The Port of Palma, which plays host to the second edition of the Palma Superyacht Show, is a hove of activity at the peak of the refit season. Despite the issues that have plagued Spain's status as a superyacht destination, its status as a refit hub is unquestionable.

And this is in evidence when one tours the STP site, which is currently operating at capacity; yachts are undergoing work as far as the eye can see - in the water, on hard standing, and effectively, wherever there is space.

The sheer scale of this operation is mind blowing, while the co-existence of companies leasing space, and subcontractors appointed by attendant yachts, puts the number of commercial operators on-site at around 450, and 1500 personnel. Not only is this a large number, but it highlights Spain's convenience as a location, and hints at what could be achieved in the context of more yacht-friendly governance.


STP ariel shot.

Speaking exclusively to SuperyachtNews.com, STP's director, Joan Rossello said the site is unique. With 1000 yachts passing through each year, and around 100 under work during the visit, the scale of the operation is clear to see. He sees the site as Spain's number one, precisely because of the quality of companies that operate there, and he believes the market for refits has recovered strongly in the last couple of years, a fact that's hard to dispute considering it's attractiveness as an alternative to resale. But there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the country's charter market, Rossello says.


STP.

This is echoed by Oscar Siches of Marina Moll Vell, which will host the Palma Superyacht Show. He is concerned that the heraldry of recent reforms to Spanish fiscal law could encourage an influx of charterers who suffer the consequences of a system that is still in the midst of transformation. "Nobody wants to say, 'don't come to Spain', but nothing will change between now and the next election." That means, Siches says, that Spanish customs inspections remain a very arbitrary process and that captains are still reluctant to make their owners the guinea pigs who put the reforms to the test. "Brokers are saying to captains, 'if you can get your Spanish certificate, we will line up the clients'", he says.


Twizzle at Astilleros de Mallorca. Credit: David Baileys

But whilst the charter market offers little clarity, seeing Palma's refit hub at work, it is an impressive sight. Across the way from STP is Astilleros de Mallorca, the refit facility that is currently undertaking work on Twizzle and has just relaunched Enigma. According to head of marketing and communications, Jennifer Maul, the yard has retained such consistent traffic because of its hub status. With the option to address over-capacity by moving additional work across the bay to STP, or "the pit-stop" as Maul calls it, Astilleros can offer a turnkey solution for visiting yachts of almost any size. Facilities such as historical wood inventories and yacht lifecycle histories dating back to the 80s underline this. And like its neighbour, Astilleros has designated space for owner-elected contractors to work on-site, ensuring that no stone is left unturned.


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Servicios Tecnicos Portuarios - STP Palma

Astilleros de Mallorca