The partnership of Integrated Marine Group was formed during the America's Cup campaign in 2003. Three companies – Electrics Afloat, General Marine Services and Whiting Power Systems – came together with a vision; to thoroughly manage and support visiting superyachts requiring refits. Together this unique group knew they were up to the challenge but wanted to prove it. If they could completely refit a small vessel, they could refit anything. And so the first project commenced.
Te Anuatu was a 32ft Blackfin sports fishing boat. She was used extensively by her owner in Tahiti, for whom she was irreplaceable. So when a fitting in the heads gave way and she sank to the bottom of her berth the owner was distraught. After failing to find a worthy replacement he loaded her onto a ship and into the hands of Integrated Marine Group. The team had taken on the project merely on photographic evidence and information from the owner, so it came as quite a shock when she arrived in Auckland. "A black oily film covered the boat's exterior up to the flybridge, showing the depth of water in which she'd sunk" says Mark Wightman, Director of Integrated Marine Group. "The interior, the cockpit – everything – was ruined by the contaminated water".
Integrated Marine Group had a large task on their hands, one which would take 14 months to complete. They began by completely gutting the boat down to her fibreglass hull. The only original features that would remain were the hull, rudders and the stainless fixtures such as rod holders and cleats. As ever, the more they got into the project, the more problems they discovered ... which, as IMG were to discover over the years, is pretty typical when it comes to working on boats! Not only was there water damage but all the timber was full of termites. Therefore all the cabinetry in the cabin, the bulkheads, stringers and engine bearers would also have to be replaced.
The team ensured that at every stage they worked closely with the owner to carry out his wishes to the last detail, and he in turn made numerous trips to New Zealand to view the progress first hand. With the extreme damage to the boat it had been decided to take advantage of the situation and remodel. A light, airy, uncluttered and open plan interior was created. This was not as straightforward as it would seem for without a structure the hull is soft. Engineers took measurements and constantly checked them to ensure the hull did not move at all. The bulkheads were remade half from clear plastic so the interior flows straight through to the cockpit. The original v-engines were replaced by 2 inline six cylinder Caterpillar C7 455hp engines. These were significantly larger but the engine boxes in the cockpit, camouflaged by upholstery to form comfortable seating, did the trick! The fuel capacity was also increased.
The newly remodelled Te Anuatu was placed proudly on display at the Auckland Boat Show. It was the first time the owner would see the completed transformation, and he was delighted in all respects. Not only did she now have a greater range of travel and a top speed of 35 knots, she looked exactly as she dreamed he would!
The journey for Integrated Marine Group had begun. They had faced the challenge and won! Now it was time for more much larger projects .....