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The Buyer Journey: Upgrading and refitting your first yacht

With refit widely considered a legitimate alternative to new build, we consider the best practice for potential buyers…

In recent years the refit market has exploded in popularity. Rather than merely being considered a necessary part of a superyacht’s lifecycle management, refit today is considered a legitimate alternative to commissioning a new build project as it can save on time and cost when done properly. As well as the development of a number of renowned and highly specialised refit yards, the popularity of this sector has also seen major new build enterprises double down on the refit industry and bring their own expertise to the party.

“The road to refit is wide and varied, but if correctly tackled, the ownership benefits are threefold: shorter build times, proven engineered platforms and reduced costs,” explains Bart Bouwhuis and Marnix Hoekstra, the creative directors at Vripack. “When faced with so many options, however, the task can be daunting, especially for first-time buyers.”

“A successful project always depends on good planning, putting together the right team and great communication. Preparation on the part of the manager or captain requesting the refit is key to managing and optimising time and budget,” comments Alberto Amico, CEO of Amico & Co. “Most owners are now supported by consultants and managers, who help manage the design process, allowing planning and scheduling to be defined well in advance of the vessel’s arrival…”

It should be noted that not all refits, nor refit yards, were created equally. In fact, even the word ‘refit’ itself, depending on who speaks it, can mean anything from minor maintenance or aesthetics works to vessel extensions and complete aesthetic overhauls. As such, it is of vital importance for any buyer to understand what it is they require and which yards are most suitable to complete works.

If the work is minor and likely to be completed in a short period, perhaps one of the worlds most renowned refit yards is not necessarily the most cost-effective choice. However, if the works are major, choosing a seemingly more cost-effective yard may result in additional costs down the line if the works have not been completed to a sufficiently high standard.

According to Alberto Perrone, sales director yacht refit at Lürssen, a refit should be divided into three phases: Before, The shipyard period and Delivery & thereafter.

Phase 1: Before

The first phase is a little bit ‘circular’, rather like a dog chasing its tail.

  1. You must define a rough budget and what you want to do. So, to a certain extent, you must make some rough price assumptions.
  2. Define a period and a duration – then make sure the owner knows it and agrees!
  3. Draft a list of the jobs that you want to complete, preferably in some logical order.
  4. Introduce gradually more and more detail and accuracy to your jobs list, therefore creating your specifications. The more accurate the request, the better the yards will quote – and the better you can compare.
  5. Again, based on your budget, pick the yards for the beauty contest. Here, there are multiple schools of thought. I think it’s a good idea to pick a variety of yards; after all, you need to figure out if the delta in price walks hand in hand with the delta in quality.
  6. It’s very important to read the small print and check all the additional expenses, logistics, crew, accommodation, etc.”

Within the recently-published The Superyacht Buyer Report, the chapter entitled ‘Upgrading and refitting your first yacht’ provides detailed accounts from some the market’s foremost refit experts on how to perfect the customer journey throughout a refit. If you wish to read more from Perrone, Amico, Bouwhuis and Hoekstra, be sure to download your complimentary version of ‘Upgrading and refitting your first yacht’ and click here


Image credit: 100m Kaos (ex Jubilee) recently completed its refit at Lürssen

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Amico & Co


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