Due to the industry’s increasing demand for refits, and a booming refit and repair sector in Palma de Mallorca, the well-established Palmawatch has recently formed PalmaFits. With this latest development, Palmawatch, which specialises in smaller-scale yacht refits, aims to fulfil the demand it is experiencing to manage larger refit projects.

Palmawatch has partnered with SMC (Scillonian Marine Consultants) Ltd in the new venture, and PalmaFits will be using SMC’s external project managers with the aim of ensuring that everything from the initial enquiry through to sea trials is professionally managed, with effective communications between all interconnected parties being at the core of the business.

With a background in commercial shipping and large yacht projects, Tom Jackman, managing director of SMC, believes that the superyacht refit sector could benefit from a more commercial ethos. “In commercial shipping, organisation for refit projects is much more critical,” he explains. “In comparison to the yachting sector, commercial shipping is a well-oiled operation, so by taking a few little pieces from this industry we are able to look at the bigger picture.”

While the commercial shipping industry plans refits 12 months in advance, this may not be realistic for many yachts, particularly in the 30m to 50m range, which do not have access to the same extensive management resources. However, Jackman points out that the typical length of yacht refits is a problem. “It seems to be acceptable for yachts to be out of service for four to five months during a refit, but it shouldn’t be,” he says.

Furthermore, PalmaFits wants to challenge the industry norm that, when a secondhand superyacht sells, an immediate refit is often expected and even recommended. “This is potentially the wrong way to go about it,” advises Jackman. “It is best for a new owner to have 12 months on the yacht in order to understand what they want to do with their boat, how they want to use it and how the crew operate it.”

As it is still early days for the new company, the PalmaFits team will be focusing on having consultancy available for giving advice or a second opinion, which will very much come down to looking at the yacht’s and owners’ needs.

Image: Pierre Obéron (left), managing director of Palmawatch and PalmaFits and Tom Jackman (right), managing director of Scillonian Marine Consultants

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