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Captains' Debate: Crew and new-builds

How can crew add value to a shipyard during a new construction project?

As the ultimate operators of a superyacht, should crew be involved in a new-build project and, if so, how? In The Superyacht New Build Report, published in January 2019, we asked captains the following question:  How can crew add value to a shipyard during a new construction project? And what advice would you give to crew during this process?

Mattia Belleri, build captain Baltic 142 Custom (under construction)
Crew can add value in many ways. They spend time on the boat more than anybody else so, they have a different and complete view on what actually happens on board, as well as when the sea pushes the boundaries.

Of course, every crew are different, but they do have a material understanding of the daily issues on board, more than other parties involved in a new-build project. This is important when it comes to maintenance, handling, layout and space requirements, and living on board; for example, ease of access, reliability of deck manoeuvres, cleaning or substitution of parts, as well as anything to do with practical matters. There is always a great focus on safety during a build, and the direct and indirect experience of crew on this fundamental topic could be significant on many levels.

We understand how to operate things with all the relevant implications of loads, timings, dangers and sequences. Crew also have the important experience of real-life comparison with other yachts and other crews’ feedback. I am an engineer myself, and the feeling I have is that practical experience should be valued as much as scientific knowledge in some areas; this is particularly important in phases such as early engineering, commissioning, servicing and warranties. I think experienced crew can play a very important role in filling the gaps between the theoretical and the practical.

Crew are the link between the final user and the maritime world. They have relationships with the owners as much as they have with the shipyard’s management, engineers and labour, or suppliers. Therefore, the crew can connect the lines between them all. They can navigate any potential miscommunication and tie up any loose ends. They are the glue. Most importantly, crew have the knowledge of how owners like to use and enjoy their yachts, so they can help in many of the specific, customised and precise choices.

[Crew] have relationships with the owners as much as they have with the shipyard’s management, engineers and labour, or suppliers. Therefore, the crew can connect the lines between them all.

What advice would I give to crew during this process? Study a lot! It’s important to look for new products and to keep pace with the latest technology. Also, make sure to have open communication with the shipyard on many levels: this will be a win-win for both the project and the shipyard in the long run.

I would also advise to be patient – very patient – and understand that a new build is a very big project, with a lot of people involved. Try to be a part of the whole thing, be humble and listen to all parties. Stay strong on important issues such as safety and maintenance, but also be flexible on things that can change.
Enjoy the process as much as you can, value the opportunity that comes with the effort and commitment. You should also appreciate other benefits of the process, such as the interaction with great partners, the personal growth and the steep learning curve you will experience.

This article will appear in full in The Superyacht New Build Report, published in January 2019. To find out more and subscribe, click here.

 

 

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Captains' Debate: Crew and new-builds

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