Wilsons Abel Tasman are backing their new Vista II catamaran as a winner.


Introduced to work alongside their flagship Abel Tasman Voyager, the two boats ensure that all Wilson's scheduled trips in Abel Tasman National Park provide the same award-winning Vista Cruise service. Darryl Wilson (CEO) says, “We are looking towards a future where travellers expect greater levels of comfort and safety with their intrepid travel experiences.”

After searching the world, Darryl found the right fibreglass composite hull, with shallow-draft, stability, durability and low noise levels required for the job. The hull was in Freemantle, Western Australia, as part of a boat designed by Gavin Mair, and built in partnership with Marco Boat builder. Putting aside trans-Tasman rivalries New Zealand’s High Modulus (now Gurit) composite engineers, renowned as structural designers for our America’s Cup yachts, were included in the build.

Constructed as a high specification commercial crayfishing boat, there were plans to develop the design to be used in commercial and military applications. As the building method was experimental at the time, the boat was named after the gambling game Two Up. Since then, it has beaten the odds with fibreglass, Kevlar and carbon fibre hull, powered by twin Scania 14 litre V8s developing 675 horse power each, coupled to Hamilton Jet engines giving great fuel efficiency and a draft of only 600mm. It operates at 18-20 knots giving a smooth comfortable ride.

On a journey that started in Gladstone in May 2016, Darryl Wilson sailed on Two Up to Brisbane and arranged for the boat to be shipped to Tauranga in the North Island's Bay of Plenty. The Wilson's Skippers who sailed the boat from Tauranga to Motueka, at the top of the South Island, were impressed by the way it handled storm conditions off Cape Palliser as they entered Cook Strait.

Two Up sailed into Motueka marina mid-July 2016. Here, the Wilson family, with a team of qualified builders and technical support crew, began the conversion of a pedigree commercial hull to first-class cruising passenger ferry. The transformation to Vista II, was completed with a front loading ramp for swift, safe beach transfers, licensed café/bar and four passenger lounge and viewing areas.

At 18 metres, and surveyed to carry 97 passengers, the Vista II operates as required on all departure times through the day, as well as special charters for weddings and events. On the 10.30 am departure a Cruise & Dine option will serve a Barbecue and Seafood Platter lunch if booked the day before.

Darryl Wilson has to agree with Skipper on the Vista II maiden voyage, Darrin Bisley, “Quite a piece of kit. Think I'm going to like this boat.”

Vista II Specifications

  • Length: 18 metres
  • Surveyed to carry 97 passengers plus crew
  • Hull: fibreglass, Kevlar and carbon fibre composite
  • Powered by twin Scania 14 litre V8s developing 675 horse power each
  • Hamilton Jet engines are safer for marine life and allow a draft of only 600mm
  • Operates at 18-20 knots giving a smooth comfortable ride