Palumbo Superyachts Refit: Behind shed doors with Marzio Rucconi

Written by Georgia Tindale

Following the news last year of the extensive refit works being carried out on the 45-metre motor yacht Number Nine (previously known as Commitment), as well as the outfitting works taking place on the head-turning 88.51-metre Ulstein explorer vessel Olivia O (launched in Malta in January), it has certainly been a busy 2020 so far for Palumbo Superyachts Refit.

Palumbo Superyachts Refit facilities closed temporarily as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but they reopened soon in compliance with current international regulations and are operational for maintenance and refit activities, guaranteeing continuous assistance to boats and to their crew members present across their various locations. The activities will be carried out with due diligence and respect towards the guidelines for containment of the virus and adoption of the necessary PPE to avoid its spread.

To discover more about what’s in the pipeline for the company and its ever-expanding network, we catch up with Marzio Rucconi, General Sales Manager at the Palumbo Superyachts Refit Division and find out more about what’s in the sheds and what else they’ve got in the pipeline for 2020. Olivia O yacht in Malta Photo: Karl Borg
Tell me a little about yourself and how you become involved with Palumbo Superyachts Refit

I have been at the company as General Sales Manager since last January. I started my career in yachting in the refit business, then moved into new-build and aftersales before moving back across into refit with Palumbo. I have always seen the enormous growth potential which Palumbo has because of our huge network which spans across Ancona, Malta, Marseille, Naples and Savona. Being part of a group, as well as our roots in shipping repair, gives us vast experience that only our company can offer to the market. Marzio Rucconi Photo: Palumbo Superyachts
How is the season looking so far: what is currently in the sheds in Marseille, Savona, Ancona, Naples and Malta?

At PSY Refit, we have a lot of projects underway and it has been a good season so far. Across our shipyards, we are undergoing every type of refit project that a client could ask for. From simple touch-and-go antifouling projects, to full paint jobs, to lengthening projects, to serious mechanical works. 

At the Savona shipyard we have 16 refit projects between 30-55 metres which we are undertaking, from standard, quick anti-fouling and hauling out to five-six month projects with full paint jobs and two huge mechanical works which we are doing on 46-metre motor yachts. This is almost double the number of yachts we had last year, so this is really promising!
Palumbo Savona refit shipyardPhoto: Palumbo SuperyachtsIn Marseille, we have 11 projects underway. Thanks to our four dry docks up to 160 metres, we can work on yachts up to 90 metres and our biggest project at the moment is a full repaint job on a 90-metre which should be delivered by mid-April and will have great results - I am very excited about it! Another great superyacht which has just left our French shipyard for the Caribbean Season is the 73 metre Titania by Lürssen.Titania yacht during her refit at PalumboPhoto: Palumbo SuperyachtsElsewhere, in Ancona we have 12 refit projects with both recurring and new clients. A special mention must be given to two sailing superyachts, a 90-foot Nautor's Swan (27 metres) and a 24 metre by Southern Wind. The Swan 90 has been completely repainted.

Malta is packed out as well, with all of our drydocks full until the end of April and new yachts requesting drydocks in May. Finally, our facility in Naples is also having a great season, especially because of the works we are undertaking on motor yacht Number Nine (Commitment) which are due to be completed in May. We will add a new hull extension on the stern, lengthen the boat by seven metres, fully repaint the hull and add a new pool, so this is a serious lengthening project!Number Nine  yacht during a refitPhoto: Palumbo SuperyachtsWhat does Palumbo Superyachts Refit have to look forward to? Are there any imminent new investments, expansions to the company facilities or services?

The company has recently made huge investments in our infrastructure (including 6 million euros into the largest syncrolift in the Adriatic sea last year at our Ancona shipyard), and we are building up to be the biggest network for refit in the Mediterranean. Now we are looking inwards and restructuring as far as shipyard personnel is concerned, and adding new resources so we can be even faster at responding to the needs of our clients. We have serious internal investments underway as far as human resources are concerned. Dragon yacht launch in AnconaPhoto: Palumbo SuperyachtsWhat is the most memorable project with which you’ve been involved? 

I am personally very proud of the work we are doing with the 90-metre full paint job in Marseille. I have been following the client for several years, and it is a job that the client always wanted to do, but they never found the time to do it. When the time finally came, we immediately jumped on the project and involved top companies to do the job: the result will be amazing when it is finished. The team also includes Giulio Maresca, the General Manager of Marseille shipyard, who has a long experience in the marine industry. Having an organised refit shipyard means there is no fear when it comes to taking on big projects! Palumbo Marseille paint shed Photo: Sigrun Sauerzapfe aka SiggiDo you feel that certain locations are getting more popular for refits?

I think the Adriatic sea has a lot of potential, away from the busy Mediterranean. It is a well-suited place for clients who start their chartering season in Croatia, Greece and Turkey. At PSY Refit, we can offer the same quality as other shipyards and having works done in a network is better than in a single shipyard because we can always follow a yacht wherever it might be. If a yacht has been undergoing a refit in Savona, Marseille and they move towards the Adriatic Sea, our colleagues in that area can help them. The same goes for Malta, and the southern part of Italy, so we try to assist our clients also through the season - not only during the refit part of the season but also their cruising season too, so that’s one of the big advantages of working with us.  Titania yacht during her refit at PalumboPhoto: Sigrun Sauerzapfe aka SiggiIn your experience, how has the market been for refits in recent years?

Positive. A lot of new-builds have been visiting us over the last few years as their warrantee periods are expiring and yachts are starting to look around for shipyards. There is a lot of competition I must say. I came back to the refit market after two years after having been working for aftersales, and I can see that the competition has increased, especially as a lot of shipyards have now employed more technical managers to do full management of refit projects.

It is important for us to keep our recurring clients close and to have a good benchmark of clients that come back every year. It is happening in all of the shipyards: we have a lot of repeat clients and this means that we are working really well! It is the best explanation we can give to new clients in order to promote ourselves: don’t listen to all of my good news, speak to clients and ask them how they felt working with us. When you come to PSY Refit, whether you stay for a week, a month or six months, you will be part of our community for as long as you want to be. 



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