are bulging at the seams
Suzanne McFadden discovers a sport riding a wave following the triumph in Bermuda. Sailing clubs are bulging at the seams following Team New Zealand's America's Cup victory. Suzanne McFadden discovers a sport riding a wave following the triumph in Bermuda. Posted on 11 Jan
Tether hook angle was crucial factor in death
Preliminary investigation reveals load angle reduced tether hook to 10% of its load strength The British Marine Accident Investigation Branch has released an urgent safety advisory bulletin following the fatal man overboard incident in the Southern Ocean during Clipper RTW Race Posted on 9 Jan
Doyle-OneStop-660x82 NZ siteNorth Technology - Southern SparsHondamarine Contact dealer BOTTOM 728x90