The curiously named 42-foot Catana catamaran, “Hwylio” [pronounced “hoylio”], a former charter yacht, has just departed Rivergate Marina & Shipyard after a 12-week refit stint, and is now cruising Sydney Harbour as a privately-owned vessel.
When Covid travel restrictions impacted international travel and the charter industry, owners, Gwilym and Emily, saw the opportunity to retrieve their catamaran from charter in Tahiti and upgrade her for their personal use in Sydney.
The seven-year-old vessel, named “Carmen” during its charter years, was showing signs of wear and tear. The couple had her shipped back to Australia and immediately taken to Rivergate for an overhaul.
As Gwilym explains, “Rivergate was recommended by a contact in Tahiti and Christophe Vanek who operates Dream Yacht Charters in the Whitsundays.
“The boat arrived in Brisbane, making it extremely convenient to take it to Rivergate.”
Her name is a combination of “Hwyl”, a Welsh word for enthusiasm and passion, and “Hwylio” meaning sailing and wind.
“When our yacht arrived from Tahiti, the independent marine survey report we commissioned outlined a long list of work that needed to be undertaken,” Gwilym explains.
“For us, the most important thing was ending up with a yacht that we were confident would be safe and sound at sea, and also refitted to feel more like our own yacht. We wanted to make sure we got it right the first time, and this is where the Rivergate team stepped in.
Marty Johnson, one of Rivergate’s senior Project Managers, oversaw the project. “Due to Covid, there were two years when she was not operating, so there was a backlog of maintenance,” he states.
“After a surveyor inspected the yacht and identified critical items, we prioritised them with the owners and set to work.”
The project involved an upgrade of the solar power, servicing of the main engines, new interior and exterior upholstery, rigging upgrades and a vinyl wrap, as well as new trampoline nets on the foredeck and electronic upgrades to the communications and navigation gear.
On-site marine trades involved in the various aspects of the work included M2i Electrical, Goodline Trim, Planet Wrap, Baddiley Marine Engineering and Wright Marine, as well as several contractors drawn from around the region.
“We wanted the yacht to suit our needs,” says Gwilym. “We installed new solar panels and lithium batteries, removed the gas cooker, making it all electric so we’re completely self-sufficient at sea. It’s our plan to sail from Sydney to the Whitsundays, explore the east coast and eventually circumnavigate Australia one day.
“Marty took the time to understand what we wanted to achieve, and our expectations of desired outcomes as he helped us understand the potential costs of different options available to us. He also helped us prioritise what was urgent.
“If it was something that we might be able to do ourselves, then Marty gave us guidance on how to do it, and they even lent us the tools.”
Needless to say, Gwilym and Emily say they are “over the moon” with the results.
They held a naming ceremony at Rivergate – a casual barbeque with contractors and marine trades – and declared “Hwylio” officially launched.
From Brisbane, they sailed to Trial Bay and then on to Sydney, enjoying perfect conditions for Hwylio’s shakedown voyage.
“Being a catamaran, it’s very stable and sturdy,” says Gwilym. “We were drinking coffee and champagne without a spill.
“At 42-feet, she’s very comfy and a good size for a couple, with plenty of room for visitors. We can have up to eight people on board.”
Now based at Rose Bay, Hwylio will soon cruise to the Whitsundays and drop in to Rivergate for provisions, fuel and any maintenance.
“The team at Rivergate has really given our yacht a new lease on life. The trust we ended up building because of the quality of workmanship, completed on time, was enormous. By the end of the project, we really felt like the Rivergate crew was a family that we could return to for support at any time.”
More at www.rivergate.com.au