New Incat Crowther 29 joins Auckland operator’s fleetWritten by Nick Blenkey
The latest addition to Auckland, New Zealand, tourism operator Explore Group’s fleet, Tuhi Rapa, is a 300-passenger Incat Crowther 29. Built by Australian shipyard Aluminium Marine, it has been plying the waters of Auckland Harbour and the Bay of Islands since its maiden voyage in late 2022.
Tailored specifically to Explore Group’s needs, Tuhi Rapa is designed to serve as both a passenger ferry and a wildlife sightseeing vessel. It incorporates a range of design elements to help increase operational efficiency including the addition of midship boarding doors on the main deck.
Tuhi Rapa’s main deck features spacious indoor seating for 123 passengers, a large bar and kiosk, three toilets, outdoor seating for eight more passengers and an overhead bicycle store. The mid-deck includes outdoor seating for 37 passengers as along with indoor seating for 65 additional passengers, a bathroom and the vessel’s wheelhouse. The roof deck offers a viewing platform and seats for 67 passengers.
Explore Group managing director William Goodfellow told media in Auckland that the design of Tuhi Rapa had been tailored for both tourists and local commuters.
“Tuhi Rapa has enough space to carry bikes as well as large outdoor spaces and windows for cruising and wildlife viewing in local conditions and came just in time for our busy summer holidays,” he said. “We love the design and operability of Tuhi Rapa. Having owned and operated more than 20 vessels, we can safely say that Tuhi Rapa’s versatility means it stands head and shoulders above anything else.” he added.
“The design of Tuhi Rapa is based on our proven Incat Crowther 29 catamaran, however we worked with Aluminium Marine to tailor Tuhi Rapa specifically to the needs of Explore Group,” said Incat Crowther technical director Dan Mace. “The result is a flexible, operationally efficient, and safe passenger ferry that also doubles as a tourism catamaran.”
“Having worked with Explore Group previously, we knew some of the finer details in the design were incredibly important,” added Mace. “It’s great to see Tuhi Rapa on the water and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on yet another successful project.”