One of the world's more extravagant superyachts, the vodka-financed Serene, has left Auckland.
It arrived from Europe on January 22 and has spent most of its time docked at Princess Wharf.
Ship tracking software shows it sailed at 8.35am and listed its next destination as "Milford," arriving there at midday on Tuesday.
It sailed out of the inner harbour at a modest 9.8 knots – inside the 12 knot speed limit – but once in the Rangitoto Channel she cranked it up.
But at 14.5 knots she was chased, and passed, by the all-aluminium police launch Deodar, powering along at 18.9 knots.
Off Takapuna beach, Serene dropped its pilot and sailed out into the Hauraki Gulf, then set a course for the Colville Channel into the Bay of Plenty.
Its owner, exiled Russian vodka magnate Yuri Shefler, has a taste for big parties and mansions, and wants to diversify away from vodka to super-premium wine.
His company, SPI Group, says Shefler has been travelling to key wine-making regions of the world "personally spearheading" the company initiative to get into premium wineries.
At 134 metres long – longer than New Zealand's two navy frigates and the multi-role ship Canterbury – Serene is said to feature an internal seawater pool, two helicopter platforms and a helicopter hangar. It is also rumoured to have a mini submarine aboard and a place known as the "Nemo room" – a glass panelled bulkhead for looking at the ocean beneath.
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