“The yacht had a new owner but she was also tired,” says Captain Jacotine. “Maintenance on all fronts had been lacking and work needed to be properly planned in order to create a reliable platform and a visual appearance as you would expect of a yacht of this calibre.”
Over three and a half months, the following works were undertaken: painting of the hull and underbody; adding a full operational helicopter platform and related equipment; major upgrade implementation on all AV/IT equipment; major upgrade to and maintenance of the yacht’s interior; major layout changes on exterior decks; and major overhaul and service on all yacht’s systems and equipment.
Captain Jacotine joined the yacht in May, about halfway through her refit; a first for the captain who in the past has been involved in all bid packages, work lists and schedules from the beginning of any refit. Hill Robinson Yacht Management Consultants, acting as the owner’s team, had already pre-planned and agreed on works to be done with the shipyard. “For me this was a great experience, as it meant I could focus more time and energy on the operational and financial aspects of running the yacht, rather than being involved in the daily details of project management.
“One thing that was clear was that, working with a yard like Lürssen, with their experience, resources and management of major projects, when any unforeseen work was discovered and remedial work required, they were able to react without affecting the ongoing works or schedule – not something all yards can do,” adds Captain Jacotine.
The relationship between captains and managers is an often contentious topic – something Captain Jacotine was aware of as he joined the project. “It is true that the relationship between captains and management companies can sometimes be a bit fraught, and I have personally been dismayed by the quality and professionalism of some large management companies. In this case, the skill sets, experience and absolute commitment from the owner’s team [at] Hill Robinson was refreshing,” he explains. “A key element was the communication and relationship with the crew. There was no ‘them’ and ‘us’; it was a team working with the seam passion and energy in ensuring the success of the project.”
"In this case, the skill sets, experience and absolute commitment from the owner’s team [at] Hill Robinson was refreshing."
As with any refit where the yacht’s crew is involved, there was a multitude of work for crew of all levels. “There was a considerable amount of work for the crew, not only due to the refit but also the requirements of the new owner and the changes necessary for the [yacht’s] operation and Safety Management System [SMS],” explains the captain. “For example, the engineering team essentially stripped and rebuilt and/or replaced most valves and pumps throughout the yacht; the deck and interior teams were also busy organising their departments, owner supplies and equipment, developing Standard Operating Procedures, maintaining the accommodation an, wherever possible or practical, the yacht, providing laundry and catering service to the rest of the crew. Their days were exceptionally full.
“The last couple of weeks was an insanely busy period for the crew as there was a limited period of time available to re-load, provision, train and set up the yacht for departure and the first owner’s trip. And to complicate matters, they had to work around the ongoing work. In the end, their efforts and team spirit paid off and the yacht was ready to sail on time.”
For an experienced refit captain it’s refreshing to hear Captain Jacotine speak so positively of a refit where he was not involved from the beginning, and to hear the story of a successful refit despite the captain joining halfway through. “There is no doubt that this was an amazing refit project,” concludes Captain Jacotine. “It is a real example of how, with the right planning, management and a collaborative attitude between all parties, exceptional results can be achieved.”