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SYT iQ: How to track and predict the superyacht refit market

Refit Market
Written by
Ralph Dazert

The intelligence team at SuperYacht Times monitors activity at the world’s superyacht refit yards on a daily basis. Over 2019, SuperYacht Times logged over 1,200 refit yard visits by yachts over 30 metres. Here, we take a closer look at how SYT collected the refit market statistics from last year.Dilbar yacht by Lürssen underwayPhoto: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesAt SuperYacht Times, we first started tracking refits in 2016. Over the years, we have increased our coverage of the refit industry, initially focusing on yachts over 40 metres, but later increasing our coverage to yachts from 30 metres upwards. In 2019, we felt confident enough to include our first refit statistics in our market report The State of Yachting 2019.The State of Yachting 2020 report by SuperYacht TimesPhoto: SuperYacht TimesWhat do we track?

Firstly, we log all of the refit yard visits that we find and then classify the visit. If it is a short stay and the yacht remains alongside rather than out of the water, we will normally classify that stay as ‘maintenance’ rather than ‘refit’. Similarly, we would also regard a short drydocking as ‘maintenance’. If a yacht stays at the yard for a longer period and there is evidence of modifications, large-scale maintenance work (a paint job perhaps) and/or the yacht is out of the water for a long time, we will regard the yard visit as a ‘refit’. If a yacht is very heavily modified during its refit period, we regard it as a ‘rebuild’, but the latter represents a minority amongst all refit yard visits. Thankfully, these days, refit yards are sharing more and more information about their activities, which also helps to increase the quality of our coverage.Top refit countries by number of facilitiesPhoto: SuperYacht TimesThe statistics

Looking at the past three years (2017-2019) of refit yard visits by yachts over 40 metres, we registered a total of 1,861 visits by 1,108 yachts, an average of around 620 visits per year. However, the number of visits we are recording is rising each year, partly due to a growing market and partly because we are getting better at tracking refits. As an example, we recorded a total of 497 visits in 2017 and a total of 735 visits in 2019. 

The refit business is indeed growing, which is understandable as the world superyacht fleet continues to grow year on year. This growth is evidenced by the heavy investments many refit companies have made in recent years. These investments were not only geared towards upgrading the existing facilities in order to deal with the increasing number of very large superyachts but have also included the opening of brand new yards, like Monaco Marine’s Toulon-La Seyne facility and Cantiere Rossini in Pesaro. In both cases, yachts were already lining up outside the yard waiting to be serviced even before the yards had opened for business.

In the following graph, we have grouped the refit yard visits by yachts over 40 metres according to their refit country and length group.Top refit countries grouped by length groupPhoto: SuperYacht TimesThe yards

With Italy being the most visited country for refit or maintenance works, it will come as no surprise that the country also has the highest number of active refit facilities. During 2019, 38 Italian facilities were involved in refit activities. The United States follows by quite a distance with 20 active refit facilities. France, the Netherlands and Turkey are also popular destinations, all of which are home to 12 active refit facilities. In addition, Spain is also in the double-digit range with 10 facilities involved.Jubilee exterior detailThe future

As the world superyacht fleet over 30 metres continues to grow by around 150 yachts per year and the share of larger yachts within that fleet also continues to increase, pressure will remain on the refit industry to accommodate all of these vessels. The range of work is extensive and can vary from small maintenance alongside a full paint job inside a shed, or even an extensive rebuild with a new beach club at the stern.  

At the time of writing, the coronavirus had Europe firmly in its grip, and its full impact on the superyacht industry was not yet clear. Nevertheless, superyachts will continue to need maintenance, and perhaps a temporary setback in the industry might even prove to be an incentive for some enterprising owners to buy a used yacht at an attractive price and put it through an extensive refit to suit their tastes and needs: only time will tell. What is certain is that SuperYacht Times will continue to monitor the refit industry and will report back again soon.Dilbar yacht by Lürssen underwayPhoto: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht Times This article was first featured in The SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now to receive your copy straight to your door and never miss another issue.

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SuperYacht Times - The State of Yachting 2020

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