It has been a busy start to the season at Solent Refit, the South Coast, deep-water superyacht facility in Southampton Water, with the site continuing to be improved specifically for superyacht refit and repair. The UK superyacht industry is benefiting from the arrival of some of the world’s finest yachts, as owners travel from around the globe to watch the Olympics, and attend the many Solent based regattas. While here, superyachts are also enjoying the UK refit industry’s healthy price advantage over Mediterranean and Caribbean competitors.
Solent Refit has welcomed back a number of returning owners, with one yacht returning for a third time this summer. Mediterranean refit centres are usually more expensive than similar services in the UK, although the quality of materials and workmanship are equally high in both locations. A number of large power craft - all over 130 feet - have been out of the water and under refit in 2012 already. These include the M.V. Light Blue, M.V. Osprey and Sudami (managed by Fraser Yachts). Another yacht, Lunar Mist has just started a major refit at the yard.
For longer term projects, yachts are moved into the sheds using the transverse rail system. These are then scaffolded and plastic-covered to contain heat and protect from the elements The 1500 ton horizontal slipway is proving very popular and has had a number of visits, either for hull checks or for removal to the shed for long-term work. The use of the slipway is competitively priced and available to all boatyards, project managers and contractors.
In order to keep on top of growing demand, Solent Refit has brought in project-management expert Phil Millard. Phil has amassed over 25,000 miles as Captain of Custom Line and Ferretti Yachts over the years and has personally supervised the construction process of 12 Custom Line Yachts, as well as running his own yacht maintenance company. His pedigree in superyacht project work and shipyard management will be a fantastic asset to Solent Refit. Phil’s remit is to supervise the development of the yard. New walkways have been fitted to the main pontoons and more installations are being programmed. The whole pontoon area is rapidly being developed as a facility for short term refit and remedial work, in addition to berthing for shows and regattas.
Johnny Byrnes also joins Solent Refit on a permanent basis as a Project Manager. His first task is overseeing the re-commissioning of the 38 metre M.V. Light Blue, a new yacht project that had not been fully completed. The new owner requires considerable changes to the specification including new accommodation, engineering systems, and a full repaint. The yacht will be fully re-commissioned and launched as a new vessel.