In September 2014 SuperyachtNews.com reported that Atlantic Refit Center (ARC) in La Rochelle, France, was chosen as joint winners with engineering firm Eiffel Industrie as winners of the ‘Your Atlantic Yachting Shipyard’ competition. SuperyachtNews.com caught up with Stéphane Marcelli , general manager of ARC, to hear about the refit yard’s progress since winning.

On 1 January, 2015, ARC signed a contract with local port authorities giving ARC exclusive running of the dry dock, handing over total control of the dry docks operations to ARC. “It means ARC will decide which boat is coming, when and how long she can stay in the dry dock, which was not the case before. Now we are the exclusive user of the dry dock, so it’s much easier for us,” Marcelli tells SuperyachtNews.com. Not only this, but the exclusive usage also extends to the surrounding 5,000sqm which can be used as storage space.

One change Marcelli told SuperyachtNews.com he wanted to make to the refit yard when SuperyachtNews.com spoke with him in 2014 was covering the dry dock. A study is now being undertaken to understand the scale of the operation and the predicted time it will take to complete. “If everything goes well, the cover should be ready to use by September 2017.”

An exciting development is that of the large wet basin in the port. In 2014 Marcelli said he saw a future for the wet basin. In 2015 it seems its future is to become its very own marina, offering berthing to superyachts of up to 150m and workshops for crew. “The first thing is to be able to welcome vessels during the winter for their wintering and to have options for the crew, with some small workshops around. And obviously to give all the services of the shipyard,” explains Marcelli. “The shipyard will be just next to the berths, so if a yacht needs some service the shipyard will be ready to do that. It’s a very important improvement in this area.”


La Rochelle is to be home to a new superyacht marina

More thought has been given to the apprenticeship scheme that Marcellie discussed when ARC won the development of superyacht refit in the area. ARC is currently in discussion with local maritime schools and colleges about the programme, which he hopes to be set up within the next five years. “We want to train crews and the trade, not specifically on electricity or training but more on the yacht environment,” explains Marcelli, who adds the various subcontractors, as part of this programme, will be able to work on board the vessels at ARC.  “It’s partly the government and it’s partly private. This training centre will really be focused on the port ‘know hows’ and the yacht business.”

Alongside the exciting changes at ARC, Marcelli was keen to get the message across that the city of La Rochelle – bustling with students all year round – is a very viable option for berthing, with numerous activity options for crew. “It’s a very nice living area all year long – especially in winter. This is something we want to let everyone know – it’s a good place to stay in the winter.”

SuperyachtNews.com will continue to bring you updates as to the progress of the ARC development.

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