“Collaborative agreements with neighbouring marinas, and relationships with all the principal subcontractors based in the hub of Fort Lauderdale's marine industry, make Derecktor Florida an attractive choice for the vessel that needs either major or minor service in the South Florida area,” said marketing manager, James Brewer in response to what lies behind the healthy refit figures.
In addition he said that the recently installed 820 tonne Cimolai mobile boat hoist had enabled the yard to work on more projects at any one time. “The shipyard (can) block ashore a minimum of eight megayachts at one time, more than doubling the previous capacity,” he said.
The close network and updated equipment may be driving the yachts into refit, but in terms of new build the same trend is not emerging for the New York yard. Derecktor has unveiled a concept for a 44m schooner with Persak & Wurmfeld, and reports one commercial order for a research vessel for The Maritime Aquarium in Conneticut. But it has not delivered a newly constructed superyacht since 2010's 85.6m Cakewalk.
Whilst some in the US industry believe promoting inspiring designs is one way of driving new business, others worry there’s a more fundamental problem to be overcome.
“In communities like the Dutch yachtbuilding community, you can get a level of service from design to build to engineering that all happens within a very close radius, which I think owners find comforting and supportive,” said New York based designer Brendon Abbott at Sparkman & Stephens.
“I know the government supports that infrastructure and I think that’s a great thing, but the same relationship doesn’t exist on such a close geometric scale here [in the US]. There still needs to be relationship building with custom designers and build clients in those yards.”
It is likely Derecktor Florida will remain the main source of work for the foreseeable future therefore, unless a model is established to mimic that network. It is nonetheless significant that it continues to attract so many of the US owners who go to Europe to buy their yachts but return home for refits.
“Derecktor's location, skill sets and service offerings make it the one of the most complete refit centres in the world, as is evidenced by the global nature of its customer base and a very high percentage of repeat business,” stressed Brewer.