Smooth sail­ing for Nin­ga­loo en­deav­our

Pilbara News - - News - Louise Alling­ham

Cruise Nin­ga­loo is the new WA busi­ness gain­ing at­ten­tion and rave re­views on­line from keen sailors and ad­ven­tur­ers.

Based in Ex­mouth, Cruise Nin­ga­loo of­fers “hire and drive” sail­ing cruises of the Ex­mouth gulf and Nin­ga­loo reef and is the first of its kind in the State.

Avail­able for hire is the “Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin” — a 38ft lux­ury sail­ing cata­ma­ran which sleeps 10 and has two en­suites, a fully equipped kitch­enette and spa­cious deck and saloon.

Peo­ple can hire the Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin for around $1000 a night to ex­plore and ex­pe­ri­ence the World Her­itage-listed Nin­ga­loo Reef and in­cred­i­ble Ex­mouth coast in style and com­fort.

Cruise Nin­ga­loo di­rec­tor Nick Tutty only bought the cata­ma­ran in Novem­ber last year with his wife Sarah and two busi­ness part­ners and has been op­er­at­ing cruises since Jan­uary.

“Since then we’ve been fran­ti­cally work­ing to try and im­prove the boat for this re­gion,” he said.

“It was op­er­at­ing as a bare­boat in Thai­land but there are cer­tain things that you need in this part of the world that they didn’t have over there like the com­mu­ni­ca­tions; the Tel­stra phone booster, and satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

The ves­sel is equipped with state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy to make your cruise care­free.

“We’ve put in the com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem on the boat so that peo­ple can call us any time they need to and there’s a mas­sive op­er­at­ing man­ual that comes with the boat if you’re un­sure about any­thing,” he said.

The Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin is avail­able for peo­ple with vary­ing de­grees of sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence from novice to pro­fes­sional.

Mr Tutty said ex­pe­ri­enced sailors are able to take the Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin out on the ocean unac­com­pa­nied and a guide is avail­able for those new to sail­ing.

“If there are peo­ple we deem are not com­pe­tent or con­fi­dent enough to take the boat out or if they’re un­com­fort­able them we can put a sail­ing guide with

them,” he said. “They can go out with a lo­cal sail­ing guide who’s got the lo­cal knowl­edge and the knowl­edge of the boat and the knowl­edge of sail­ing to make sure that they’re safe and that ev­ery­thing’s OK.”

Mr Tutty said he was keen to get a bare­boat sail­ing com­pany up and run­ning in Ex­mouth.

“There are sev­eral lit­tle bare­boat sail­ing hubs around the world and I don’t see any rea­son why Ex­mouth can’t be the next hub,” he said.

“Things started slow­ing down in the oil and gas sec­tor and we started look­ing at ways to di­ver­sify.

“Tourism was go­ing strong and we thought ‘well let’s get into the tourism side of the busi­ness’ and that’s where Cruise Nin­ga­loo was forged.”

Busi­ness has been sail­ing steadily since it be­gan in Jan­uary, how­ever Mr Tutty said he’d like to at­tract ex­pe­ri­enced bare-boaters to Ex­mouth.

“There’s an un­tapped mar­ket there that we’re try­ing to tap into, which is a bare­boat mar­ket which has never been tapped into in West­ern Aus­tralia,” he said.

“There are guys that have done these tours in dif­fer­ent parts of the world and are used to tak­ing the boat out by them­selves and com­pe­tent enough that we want to bring them here.

“We want to en­cour­age them to come to Ex­mouth and Nin­ga­loo.

“They might be look­ing at where (their) next bare­boat sail­ing des­ti­na­tion is and they’re com­par­ing Phuket, Greek is­lands and Whit­sun­days, so we’re try­ing to at­tract some of them to town.”

Mr Tutty hopes to soon be able to crack the in­ter­na­tional bare­boat sail­ing mar­ket.

“We know that there’s a global mar­ket there of bare­boaters that would love this prod­uct and we’re hop­ing to tap into that,” he said.

“We think that not only will it be good for busi­ness but also for the town and the re­gion in gen­eral — it’s an­other area of tourism that could open up a whole new de­mo­graphic that could come to the re­gion that’s never come be­fore.”

Mr Tutty said the cruises have al­lowed him and and his fam­ily to ex­plore un­touched parts of the Ex­mouth coast.

“As we got the boat here — be­fore we had even got the chance to go ex­plore the Nin­ga­loo Reef — we found our­selves go­ing out on week­ends with our friends in the gulf,” he said.

“A cou­ple of months later when it came time to go and ex­plore the Nin­ga­loo Reef and we thought we should re­ally go and do that — we asked our­selves why; we’ve just been hav­ing the time of our lives ... these is­lands that no­body goes to and they’re just magic.”

Sail­ing is an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly way to ex­plore the coast with fuel con­sump­tion lower than that of a power boat.

“It has a low im­pact to the en­vi­ron­ment and pro­motes healthy eco-ad­ven­ture tourism and a wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mr Tutty said.

For more in­for­ma­tion or to book a cruise head to cruis­eninga­

Pic­tures: Cruise Nin­ga­loo

The Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin is avail­able to hire to ex­plore the Nin­ga­loo Reef and Ex­mouth Coast.

The Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin is a 38ft lux­ury sail­ing cata­ma­ran.

Get­ting the sails up is a good way to lower fuel con­sump­tion.

Pic­ture: Louise Alling­ham Cruise Nin­ga­loo di­rec­tor Nick Tutty with the Nin­ga­loo Vir­gin.

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