Continuity, stability … and a healthy dose of reality
Daniel Küpfer, Chair of the MYBA Yacht Management Committee, explains the role of experienced brokers and yacht managers in refit projects…
Superyachts undergo a wide variety of refit activities, from regular Class inspections to complete restorations that may take several years. Regardless of the scale of the project, a refit is a significant undertaking, and its success depends on several parties working together harmoniously.
Many shipyards have the necessary skills and resources to carry out refits. The captain and his management team of the yacht have an in-depth knowledge of the vessel they are in control of, making their contribution indispensable. Nevertheless, more is needed to ensure a refit project is completed successfully.
The captain and crew require support as, very often, a refit period follows an active charter or cruising season with the owner. The crew need time to recover before the next season, and captains need a partner to discuss the yacht’s technical requirements and how to turn the owner’s wishes into reality, while also adhering to strict budget control.
The role of yacht management is to put in place the right structure so all parties can deliver their best, in the interest of the owner. Although the involvement of captains and their teams is crucial, it’s imperative they are also given the opportunity to recover before the next season.
The human factor is often overlooked in the sustainability discussions that are currently taking place within our industry but this lies at the heart of most matters, including refits. Crew suffering from exhaustion won’t be able to perform when called upon, and the ensuing turnover will contribute to a longer worklist when the yacht goes for its next refit after a couple of seasons. Therefore, it’s important that they have a competent partner at their side who can offer expert guidance, lighten the load and relieve the stress.
Yacht managers bring to the table their experience with other yachts at other shipyards, and sometimes even at the same yard. As the wheel doesn’t always have to be reinvented, managers can make decisions faster and often more competently due to the fleet knowledge available to them. They are able to secure better fleet discounts and, among other things, should be able to negotiate warranty works with shipyards due to their experience with other yachts, which can sometimes be from the same builder.
For owners, a refit can be a frustrating experience. The reward seems small, costs are uncertain and, due to the technical complexity of such projects, can easily exceed those anticipated at the outset. With captains and crew often under pressure to keep running and maintenance costs low, as well as minimising downtime, the outside view of a broker and yacht manager will help to give the owner a more realistic estimate as far as the time required and money to be spent is concerned.
The broker’s role is to understand, provide clarity to the owner, smooth the relationship between the parties involved and offer valuable insight about the project from a commercial and customer experience perspective. The ultimate objective is to help the owner believe in the project and to consider it as a journey worth taking.
At MYBA, we encourage brokers to guide their owners in large refit projects from a commercial perspective. This includes a sharp analysis of the return on investment of a refit, the yacht’s lifetime considerations and the possible resale value of the yacht, as the day of sale will inevitably arrive.
This guest feature originally appeared in The Superyacht Refit Report. For unlimited access to this and our full range of industry-leading reports be sure to sign up as an Essential Member.
Image credit: MYBA
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