State eyeing super-yacht, racing sailboat business

Published On: Jul 08 2013 06:26:00 PM HST

They are, for the most part, big billionaire boats.  And they have discovered that Oahu's sleepy Kewalo Basin is open for business.

Larry Ellison's yacht arrived on scene six months ago.  And Google mogul Larry Paige's "The Senses" was here to keep it company.

"We have had a couple of dozen boats over 100 feet long now in the harbor. We are taking reservations. Some of the boats that were here last month have already made reservations to come back in the fall as they leave San Francisco and the America's cup," said Barclay.

The harbor has been a port of call for the bigger mega-yachts too -- the sleek head-turners, along with the racers and the cruisers, are becoming a new revenue generator not just in dock fees, but for fuel and added activity for boat repair facilities.

The new business comes at a pivotal time for the small harbor.

Kewalo Basin is in line for an $18 million dollar facelift, which will double the number of slips and still have room for the big boats.

"We are looking at putting in a 900-foot long dock which would handle many of these boats,” Barclay said.

Barclay says Ellison's part in the America's Cup has spurred talks about what's possible for Hawaii as a potential World Class yachting village down the road.

Do we have the right kind of harbors, and is there enough surrounding land to make it all work?

"The challenge is could we provide it for the full event and that would require a huge amount of expenditures,” Barclay said.

Barclay thinks billions with a big "B" -- but he says it’s something the governor's office and the Hawaii Community Development Authority have been weighing.


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