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One to One: Toby Allies

Toby Allies, joint managing director at Pendennis, discusses the future of UK excellence…

In the latest edition of the Digital Dialogue series, Martin Redmayne is joined by Toby Allies, joint managing director at Pendennis. Allies joined Pendennis in 2007 from the British Marine Federation, where he directed the International Development Program. Allies became a director at Pendennis in 2009 and joint managing director in 2018. Allies has also served as chairman of the Superyacht UK Committee.

Pendennis have a long history in the UK superyacht sector and have pioneered many of the largest projects undertaken in the region. The shipyard in Cornwall has launched some iconic bespoke projects over the last 30 years, including the largest privately owned catamaran globally, Hemisphere, in 2011 and the Ron Holland designed 46m Ketch Christopher that same year. Pendennis also offers the full range of refit service facilities and has conducted over 300 full-scale re-fit projects by Allies's recollection.

It is the level of experience at Pendennis which Allies sees as a key differentiator. He stresses the need to compare like for like when looking at different shipyards. “There are a few of us that have been around for many years, and that can compare similar projects against one another”.

Speaking specifically about the need for differing and informed opinions when making a significant decision, such as where to build a yacht or conduct a large scale re-fit, Allies also sees a discrepancy between how comparably sized projects are approached in other sectors.  "If you approached it the way you would an expensive property, you would get multiple opinions from builders." However, Alles does not see this practice reflected openly in the superyacht sector.

“There is always this nervousness that it might damage the sale, but we are looking at long term relationships with clients in our sector, and we want them to be proud of their engagement with the industry, not disillusioned by a false promise, non-detailed information or a bad experience.”

Redmayne touches on the potential issue of being so well established and perhaps being held as a comparison point for pricing and tendering between other yards, to which Allies was clear.  “I don’t mind going head to head with a yard that can provide a similar outcome". As Allies sees it, the issue here is that all too often, what is presented to the owner is not balanced. “It is trying to get an even representation presented to a client that is really important.”

Allies is also quick to highlight that the industry should have moved on from some of the more arbitrary decision-making processes. “There has got to be a considered assessment and selection process; it can not just be about geographical position & bottom line. We are past that now.” When asked about the potential skills shortage in the face of a thriving industry across all levels, Allies was clear in his analysis of what the industry needs to do to nurture talent.  “As a sector, we need to retain, enthuse and communicate what opportunities there are within our shipyards and supply chain. ”

In a wide-ranging 32 minute conversation, further discussions include the rising demand for greener technology solutions such as exhaust conversions and the increasing complexity of onboard systems, and the associated need for increased training and expertise. You can watch the discussion here, and view our full digital dialogue library here

The One to One series is a collective campaign for change and industry improvement, and we welcome participants from all sectors. If you would like to take part or contribute your thoughts, please contact Eleanor Shepherd.

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