Yacht conversions

Refits aren’t for everyone. Jens Meyer, ZUCKER & PARTNER, looks at the necessary, locally experienced teams and suppliers that will make the refit journey and execution smooth and successful

When I received the enquiry as to whether I would like to write something on the title topic, I didn’t have to think for long,
because isn’t this exactly what I grew up with in the industry? In no other area of the yacht building industry do you learn so much and so intensively in such a short time about the handling, system technology, methods and modification of yachts, their appearance, their transition and with it, the change of people, namely the new owners, who often also bring their own crew on board after the refit is completed. Maybe that’s why I never feel comfortable in newly built houses in my private life, only in renovated ones.

ZUCKER & PARTNERWhy do owners opt for refits rather than new builds? Is it really primarily due to the faster availability of the ship according to the exact desired specifications? Or is it the lower price, which is usually lower after purchase + refit compared to a new build? Is it the new way of life that owners are embarking on or new life partners that are encouraging some kind of refit? Is it the aura or the reputation that emanates from a yacht that is a little older and still prevails after a refit? Do they want to preserve the old soul, combining the elegance and timelessness of days gone by with the precision and beauty of today? Or is it almost a responsibility, especially in this day and age and with a view to the future, not to build from scratch, but to conserve resources, act sustainably and put a stop to the ongoing exploitation of the planet? Be that as it may, every customer has their own personal reason for choosing not to build a new yacht and opting for a refit instead.

However, once the decision has been made, everything has to happen very quickly. Unfortunately, it is a law that shorter (re)construction times, in this case the refit time, also have shorter lead times for completing these tasks. It starts with finding and deciding on the right shipyard, and this is where the foundation stone is laid for the first possible big mistake. In contrast to new builds, owner’s representatives, captains and owners are always well advised to look for the project team accompanying the refit, consisting of industry experts from the respective country in which the shipyard is located.

Why? No classic refit, (which can take between 4-6 months or more), can be planned and organised “exactly” like a new build. It has to be improvised for a variety of reasons and many decisions have to be made on a daily basis with the help of the owner’s project team. The local team will know the mentality of the extended team and companies, their quality standards and the local infrastructure, they will be the communicator, mediator and decision maker and intervene directly and support the project on a continual basis within the scope of its contractual expertise. Most importantly, and to the benefit of everyone involved: in the same national language.

Refits are not for everyone, not for every shipyard, not for every consultant and not for every supplier. Successful refits are achieved with employees who, despite the challenges and ever changing goal posts, enjoy their work and frequent changes, and vitally, with competent suppliers with whom an owner’s project team have an open and trusting relationship.

Not every decision has to be written down, but at least spoken out. In the end, this mixed situation produces a product that can exceed even the owner’s wildest expectations. For refits in Northern Germany, owners will therefore rely on ZUCKER & PARTNER, not least because of their 30+ years of expertise and experience of their employees.

For more details Tel: +49 (0)40 897161-0 or visit www.zucker-partner.de