Kim McDell


Bob Tait is a long-time and very valuable member of the New Zealand marine industry.

Kim also recently celebrated his 40th year in the marine industry.

In that time, he has made a major contribution to both the show and the industry as a whole, winning world titles, serving on the boards of various industry and sporting organisations, manufacturing boats for export and building some of this country’s most popular yachts and powerboats.

After working in the accounting profession Kim’s boating and business interests led him into the marine industry in 1973.

In 1974, he won his first World Title, on board the 18ft skiff Travelodge NZ.

He followed that with his second, helping win the 1977 Half Ton Cup in Sydney on board Farr centerboard design, Gunboat Rangiriri.

After purchasing Sea Nymph Ltd (with partner Peter Gribble) in the early 1970s Kim went on to produce what was then one of this country’s most popular powerboat brands, Sea Nymph. In the mid 1970s they commissioned Bruce Farr to design a range of trailer yachts and these proved very popular in both New Zealand and Australia. This was followed in the 1980s by the keelers including the near-iconic Farr 1020, Farr 1220.

In the 1990s Kim continued under the new banner of McDell Marine (with partners Stephen Fisher and Bill Howlett) and produced the MRX fleet and Farr Platu 25, Mumm 30, Farr 41MX and various other models.

Not content with manufacturing “just” yachts and powerboats, Kim and McDell Marine also produced the Reflections range of sport fishing launches.

Between the yachts and the powerboats, Kim and his team produced well over 10,000 boats and helped thousands and thousands of Kiwis to enjoy New Zealand’s wonderful harbours, lakes and coastline.

They then received a rare international accolade, being chosen as the first overseas manufacturer to build moulds and manufacture the famed Oyster range of luxury yachts. They produced over 60 Oysters including the Oyster 54, 53 and 49, and the Oyster powerboat, the LD43, all for export in their west Auckland premises.

McDell Marine was also chosen to work with Japanese automotive giant Toyota, developing their 8.5-metre, high-performance, flybridge cruiser, the Ponam 28 — and then building 256 of them.

In the 12 years between 1998 and when they chose to cease trading, in 2010, McDell Marine generated over $100 million worth of exports for this country.

Kim has also served as a board member at New Zealand Marine and on the board of Yachting New Zealand and is still very active in the marine industry. He is on the board of major marine equipment supplier Lusty and Blundell and, together with his brother Terry, runs the brokerage company, McDell Yachting.