Top worldwide yacht refit and repair shipyards
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 14/11/2017
When purchasing an operational superyacht, a new owner is likely to want to refit his or her new investment to suit décor to personal tastes, ensuring interior layouts are fit for purpose and systems are up to date, upgrading the yacht to the highest possible standards.
As such comes the difficult decision on which of the world’s leading facilities to select for refit, conversion or repair. Although location will be a leading factor in shipyard selection, so will be reputation and past project experience.
Here, Yachting Pages lists some of the world’s best superyacht refit and repair shipyards, from A to Z.
Recognised by a name with two centuries of history in the yachting industry, Amico & Co was established as a refit specialist in 1991, and now accommodates vessels up to 200m in facilities spanning just over 50,000m².
Current facilities include four dry docks with lengths up to 170m, 12 covered refit and repair areas, two travel lifts (320t and 835t), a keel pit and ample in-house workshops for engineering, engine and generator services, technical systems, painting, carpentry, interiors, electrics and more.
The yard added 135 projects to its portfolio between August 2016 and July 2017, and counts 1,230 successful projects in the last decade. Some of its most notable of all time include a major 17-month conversion aboard an 85m passenger yacht formerly known as Delma, the refit of 75m Amels M/Y Boadicea, and of 55m Proteksan M/Y Turquoise, which saw new dining and entertaining areas added to her sundeck, and a Nikki Beach-style night cinema to her main aft deck.
Alberto Amico, president and operations manager of Amico & Co said, “The superyacht refit market is thriving as the fleet continues to grow and there are good opportunities on pre-owned yachts that the owner can refit and upgrade in a short time for a fair price.
“Owners who desire customised yachts that meet the highest safety and environmental standards are increasingly embracing the benefits of the refit solution. The nature of the market demand is changing, however - for larger yachts and bigger refit projects, most clients are now organised with qualified consultants and managers and as a result, the design and bidding process is better managed. Clients pay more attention to the key criteria for choosing a yard: Reliability, quality and technical capability.”
Successfully making the transition from new build to refit services, Compositeworks is now one of the largest dedicated refit facilities worldwide, having recently taken over the old Atlantic Refit Centre in La Rochelle.
Between its La Ciotat and La Rochelle yards, its dry docks measure over 1.5km end to end, and there is over 2km of quayside space for in-water works. Its facilities include two 300t travel lifts, a 2,000t Syncrolift and cranes capable of lifting 200t and 600t respectively.
It undertakes approximately 100 refits per year, with one of its main USPs being its highly technical approach to refits, through a large in-house team of engineers and architects. Notable projects include sundeck restyling and a generator refit on board Feadship superyacht Faith, and a three-metre transom extension, forward superstructure remodel and new paint job on Feadship Falcon Lair.
Celebrating its 50th year in Florida, Derecktor is a comprehensive megayacht refit, repair and maintenance facility with over 100 full-time employees and local marine specialists beyond.
Located within two miles of Fort Lauderdale on the Dania Cut-Off Canal, Derecktor operates two Cimolai mobile boat hoists of 820MT and 200MT capacity, and serves megayachts from 30m to 65m in length. Its core competencies include custom steel and aluminium welding and fabrication, ship fitting, pipe fitting, heavy mechanical and rigging and protective coatings.
Its most visible project to date is aboard iconic Feadship Highlander back in 2013/14, which saw her transom modified and stern extended by an additional 3.65m. Her sundeck was also extended to give more relaxation areas, and her main deck refitted for private cruising. Updated zero-speed stabilisers, audio-visual and sewage systems completed the refit to prepare her for charter.
As one of France’s oldest refit yards, Nautech is well known and respected in the yachting industry. It began repairing yachts in Marseille where it now has a 20,000m² boatyard, dry docks, crew amenities and 500m² of workshops and storage.
Since being founded in 1996, the Group has expanded along the coastline to Villefranche-sur-Mer where it has a 60m dry dock, and on to La Ciotat where it operates another 60m dry dock and 300t travel lift. It has further facilities in Toulon, Havana and Martinique.
Some of its notable projects include works on Feadships Al Mahboba, Callisto and Siran, surveys and exterior refit on 90m Oceanco Indian Empress, and paint, surveys and refit works on 45m Benetti Lady Christina.
