Getting refit ready: A guide to superyacht refit and repair
Last updated: 19/10/2017
With more than 300 refit shipyards worldwide, the decision of where and when to book a superyacht refit is by no means an easy one.
With help from Marine Group Boat Works, Yachting Pages explores the world of superyacht refits, from why you need a refit and what the yards offer, to purchasing a yacht for refit over a new construction.
Why does my yacht need a refit? Scheduling your superyacht refit
As Todd Roberts, president of Marine Group Boat Works explains, “The most common reason a superyacht gets a refit, is to keep up with an owner’s evolving needs. Just because a superyacht is designed and built with certain systems and features three years ago, it doesn’t mean that owners are stuck with it.”
As an owner’s tastes and requirements change, whether that’s a desire to be more sustainable or a change in taste for the interiors, a refit will be needed in order to meet those requirements. Other common reasons for a superyacht refit include surveys for legal reasons, and routine maintenance work, such as:
- Five-year statutory surveys, required by flag states
- Repainting the antifouling (every one to two years)
- Repainting of the hull (every three years)
- Repainting the superstructure (every three to five years)
- Emergency repairs
- Engine and machinery overhaul
- Extensions to the vessel
- Upgrades to the interior
- HVAC system upgrades and servicing
Of course, superyachts may also enter a refit yard to be repaired, extended, converted or completely renovated, and everything in between.
What refit services does a shipyard offer?
Refit yards offer a wide range of services, and may specialise in a certain area. When undertaking a refit, the yacht may need to move between facilities for different parts of the refit.
A good refit yard requires a variety of facilities and the capabilities to perform any scale of refit, from minor maintenance to a complete overhaul. Yards will typically provide some or all of the following services:
- Rig inspections and spars
- Yacht renovation and transformation
- Interior design
- Interior and exterior painting
- Carpentry and joinery
- Metal works, welding and fabrication
- Refrigeration and air conditioning
- GRP and fibreglass repairs
- Structural changes and extensions
The ability to complete all work at one yard is particularly beneficial for the owner, as Todd points out, “It is the most efficient approach for the owner, not to mention being cost-effective.”
Buying new build vs. refitting a superyacht
Many owners, instead of purchasing a new-build superyacht, will convert an existing vessel, and this doesn’t just apply to luxury yachts; take a look at our ‘Top five classic yacht refits’ article to see a fishing vessel and ice-breaker ship transformed into stunning superyachts.
Refits can be so extensive now that with extensions and structural changes there are not as many constraints to what can be done as there were a number of years ago. You really do have a blank canvas you can work on. Todd states, “Exercise extreme creativity. You can be just as creative with a written slate as a blank one, if not more.”
Budget can also be a bonus: “The dollar on a refit probably goes about three times further than a dollar on a new build, and yet the end result is comparably the same.”
Timing is another reason to refit, as new construction yachts can take years to complete: “With a refit, you can minimise the turnaround time. A new build can take five years, sometimes longer. A refit generally takes around three months to a couple of years.”
What happens to the yacht's crew when a refit is underway?
While an operational yacht enters refit, some key members of the crew will typically go with her to the shipyard, depending on the type of refit work happening. More often than not, it's expected that the captain, chief engineer and a chief interior stew/stewardess will be needed at the yard.
Refits can also be a prime time to consider putting crew through training on how to operate and maintain any new equipment, which is being fitted. This is why some shipyards are often equipped with crew training facilities and supporting crew amenities.