In the wake of the economic financial crisis, the past few years have been turbulent for the US market and, as a result, shipyards in the US have been feeling the effects. Derecktor Shipyards has undertaken some substantial projects of late and, after making some significant investments in its facilities, is reporting an uptick in business.

“The last 15 months have been really successful for us,” says James Brewer, director of sales and marketing. “We have had a number of strong refit projects and the general maintenance that goes through the yard on a consistent basis has been strong too. It has been really quite encouraging given the state of the economy when it all started.”

Following an 18-month refit, 46m motoryacht Highlander has recently left the yard and is now in Europe, available for charter. “We look at Highlander as a very successful job for us,” Brewer says. “It certainly was a win-win situation for the client and the shipyard. It is an iconic boat that the owner purchased with the intention of refitting and I think it was very successful. Everybody came out of that refit looking good; the client was very happy, the boat looks really good and she has created a lot of buzz.”

Work on MY Mirage is fully underway.

The Florida yard is also currently fully engaged in a major refit to 40m motoryacht Mirage, a Heesen jet boat. This vessel is undergoing a complete interior and mechanical renovation, together with full paint and the replacement of the vessel's MTU main engines. “The owner has purchased her with the intention of bringing her back technically but also upgrading the boat significantly,” explains Brewer. “He is a designer himself and has had a lot of input into the final aesthetic. He is also very much in favour of glass as a structural element, as well as an architectural element. It is going to be very interesting to see the boat when she is finished.”

"When there is a recessionary period, we have found over the years that the refit market generally sees in uptick in advance of the general economy."

With refit seen as the bread and butter of Derecktor’s Florida yard, it is important for the group to see encouraging signs that this section of the market is picking up. “When there is a recessionary period, we have found over the years that the refit market generally sees in uptick in advance of the general economy,” says Brewer. “So we are definitely starting to see an upturn in the market but we are not completely out of the woods yet. We have made big investments in the shipyard, which has made a significant difference to the volume of boats we can work on.”

An aerial shot of Derecktor's Florida shipyard.

As the refit sector is known to remain more economically reliable and secure for yards, it is interesting to note whether the US is seeing the same encouragement in the new build sector. “I still think the US market is slow with regards to new builds,” Brewer considers. “Semi-custom has been looking healthy, with the likes of Westport and Christensen receiving more demand, but true custom is yet to see the same results. I think it will get there - a lot of yards are putting in commercial investment into their facilities in anticipation of the market picking up.”

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