Yacht refit and repair: From a crew’s perspective
We all know that feeling, when the start of the refit season is upon us after a long exhausting season of constant smiling, sore feet, aching backs, catering to impossible demands and lack of sleep. Then the refit season approaches and the battle begins to get everything in place for next year.
Yachting Pages spoke to a range of industry experts to give all superyacht crew facing this situation a few tips in order to make their life easier, both during the refit season and afterwards.
Refit: Preparation is everything
Below, leading interior company, Sogni d’Oro suggested some guidelines and advice for yacht crew when it comes to preparing for the refit season.
As crew, at first you will need to decide:
- What needs to be replaced?
- What is looking worn, but may be worth saving?
- What needs to be packed up and stored safely before the refit and repair gets underway and the shipyard staff come on board to make that unavoidable mess?
But wait…. there’s a lot more to it than that!
Sogni d’Oro also explained below the importance of your budget and offered some planning advice.
One of the main things to consider before you can do any preparation and planning is the budget you will be working with. Have you been told how much money you can spend? Bear in mind that the person in charge of the money may have absolutely no idea how much wear and tear was put upon items during the season, or how much the things you need will cost.
Good negotiation skills are a must, as this will dictate which of the three above categories your items falls into. A good tip is to add 50% to your budget demands; not only does this give you room to bargain, it also makes you look super-efficient if you don’t actually spend it all, which is highly unlikely, but you never know.
Planning ahead: What work is scheduled?
The next thing is to find out exactly what work is scheduled to be completed during the refit period. The not-so obvious jobs planned for the boat in the off-season can, with a little persuasion, be used to your advantage.
Sogni d’Oro gave electrical or pipe work as an example, “Bear in mind that cables and pipes are hidden behind cupboards, salon furniture etc., all of which have to be removed for the work to be done and then refitted.”
If you plan ahead and at least know the dimensions of replacement items, such as wine glasses, cutlery canteens or even folded linen, the storage can be changed to fit your needs rather than you being limited by what fits into the storage space. If it’s all coming out anyway, get the changes done then.
Agis Variani from YDS Yacht Design Solutions commented, “What is the point of re-making a beautiful cupboard if you can't actually store what you have in it? The storage space needs to be created to properly fit the items you have and not the other way around.”
This applies to all storage spaces, but you need to be prepared, know item dimensions and where you want to stow them. If nothing is being changed, remember to measure the existing spaces prior to buying anything. Designers want everything to look good, but in many cases do not consider the practicalities perhaps as much as they should.
Peter Mallard, managing director of Sogni d’Oro explained, “It is very common when talking to professionals involved in refit and repair projects, to say that the spaces and designs are amazing for the owners and charter guests to enjoy, but it is not really ideal for the crew working on board the yachts.”
The importance of functionality
Structures, materials and furnishings that may look perfect and ready-for-use may not work in the proper way, or may wear out prematurely. Or worse: they may often hinder the crew's performance and, as a result, may fall short of the owner and guests' expectations.
Agis Variani from YDS commented, “The real life on board arises from details that are not in plain sight. How spaces are used in practice, what are their functional/security/maintenance requirements, which areas are subjected to heavy use or high traffic, what needs to be stored or stowed away, how the crew and the users communicate and share facilities – these are just some of the points that should be highlighted in time.”
It’s also important to try and incorporate adaptable and adjustable interior furniture on board, allowing the interior to change depending on the time of day.
Aesthetics vs. Functionality
Traditionally, space on yachts is limited; they are quite compartmentalised, with not much versatility and too much importance can be placed on the aesthetics.
Javier Villanueva Breton, CEO of Absolute Breton commented, “The decoration of the interiors on a yacht or any other high-end recreational vessel demand both special attention and an in-depth knowledge of the environment in which the work will occur. It is important to know that the materials used need to be resistant to the surrounding environment and the conditions on board: Such as humidity, abrupt changes of temperature, and direct sunlight in certain areas for example.
“Convenience, personality and beauty should be accurately combined when it comes to dealing with the interior decoration of a luxury yacht.”
Javier of Absolute Breton continued, “For example, one room which requires extra attention during the design is the dining room area of the yacht. It should be an adaptable space so that the number of dinner guests can be easily adjusted depending on that particular dining experience. It’s also important that dining tables and other large furniture doesn’t become an obstacle when it’s not being used.”
Storage areas, such as closets, drawers, shoe baskets etc., are also essential in these spaces and they must be practical, functional and plain, so that the attention is focused on the main decoration and style of the yacht, while still having everything perfectly organised in places that are easily accessed.
The importance of expert guidance
In essence, as yacht crew, it will make your life much easier if refits and designs take into consideration your daily tasks and the on-board environment, as well as, the amazing aesthetics.
Agis went on to state, “Aesthetics and functionality can and must work hand-in-hand. With the guidance of an expert on yacht interior workflows, it is easier for the designer to make the right choices on space distribution, coverings, finishes, lighting, furniture, upholstery, patterns and even appliances, dishware, artwork, linens, etc.”