The ultra-luxury Aquijo docked in Port Nelson on Tuesday. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

World’s biggest ketch in Nelson

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A monster ketch belonging to a Norwegian billionaire is turning heads after it docked in Nelson on Tuesday.

The ultra-luxury Aquijo boasts pools, a Turkish bath, a sauna and a crew of 17 to look after just 12 guests.

Built in the Netherlands for an estimated $175 million two years ago, it is available during the European summer for charter through specialised agents. It is understood the ketch belongs to Kjell Inge Rokke, one of the richest men in Norway, who made his fortune through his business Aker which specialises in fishing, construction and engineering.

Aquijo is the biggest sailing mega-yacht to come to New Zealand. At 86m long it is one of the world’s largest private sailing ketches, with a total sail area is 5000sqm – equivalent to that of half a rugby field.

Yachting World says the sociable main deck includes the dining room and main saloon, linked to the outside deck by an inside-outside bar.

“The yacht’s real showcase feature is the ‘beach club’ on the lower deck, which includes a Jacuzzi, sauna, hammam/Turkish bath, rainfall shower, and room for gym equipment, with an open walkway through to the transom swim platform.’’

There is a further whirlpool spa bath on the outer deck.

Its co-skipper Luke Hoskins is orginially from Matakana and has been on the vessel since last year.

He said that Aquijo was “an extraordinary yacht’’ which handled exceptionally under sail.

“It’s impossible to describe the feeling when you first bear away and she powers up. Everybody who sails on her is amazed at how well she handles and how graceful she feels.”

Since departing Europe in November last year, the vessel had covered more than 55,000km and experienced all kinds of conditions.

“We sailed around Cape Horn in 50 knots and pretty big seas – albeit with only the staysail up as it was so windy,’’ he said.
– With NZ Herald