by Jeni Bone
The Rayglass facility in Pakuranga was destroyed by fire Friday 20 June, 6km from the company’s head office and showroom.
Protector much loved at America’s Cup tenders
About 60 firefighters in 12 trucks responded to the blaze at about 9.30pm and residents reported the blaze was about 30 by 30 meters in size, punctuated with explosions.
The building has been completely gutted, with the loss of a lot of moulding and tooling equipment.
Rayglass is New Zealand’s largest boatbuilder. The Rayglass range covers the Legend and Cruisemaster cabin cruiser styles as well as the Protector rigid inflatable pontoon (RIB) style of work boats and tenders.
The company exports its fibreglass runabouts and inflatables to 17 countries and was acquired by Brunswick Corp last year.
Rayglass managing director, Tony Hembrow told the media there was nobody inside when the fire began, and it is not being treated as suspicious.
'It's the back bit of the factory, so I think we'll be okay. And it's one plant, that's the good part of having several.' Hembrow said the fire would temporarily put about 40 workers out of a job.
Manukau chief fire officer Larry Cocker said 60 firefighters worked to contain the blaze, and that some finished boats were saved.
Hembrow is busily involved in working with assessors and staff and liaising with the US parent company in relation to the impact of the fire.
This is the second time a fire has impacted Rayglass. In 1995, a fire destroyed the Pakuranga factory. At that time, Rayglass production was shifted to other locations.
Rayglass Protector supply work boats and tenders for many of the America’s Cup teams, super yachts visiting Auckland and Coastguard.
As official supplier to the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup organisations, Rayglass Boats patrol and carry the officials controlling the Cup racing.
More at www.rayglass.co.nz