Owning a superyacht brings with it many of life’s greatest joys, whether that’s fabulous travel, relaxation or creating unforgettable memories with friends and family. That said, however, these spectacular vessels also require a huge amount of upkeep to maintain and regular periods in the yard for refit or maintenance are part and parcel of the superyacht ownership experience.
Whether you’re a yachting veteran or something of a greenie, the superyacht refit process can appear to be a complex one from the outside, and there are a whole host of factors which need to be taken into account during a refit – whether it is going in for cosmetic and systems updates or a major overhaul.
Here, the experts from the Dutch naval architecture and design studio, Diana Yacht Design offer their insights on the most important considerations to take into account to ensure that the refit of your vessel goes as smoothly as possible.
When it comes to timing your refit works, preplanning and being realistic is of the utmost importance. Prepare a list of the work that has to be done and try to combine it with other yard works such as annual surveys or painting. In a major refit, it is important to involve your naval architect or designer as soon as possible so they can oversee complications connected to your refit and work to the planned schedule.
As Hans-Maarten Bais, Creative Director and Naval Architect at Diana Yacht Design explains: “Preparing construction work in advance can shorten yard time during refit. For example: If you would like to extend your yacht, you can go to a yard and start the whole process of the work while the yacht is there.”
“However, if you arranged for the yacht to arrive at a dock just for two days in advance, your naval architect would have the time to make a 3D-scan of it. With this scan, they can prepare all plans and approval of the extension while you are using your yacht. After the season the new stern is already constructed so when your yacht comes in the shipyard it is already waiting and work can start immediately.”
Be aware that unexpected complication during refit works may occur so built in some margin for future plans such as charter bookings, trips, or other transportation. This will help to successfully finish your refit and put your mind at rest.
The most obvious consideration to take into account for any superyacht refit works, is, of course, budget. Yacht refit budget overruns can happen during shipyard periods and can be caused by unforeseen complication being uncovered during the works. Also, poor time management, installation problems and delays can also cause things to overrun. Keeping a running total with breakdowns showing when a budget has exceeded the limit is one way of managing this.
Be careful about choosing a yard just because it offers the cheapest quote for your refit: find out why this quote is so cheap and compare it to others. In short, it is vital to meticulously budget all of your refit works throughout to avoid any nasty surprises.
It is vital that you ensure that the location you choose for your refit is a logical one for what you need, both in terms of the country, shipyard and your superyacht’s cruising ground, so ask those in the know for recommendations. Getting to know the shipyard where your yacht is being refitted will also improve your refit experience immeasurably. Different yards will be better equipped to deal with different types of works, so ask around to ensure that you find the best possible yard to take the project on.
Forging strong relationships with the shipyard staff and acquainting yourself with the security provisions and emergency services at the yard will make all the difference and help to ensure that your yard period is as enjoyable as it possibly can be.
4. Scope of work
Make sure you get the proper description of all the works to be executed. At the beginning of the whole process, the project manager, captain and crew will need to devise a thorough yacht refit yard work list so you can get an idea of the scope of work which your superyacht will be undergoing. This will obviously impact the budgeting and timescale of your refit works and is imperative to have at the very start of the process.
Such a worklist will benefit both parties, yard and client as it shows the client exactly what kind of work will be done and will guide the shipyard through what needs to be done. The yard can then make a proper time schedule, help plan in any additional work and ensure the budget is not compromised.
5. Envolve your crew
Who knows your yacht the best? The crew. They work on it, live on it and maintain it – so they know exactly what areas need extra attention.
Having the crew involved in the refit keeps them informed with what the shipyard is doing. They can assist the yard in making decisions, making their lives easier and therefore improving your quality on board. Also, if the crew are working for the shipyard, they can check and report if the work is still according to planning and can begin cleaning, emptying storage spaces and protecting your belongings.
The crew or captain of the yacht can be the missing link between the naval architect, shipyard and owner to guarantee the best quality. Often it is very noisy in shipyards and the naval architect is not always on-site, so using simple tools like WhatsApp or having a Skype meeting and being able to show and discuss any difficulties will certainly make the process go smoother. In short, it will ensure better quality and proper time management.
All in all, taking all of the above factors into account before you kick off your superyacht refit works will ensure that your yacht is back on the water on time, the works are completed within budget, and that your vessel is beautifully shipshape for years to come.