Celebrating 25 years of world-class refits this year (2017), MB92 is one the world’s largest and most well known superyacht refit, repair and maintenance facilities.
As a result of increased investment in recent years, MB92 has seen the benefits of a major expansion and redevelopment. Works have seen the site expand by almost 1000,00m², and a new 2,000t Syncrolift installed. The facility has a 220m dry dock, and there are also plans for a new 4,000t shiplift.
The yard is well known for being discreet about its clients, but past projects have included 82m classic yacht Talitha.
Monaco Marine makes the list of best superyacht refit facilities, due to its established network of eight refit and repair yards throughout the South of France.
Starting out in Monaco in 1995, the company now has yards in St-Laurent-du-Var, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, St Tropez, Antibes and La Ciotat, with sites in Toulon and Marseille set to open in 2018. When combined, its existing yards span some 92,500m², and, once open, its two new facilities will both welcome its largest superyachts at up to 140m LOA.
Notable clients of Monaco Marine to date include Feadships Predator and Tango, as well as 55m Heesen Quite Essential and 52m Amels Unity.
Starting out in Naples in 1967 as a fairly small carpentry and metalwork yard to support the local ship-repair industry, Palumbo Group is now a major player in the new-build and refit/repair sectors in its own right.
With the acquisition of its Marseille yard in 2014, the group became one of the largest refit and repair networks in the Mediterranean, and now operates five shipyards throughout the region and Tenerife to a total area of 41.5 hectares. Its facilities include 14 docks to an overall length of 3.3km, with 241 yachts refitted to date.
Fast approaching its 30th anniversary, Pendennis has shipyard facilities in Falmouth, England and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Currently manned by a team of 420 skilled workers specialised in all trades of new-build and refit works, and known for its award-winning apprenticeship scheme, Pendennis is continuously expanding its workforce allowing it to offer bespoke refit projects. These range from engineering and survey works through to detailed classic yacht restorations, stern extensions and complete rebuild projects.
In the nine months of 2017 to date it has completed 18 refit projects at its two facilities, alongside some minor short works. Some of its most impressive include the 12-month interior rebuild and redesign of 85.6m M/Y Aquila (ex. Cakewalk), which saw creation of a new cinema room, 60sqm owner’s deck, Jacuzzi and disco bar/PA system among routine survey and technology upgrades. The project won Pendennis the World Superyacht Award for Best Refit 2017. Pendennis was also recognised for the Best Rebuild in 2016 for its work on 50m M/Y Malahne, which underwent a 30-month major restoration to return her to her original 1930s glory after she became completely unrecognisable in the 1980s.
Of course, there are notable newcomers to the superyacht refit sector, in the shape of Savannah Yacht Center in Georgia, USA.
Not set to be fully operational until the first quarter of 2018, SYC has already welcomed one megayacht to its 17,000-ton dry dock for repair works. It will also soon launch 1,200 feet of wet slips with electrical services available up to 400 amps, and, once complete, will offer a 3,240-ton Syncrolift and paint support facility manned by Pinmar USA, as well as a woodshop, machine and pipe shops, a fabrication building, tender storage, a ship’s store and full crew amenities, making it one to watch.
Solent Refit is a deep-water refit facility in Southampton, England. Currently the UK’s newest and largest covered refit and repair facility, it accommodates superyachts up to 70m LOA.
With 10,000sqm of undercover working halls and waterside working areas, a powered rail system for vessel transfer, and a 1,500t horizontal platform slipway, as well as 14 full-service, deep-water berths for large vessels and on-site crew-training facilities, Solent Refit is branded as one of the most comprehensive UK facilities. Its equipped to offer structural and mechanical refit, repair and restoration services.
Recent projects at the yard include the refit of 37m Amels superyacht M/Y Blue Attraction, which will see new accommodation added on her upper deck, and the installation of a new swim platform. Her tender will also be moved and a new crane added. M/Y Turquoise was also recently updated at Solent with a new paint job, but the facility's most interesting refit by far is scheduled aboard classic motoryacht Lady KII, which is currently being offered for sale with a custom refit for her new owner.