Derecktor Florida has reported a strong refit book for the year so far, with 20 yachts completed since January and a further seven scheduled. Although not all of the yachts comprise substantial work, many of them do –Jon Bannenberg-designed superyacht 46m The Highlander is due to undergo a major mechanical and interior refit and 55m Belle Aimee has finished a major interior refit – showing the strength of the Floridian facility in the competitive refit sector. New build projects at its New York site are still lacking however, despite the yard confirming it is still ‘actively seeking’ contracts.

“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.

46m The Highlander is one of several refits booked for this year at Derecktor Florida

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.”

Cakewalk was the last superyacht delivered by Derecktor, in 2010

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.

Profile links

Derecktor Shipyards Florida

Derecktor Shipyards New York

Sparkman & Stephens

If you like reading our Editors' premium quality journalism on, you'll love their amazing and insightful opinions and comments in The Superyacht Report. If you’ve never read it, click here to request a sample copy - it's 'A Report Worth Reading'. If you know how good it is, click here to subscribe - it's 'A Report Worth Paying For'.