Focus on Refits - Captains’ Favorite Yards

22 October 2009 By Staff Report

To wrap up our two weeks of focusing on refits, we thought we’d ask captains about their favorite refit yards.

We polled captains from Monaco to Fort Lauderdale about which was their yard of choice and why. Each, of course, had a different recommendation. Some mentioned independent yards where you can use outside contractors like the old Boat Yard Palma or Lauderdale Marine Center; others prefer the in-house control and project management of a yard like Pendennis. But the reasons behind their choices were similar – all were based on trust, relationships and good service.

For instance, the captain of an 80-meter motor yacht chooses to go to International Technic Marine (ITM) in Marseille. “Because I trust the yard owner Jean-Christophe [Lenoir],” he says.

Capt. Carl Sputh of the 54-meter Benetti Starfire is adamant that no yard in the world compares to Rybovich in West Palm Beach. “It’s superior in every way,” says Capt. Sputh. “The project managers answer the phone day and night. Every week you know where you stand thanks to weekly meetings. There are no surprises.”

Capt. Mark Harrison, currently in command of the new 60-meter Lürssen Arkley, seconds Capt. Sputh’s sentiments about project management. He recommends Monaco Marine in La Ciotat and MB92 in Barcelona. “It comes down to good project management and I’ve had a good experience at both.”

Capt. John Willet of the 59-meter Capella C likes Amico in Genoa, which he describes as very professional, always staying on budget and on time.

“Personally, I like Rolly’s [in Fort Lauderdale],” says Capt. Bryce Simpson of the 112-foot Westport Kelly Sea, “because I have a long standing relationship with them and have been going there for fifteen years. The staff is always reliable.”

Interestingly, if you ask crew the same question you’re likely to get an entirely different response – maybe the same yards mentioned, but for completely different reasons. An engineer on a 50-meter motor yacht enthusiastically recommended Rybovich as well, but not for its spectacular responsiveness and communication. No, he remembered a particularly good night there after which the CEO was forced to write a memo to the crew, reminding them about proper decorum. “It was a bad party,” he recalls with a wistful smile.

Yes, crew are likely to be swayed by amenities, which seem to have reached a new level of sophistication and comfort at yards around the world. But captains are sticking with what, and who, they know.

“Whichever yard you feel most comfortable at is the one you should choose,” says Capt. Simpson.