Says Carran, “We have experienced an increase in the number of major projects undertaken in 2019 and we’re expecting this strong demand to continue for the rest of the year.” She believes the business growth is thanks to three reasons: aligning recruitment and project growth to be able to increase the breadth of service; repeat customers for annual servicing refits, guardianage and modifications and because the company does not restrict its services to Oyster Yachts. “As that becomes more widely known clients who do not own an Oyster are choosing to use Oyster Palma for their major projects as they know that they’ll receive Oyster quality of craftsmanship,” says Carran.
As the company continues to take on more skilled craftsmen, it is able to take on larger, more technical service work. Says Carran, “Awareness is growing outside of the Oyster fleet that we deliver high quality work, at industry benchmarked prices. We enjoy strong working relationships with captains, owners and managers and they’ve become our biggest advocates – drawing more projects to the Oyster Palma team. Even those who do not own an Oyster can experience the 5* service that Oyster owners enjoy.”
Plans for 2020 are more of the same: expand the team and the resultant additional service that can be delivered. “We certainly have plenty of ideas and plans that we will be bring to fruition in the coming year.”
Navantia is the Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company, which offers its services to both the military and civil sector. It is the fifth-largest shipbuilder in Europe, and the ninth-largest in the world with shipyards around the globe.
Antonio José Sánchez García is Sales Manager at the Repairs Centre at Cartagena. 2019 was a good year for Navantia Repairs Cartagena, continuing a trend that began in 2018 with not only the number of yachts increasing but also the complexity of the projects undertaken. Sánchez García puts this down to the strength of the Navantia reputation. For the coming year ahead he says, “We expect an increase in both the number of yachts and in turnover which in turn will allow us to improve facilities to meet the demands of larger and more demanding yachts. For instance we have increased the power supply to 1.200 amps.”
He reports that these days Navantia Cartagena takes on much more complex refits as well as extension projects, engineering reports and engine and generator replacements to comply with the current much more strict environmental regulation. Says Sánchez García, “We are in the process of increasing our workforce to provide better services to our clients. In a few months we will start improvement works in our dry-dock and we are also updating our syncrolift in order to increase its lifting capacity.”
ONE STOP SHOP
Duncan Sykes is MD of Absolute Boat Care (ABC), based at STP, Mallorca. The company carries out paintwork, varnishing, antifouling, polishing and gelcoat repairs…’any job’, says the blurb, ‘any size Now that STP has acquired a 1000 tn travelift, ABC can now take superyachts of up to 1000 tns out of the water. Says Sykes, “This has opened the 70m+ superyacht refit market up to us even more than before and we now have even more ability to cater for much larger yachts.”
Sykes forecasts that the fact the Americas Cup will be held in New Zealand in 2020 will have an impact on business this winter, as many yachts head over to the Pacific. But still he is confident of a good year ahead with the STP shipyard full well into next year and beyond.
ABC will be focusing on expansion and looking for team members with the skills needed to cater for its clients. Sykes says, “We want to ensure clients receive all they can from just one contractor rather than having multiple contractors and multiple bills, for example. We also now do all our own sika work; we tent our own areas; we have our own in-house carpenter for carpentry work: skilled experts all under one roof!”
STP is an open shipyard Sykes reminds us, unusual in the Med. This means in STP clients can choose their own contractors on their own time. “Most other shipyards in the Med have a pool of contractors that work for the yards that you must choose from,” says Skyes. “In STP that’s not the case, you choose the contractors you want!”
YAS Protec is the worldwide leader of temporary protection material. With headquarters in Valbonne, France, it also has operations in Germany and Barcelona, Spain.
Even though more and more yachts come into being, the specialised infrastructures to receive them remain limited suggests David Sieur, Chief Executive of YAS Protec. So, he says, there is more and more work on each site. In addition, shipyards continue to invest in order to modernise and respond to the demand. In terms of his own business, yes, he thinks the upcoming winter season will be busy: “Our order book has filled up quickly with some great refit projects. Our proposition is fairly unique but an essential one in the refit and repair market. We have seen the increase in overall projects in Spain, so we have naturally followed and opened the office here, it just makes sense to have a team here on the ground providing our guidance and assistance at close quarters.”
YAS Protec has only recently established a base in Barcelona, Spain and over the summer little by little, Sieur continued to hire personnel and structure the company to better meet the demands of the Spanish shipyards. Next year the focus will be to build on these foundations.
“We will continue to train our Spanish personnel with the same training methods and company philosophy that we use in France and Germany. Our goal is to offer our customers the same quality of services in different European countries.”
Sieur believes that as yachts become larger and more complex, both in terms of size and technology, projects need to be ever more carefully studied and prepared for working within the boundaries of ever tighter professional working procedures. He also sees a move towards less and less of a price, skill and service gap between European countries. “European regulations require each country to meet the same standards. The consequence is that in the end, even in terms of price, countries like Spain, Italy and Malta are catching up with France and northern European countries.”
So, the yacht refit world amalgamates in terms of skills, price and service, the businesses expand to take on a growing market, professionalism seeps into everysector cranny. The refit sector hubs are no longer monopolised by a particular country and yacht owners/ captains have a choice. And the choice does not need to be based on skills or price, it can be based on where they actually want to spend the long and sometimes lonely refit period. Many more than just a merry few are raising their hands (and moving their yachts) saying, “España, por favor.”
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Well not so much ‘new’ because Armada Engineering have been delivering ground-breaking solution in marine hydraulics and engineering for the past 30 years from their base in Falmouth, UK. But through market demand in the Spanish refit arena, Armada have proudly opened a facility at MB92 in Barcelona.
Armada Engineering Managing Director Joff Collins says, “The fast-growing superyachts sector represents a fantastic opportunity for Armada Engineering. This is an area where we already have excellent experience, having worked on some of the world’s top superyachts. For example, we designed the hydraulic starting system for the world’s fastest superyacht, which is owned by the Aga Khan. There is huge potential for our business to expand its superyacht customer base across Europe and further afield. Our new base in Barcelona will enable us to grow this area of our business significantly and we are really looking forward to working as part of the team at MB92.” The new workshop at MB92 Barcelona is the latest development in a period of rapid growth for Armada Engineering, which has seen a string of new contract wins since its management buy-out in 2017 and its brand relaunch in July 2018.
Armada design, build and install innovative, state of the art systems that are bespoke to our clients’ needs. The sleek designs incorporate highly efficient, leak-free functionality combined with the minimisation of noise and vibration, a vital bonus for the superyacht industry.
Collins emphasises that, “For maintenance of superyacht systems, our team of engineers based in Falmouth and MB92 can be mobilised to any location in the world. They will work closely with the ship management team and yard and take responsibility for maintaining optimum performance of all our systems.”
So in short, refit and repair in Spain is growing, supported by an ever expanding team of experts, that are willing to work together to deliver projects on time and in budget. They are both innovative and willing to invest in their future to keep pace with the world of superyachts design and engineering.