Sorgiovanni: A refit is no less involved than a new-build project


21/06/2021 - 11:48

All pre-loved yacht buyers want to refresh the interior by personalizing it to their taste; sometimes they will even undertake exterior changes or additions like an extension by a few meters of their yacht. Whether it is a cosmetic treatment or a structural redesign of the yacht, few owners are willing to undergo a lengthy refit process. We are often asked to finalise a refit project in January with an Easter delivery... A refit is no less involved than a new-build project. You have to understand what’s there and how to work with it before you start on design solutions.
Most of the time, the soul of the yacht has to be preserved and the refit must take this into account to give a boost without denaturing the style, to bring a touch of modernity without exaggeration, finally to sublimate the yacht.
There a few rules that I like to follow and submit to the clients before entering into the refit process.
The first impression… By simply adding new fabrics and loose furniture, we as designers can create a whole new feel of the boat. It is a pretty fast and simple manner to refresh the interior. As well, adding new artwork and decorative accessories will complete the beautiful and new visual effect. When you board a yacht after a refresh, only then you realise the negative effect that the sun and salt had on fabrics and certain interior finishes.

Home staging… A smart designer will look at adapting existing elements rather than stripping them out. Furniture and joinery can be retained but modernized. For instance, a classic wooden high-gloss dark panel can be stripped and redecorated with a more modern effect. We have used a lot of sustainable materials on yachts we refitted, such as frog and fish skin, other leathers, bamboo etc.  which - when treated and applied - look fantastic and are part of the green movement we have been involved in for some years. We also like to find ways to adapt how spaces are used; for example, existing spaces can be repurposed and adapted to a more modern lifestyle like a flexible area that can be used as a guest cabin or office when not in use or even as a beauty salon. 

Light shows… Another very important factor in the renewal of a yacht interior is light. Not only is it important to consider quality lighting of varying degrees of power and especially in the right places, but also to make maximum use of natural light. The special treatment of the windows plays an important role as well as the curtains or blinds in front of them, depending on the choice of colours and the material these are made of.
New tech… Technology is evolving so fast that it is often necessary to replace the lighting, audio and video systems, but if the customer decides to tackle a renovation of the entire on-board systems, specialists in this field should be called in. In addition to installing a state-of-the-art system, the specialists will install an upgradeable system that can accept new developments in the future.
Preferably no major structural changes… If the client is in a hurry, we would suggest they don’t undertake any major structural changes to their yacht as this would involve engineers and probably classification organisations and would inevitably take time. However, if the structure of the yacht is to be altered then it’s important to fully design, engineer and where possible pre-manufacture elements to minimize the duration of the refit period. This will streamline the refit period and enable the works to be performed in the yacht’s downtime. It is therefore ideal to undertake the work in the autumn or winter period.
Team work… Dedicated owner’s representatives are essential on any project; they can make all the difference to a project running smoothly and efficiently. Choosing a yard with experience in refits is also vital, we would always recommend using some of the traders that built the vessel in the first place however working with a reputable yard is essential for the best possible outcome.

Solveig brings 2021 Rolex Sydney Hobart to a close