The term engineering can cover a huge range of systems, skills and knowledge. But what can be expected of a yacht engineering company and what services can they provide? Yachting Pages spoke to Mike Dellar of Palma de Mallorca based company Yacht Engineering Solutions (YES) to find out what services the company can offer and the obscure requests they receive.
How was the business founded?
I started the business in 2006; I had been working in and around the industry on and off since 1992, mostly on large refits as well as joining yachts as crew for short periods. I also gained invaluable experience working for the companies of Marine and Hydraulic Solutions in Boat Yard Palma as well as Rolling Stock in a management position before going self- employed in 2002, starting with a van and toolbox working directly for the yachts and sub-contracting to Palma Engineering run by Lincoln Berranger. In 2005/2006 I found myself with four major projects on my hands and decided it was time to take the next step and so YES was born.
How has the company developed over the years?
YES is a multifaceted business and each facet represents a period in its growth history with one thing leading to another. I started as a general engineering company and found that apart from the usual works, I was often asked to solve odd problems which I was quite good at. Also at the time there were less people prepared to take on heavy engineering jobs in the mid-size range of yachts and I was often called in to remove passerelles and transom doors etc...
Approximately during our second year, I was handed Palma Engineering’s perspex business; they had decided it was incompatible with the metalwork fabrication environment and thus handed over all their stock and gave me some pointers on how to work with the material. We then spent the next few years developing techniques to work with the material including building two ovens, buying a CNC with a bed of 3x2m and learning how best to make moulds.
At about this time, more and more yachts had shifted to glass windows and we were repeatedly asked about glass and frequently listened to people complain what a nightmare it was. It was at this juncture I visited METS and found Yachtglass, with whom we quickly became partners representing them here in Mallorca and on the mainland. With that tie up, we acquired photo metric scanning technology which allows us to scan 3D shapes such as complex windows, keels etc...
As a result of the perspex and glass work our next set of problems arose, namely we could never get gas springs quickly and rubber seals were also a problem; but another visit to METS and the problem was solved. We teamed up with Hahn Gasfedern for gas rams and found several seal suppliers who have been very helpful over the years. Bruntons Propellers, we acquired as a legacy of working with Palma Engineering, when they had been out of business for a few years. Our association with Will Hayward who has now joined us also started at METS where I was so impressed by his simple solutions to many of the Gas issues I had seen on yachts over the years.
What makes you different from your competitors?
We are unique because we are capable of offering such an all-encompassing service. We often receive criticism that we are doing too much and how can we be good in so many areas. However, we fill a niche area, an area where the specialists don’t meet, and those problems that no one can find a solution to or there is no solution on the market for.
What’s new with your business?
The Gas certification and installation along with AC and refrigeration is our newest addition, Will Hayward has merged his company Gas Boat with YES and we are developing this side of the business here in Mallorca. With Will having joined us we are now capable of inspecting gas systems, issuing certification and have our own proprietary gas fittings and adaptor kits. We are speaking to surveyors and working alongside many of the sailing boat manufacturers to offer our services in certification and ensuring systems are safe. We are also developing our 3D scanning, printing and cutting capabilities for prototyping moulding etc...
Are you working on any new developments at the moment?
The business continues to develop as we find more and more areas that our unique conglomeration of skills allows. We have taken on many other types of plastics for fabrication. We are moving into 3D prototyping with one small machine and we are building a larger unit as we speak. We are also building a more finely tuned, smaller CNC for fine engraving and smaller projects. We are also being called in more and more to reseal windows on yachts when they are repainted or as their sealants deteriorate over time.
Who is your key target audience?
Our target audience is the entire yachting industry in Mallorca, from small sailing and motor yachts through to the world’s largest superyachts; if we can offer a service they need, we will be there.
What are the biggest challenges that you face in the superyacht industry at the moment?
Perceptions of our abilities, those clients who know us call upon us regularly to solve a range of problems as do yacht management companies. Those who do not know the company often think we are only specialised in set areas and don’t recognise our multi-skill set.
Have you been effected by the recession?
It’s been a long and tiresome period; we had just expanded and invested when the work dried up. This was then followed by a lot of undercutting of prices and previously specialised companies moving into the general engineering market in order to survive. This is slowly swinging back the other way but people are much more resistant to paying on time and it will take a few years yet to regain that confidence in the market. Luckily the bank is still on our side; they recognise the issues and have been very supportive.
What are your top tips in your industry?
Be honest, do a good job and stand up for your mistakes otherwise you will never gain a repeat client list, it’s a small industry and negative publicity travels fast.
What is the most bizarre client request you’ve received?
Recently we got asked to cost up producing several hundred moulded birds to hang on mobiles for a party, though I think the price scared them away. Will was also asked to fit a keel cooler to a yacht whilst it was in the water.
For more information, visit Yacht Engineering Solutions (YES).