Fiordland: 50 Knot winds & 3m swell


I’ve been on or around trailer boats for over 30 years, and I have been in some conditions that have pushed the limits of not just the boats but my own skills. I found myself inadvertently in another one of those situations on my recent trip to Fiordland. I knew from the forecast there was a solid 2-3 m southerly swell running up the coast and 10-20knots of southerly wind to arrive mid-afternoon. I thought ‘no problem’ and expected a nice easy run home to Milford sound.

All was going as expected but next minute it turned ferocious. The winds built significantly and incredibly fast. Within seconds the sea turned into a very angry wild animal and before we could react the tender was ripped off its tow line and flying through the air. I quickly rounded and nosed back into the swell and wind to collect her. We quickly deflated the tender and stowed it along with the canopy. Then I checked everyone was happy as I planned to turn on the next swell, open the throttle and run for Milford. It was a following sea and the wind on our starboard, I advised the crew to hang on.

Well! The next 90minutes, from my perspective anyway, was exhilarating and bloody awesome all mixed with a shred of terror. It only takes one thing to go wrong and there can be a very different outcome. However, in my opinion, we were as prepared as we could be and onboard the best 10m aluminium blue water trailer boat available. This boat has been built and designed for situations like this.

Surfing 3 meter swells at 20knots plus it was hard to keep the smile off my face. The boat never once gave us a cause for concern and the flared bow performed to perfection. I had some very experienced crew on board that own yachts and boats, Duncan even has his offshore skippers tickets and many hours of experience. To say they were impressed with the performance of the boat in these conditions would be an understatement. The boat never once felt like it was going to broach or that I would lose control during this wild ride.

The Volvo engine was superb as I feathered the power surfing down one swell and then pushing up through the next. The cross winds were ferocious exceeding 50knots at times as they funnelled down out of the valley’s and 1000m high rugged mountains lining the Fiordland coast. At times the swells were literally ripped apart and flattened by the gusts.

To be honest it was a mixture of disappointment and relief as we entered Milford sound. I was having such an amazing fun time and it reminded me so much of my younger windsurfing days riding the swells off the coast in Hawaii. We looked at each other all a little stunned at what we had just experienced . Our first point of discussion was ‘What had we just experienced in a trailer boat?’ This was because it had performed beyond all our expectations and proved itself to be a true blue water boat.

I know whenever I make a decision to invest in my next boat I spend many sleepless nights stressing over the decision. Hours comparing brands, the pros and cons. One of my main drivers with my present boat was to purchase the best blue water boat available. I will not lie, I have the odd teething problem as any boat owner would know, however I absolutely do not regret my decision to invest in a Makaira.

Tim’s Makaira Gen3 800 | 'Dopamine'


Tim’s new Kiwi-built Makaira is one of the toughest – and best riding – alloy boats to ever grace The Captain. He’s skippering the new Makaira Gen3 featuring a Carolina flare. Builder Allan Shaw reckons no other boat comes close to his aluminium creation.


Gear: Twin Yamaha 200hps Twin Furuno 12" TZTouch3 Furuno Radar DDF3D SS175HW SS175L Fusion stereo 300mm Zipwake Trim Tabs Gamin 115i VHF Dometic Fridge

A Batch (Holiday Home) on the Water


It was boxing day when Marcus gave me a ring, he had just spent the last three days on the water at Oamaru Bay in the Coromandel with his wife Lisa, and they were keen to take me out for a spin in their Makaira 770 ‘Sassenach’. The equivalent in the new Gen3 would be the 800.

We launched at Oamaru Bay the next morning. I was impressed with how this ‘team’ got the boat in the water. Marcus reversed the trailer down the small narrow ramp, and Lisa drove the boat off the trailer. Marcus then parked the ute, while Lisa reversed the Makaira 770 back into the beach and picked everyone up. It was immediately clear that this boat was proudly owned by both Marcus and Lisa, and that the two of them shared the responsibility when out on the water. Marcus even commented on how he enjoys being able to sit back and enjoy his surroundings, knowing that Lisa is confidently at the helm.

We went for a run around some of the islands, it was a flat calm day and the Mercury 300 pushed the boat effortlessly. Marcus and Lisa took turns on the helm. Lisa mentioned to me that she was sick of using a bucket for a toilet, so the plumbed toilet was her favourite feature. Lisa also loved the table and chairs, where she could sit down, read a book and enjoy being out on the water - she called it her ‘Batch on the water’.

Both Marcus and Lisa commented on how much they loved their Makaira, and that coming from a fiberglass boat they had a few concerns but once they got their Makaira boat they were all put to rest. Their Makaira was better riding, quiet and finished to arguably a better standard than most fiberglass boats.

Check out the video review above and get a hear from Marcus and Lisa about what they think of their Makaira 770.

Makaira 925 | 'El Pescador'

On a quiet Friday afternoon I got the call from Jason that he was going to launch ‘El Pescador’ his Makaira 925, and run it up the coast to it’s marina berth in Whangaroa harbour. The only issue was that Jason’s truck was not rated to tow the five and a half ton vessel, so a contractor was on his way with the ultimate tow vehicle, a big tractor.

Makaira 925 at boat ramp


Once ‘El Pescador’ was launched I was instantly impressed by the high level of detail, being my first time on a finished 925 Makaira I couldn’t help but notice the perfect welds, the immaculate stitching on the roof lining and vinyl covered dash - everything was finished to a level that I had never seen before in a trailer boat, it was a super yacht standard. 

Once we had navigated our way out of the Kerikeri Inlet, we streamed out of the Bay of Islands, past the Cavalli Islands and into Whangaroa harbour. ‘El Pescador’ just ate up the ocean, it wasn’t flat with about 1.3m of swell, and over 20 knots of wind, but we still managed to cruise at 28 knots, and hit the mid 30s on occasion to have a bit of fun and  break up the trip. 

Jason had a smile on his face the whole ride up, and spun yarns about “El Pescador”, and the many adventures he had planned for the summer. Jason was also eager to show me all of the features his Makaira had, like the 22” Garmin sounder, the hidden TV that lifted from the dash with the flick of a switch, and he raved about the D6 Volvo Penta. But when I asked Jason about his favourite feature he didn’t mention any of this ‘fruit’, but he commented on the quality of the ride and how safe he felt in the boat with his family. Jason then told me the meaning of “El Pescador” which is Spanish for ‘The Fishermen’ - The boat is named after the parable of the Mexican fishermen. Jason said it's a story that resonated with him and that it should be shared, so here it is:

El Pescador is a Makaira 925, the equivalent in the new Gen3 hulls is the 950.


The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed. “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said. “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”

(Source: Probably Heinrich Böll’s short story Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral)