Looking yards ahead
Refit season is on the horizon, but how does one choose the right yard for their yacht and the works to be carried out? ONBOARD looks at some of the best yards around the world.
If ever there were proof of the old adage “Proper Preparation Prevents a Pretty Poor Performance” then the tasks undertaken before arrival at a refit yard is it. In short get it right before you arrive, and the refit will have a much better chance of producing a successful outcome. Many of the better shipyards produce a useful check list for captains to use before they arrive. But captains and chief engineers who are old hands at the refit game, will remind you that these are yard specific and yacht generic when what the yacht needs; is “yacht specific and yard generic”. They do however provide a good starting point.
There are of course some important priorities to get sorted first and these may be dictated by the owner, however, to propose a shipyard visit correctly, you must offer two or three on a short list and underline the pros and cons for each. But remember, price is not always the main reason to book your refit slot.
Choosing the right yard for the job is essential. Many captains have seen their refit fail because they chose a holiday destination believing that they and their crew will be able to enjoy down time in the sunshine. Face facts! Refits are hard work and down time is as rare during refit as it is during charter. It would be better to schedule in crew R&R as a reward for a successful refit rather than compromise the job. Different yards are better equipped to deal with types of works, than others so chose the yard because of their capability rather than personal preference.
It is often said that effective communication ensures that the information is provided in the right format, at the right time, to the right audience, and with the right impact. Never is that more true than in a shipyard especially one in a country where the local language is different to that spoken by the crew. Effective communication is often the foundation of successful projects. Good communication can unite crew and shipyard staff in striving for strategy objectives and budget.
One final consideration captains need to take before booking a maintenance slot in a shipyard and that is references. In much the same way one would check the bona fides of an aspiring stewardess so too should a good captain ask around. Do not believe a yard representative or website. Captains should check and check again with colleagues who have recent first hand experience of a yard. Get it wrong and it will be the captain who gets to ship out.