The changing role of a carpenter in the superyacht industry

Though thoroughly experienced in woodwork, cabinet making and often decking, the superyacht carpenters of today are required to provide a much more varied service. Yachting Pages spoke to Jens Henriksen of Henriksen Yacht Services, an experienced yacht carpentry company based in Antibes, France, to find out more about how they are now operating in the superyacht industry.

When was Henriksen founded and how?

I founded Henriksen Yacht Services in 1991. I started out self-employed following my father’s footsteps. To start with, it was only a one-man company working from a mobile workshop, where as today the company has grown and now there is an average of 10 employees working from a permanent workshop in Antibes, France. The company is still in Danish hands, but today there is a broad variety of different nationalities working for the company.

How are you unique from other carpenters?

One of our main strengths is our capability of taking on almost anything from a small sailing boat to some of the biggest yachts. We are always working on improving our skills and techniques together with our partners so that today we can offer a solution to most requests.

Is there anything that people don’t know about your company that you would like to announce?

Most people are not aware of the variety of different jobs we can do, such as plexiglass, fibreglass, aluminium, stainless steel work and of course the more traditional woodwork. Though we are based in Antibes, we work all over the world and have done it on several occasions.  We use the latest vacuum gluing technique and can take on teak decks of any size.

Are there any popular trends in the industry at the moment?

The boat designs are changing a lot, from curvy to a more sharp and edgy appearance, as well as having minimalist interiors and grey caulking in the teak deck to name a few.

Grey / white caulking is often now being used in teak decks, but there are still big problems with these products due to the UV filters and it is not quite efficient yet. Regarding the exterior, the teak planks on the teak deck are becoming wider with fewer details. This makes it easier to lay the decks but due to the really wide planks there are often problems with the expansion of the wood.

For the exterior furniture there is a lot less exterior furniture on the yachts now, they are of a more simple design; this gives more deck space but of course less storage.

Regarding yacht interiors, there are more open spaces and fewer cabins. The furniture is often off-the-shelf furniture that is being modified and mounted inside the boats, making the production cheaper and faster.

Can you tell us more about the types of requests you deal with from superyachts?

The most common requests we have are usually spray varnishing and general interior/exterior carpentry work. Though we do get unique requests and are used to dealing with difficult and unusual requirements; for example we previously had the task of modifying a staircase in order to fit in a big TV.

Are there any challenges you are facing in the superyacht industry currently?

The superyacht industry is a lot more organised today than it was 10 years ago, on many levels. So of course any company dealing with that industry needs to be up for the task i.e. paperwork, managing communications and so on. We were also affected by the recession; times got tougher but we managed to keep all our staff going.

Our every day job has become more challenging due to many different materials used and we had to educate ourselves to use these materials as not to lose touch to the new designs coming on the market. 

Are you planning to attend any boat shows?

Yes, we always attend the Cannes Boat Show and Monaco Yacht Show to expose some of the new services that we can offer.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety of jobs that we are all able to be a part of and the good relationships I have formed between clients and colleagues.

Who would be your dream client?

We feel pretty privileged to have the ones that we already have.

For more information visit carpenters and joiners or Henriksen Yacht Services.

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