In the wake of a devastating shipyard fire three months ago at McMullen & Wing shipyard, Richard Beattie, owner of StarFish and chairman of Aquos Yachts, has decided to give a new client the opportunity to complete the project.
The early-morning blaze, which began accidently in August just outside the three-quarters-completed yacht, quickly spread inside the forward part of the yacht until the fire crews finally extinguished the flames. The fire destroyed the parts of the yacht's interior that had already been installed, particularly the nearly-completed crew quarters, but it left the aft portions of the yacht virtually untouched. After the fire the engine room machinery was still cloaked in its protective plastic sheeting.
Beattie said the decision to withdraw from the project was painful and heart-wrenching. "Everyone involved with the project knows how much energy, how much creativity went into her vision, design and creation. Ultimately, it was a financial decision. As many in the industry know, I am also the owner of Big Fish, which after more than 60,000 nautical miles is now undergoing a refit at McMullen & Wing in her birthplace of Auckland, New Zealand. In January she will resume her record-breaking charter and cruising schedule in the South Pacific and shortly thereafter in Southeast Asian waters. It was never my intention to own two large yachts, and given the additional time and financial resources that would be required to complete StarFish, I have decided to give another owner the opportunity to carry forward with her completion."
The unfinished project will be an extraordinary value to a new client. Not only is the existing hull available at a substantial discount, the shipyard estimates it can be completed to the same world-class construction standards in approximately 18 months once work resumes, about half of the time normally required for construction of a custom 50-meter yacht. While a new client can resume construction to the yacht's original six-stateroom layout with a unique 38-meter private owner's deck, McMullen & Wing is asking several designers to submit their concepts for different potential superstructures and arrangement plans.
Beattie said that his loss can be another's gain. "I can confidently say a new owner will enjoy dramatic value and extraordinary enjoyment from breathing life back into this project. Since her launch 30 months ago, Big Fish has become the most traveled, most chartered and most applauded yacht in the world, a pedigree that will also belong to the next owner of Project StarFish."
McMullen & Wing said revised as-built specifications and equipment inventory will be available to interested parties early next week.
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