Atlantic Refit Center Expanding Megayacht Service

PHOTO: B. Henry

PHOTO: B. Henry

Atlantic Refit Center has already welcomed some high-profile megayacht projects to its docks. Now the France-based facility will handle the lion’s share of refits in its region. It’s thanks to winning a competition conducted by the port of La Rochelle.

The port wants the city to be considered the go-to refit region on the Atlantic Ocean. It therefore initiated a promotional effort in October 2013, whereby service yards would compete to be named “Your Atlantic Yachting Shipyard.” Atlantic Refit Center and a fellow company, Eiffel Industrie, received the honor.

Atlantic Refit Center is poised for more megayacht business for several reasons. First, it can already handle yachts to 492 feet (150 meters). It has 820 feet (250 meters) of floating repair space, adjacent to two dry docks. One of those dry docks is reserved solely for megayachts. It’s 577 feet (176 meters) long. A 300-ton boat lift is also in service for yachts. Every yacht that comes to Atlantic Refit Center gets a dedicated project manager, who coordinates the craftspeople and communication with the owners’ team. As for the craftspeople, a combination of in-house talent and regular subcontractors are used. Of course, Atlantic Refit Center welcomes using subcontractors that owners and their captains may prefer.

Regardless, the work that Atlantic Refit Center can tackle is varied. It includes painting, varnishing, hull and structural work (metal or fiberglass), electrical and machinery overhauls and installations, and joinery. Furthermore, Atlantic Refit Center works with all of the classification societies as well as the MCA.

Atlantic Refit Center recently underscored its services on the two-year conversion of Enigma XK. The yacht was initially a Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency vessel in the North Atlantic. She served under sometimes punishing conditions and was chosen to become a yacht by a buyer who wanted to enjoy adventuous, long-range cruising. Still fitted with her original Ruston diesel engines, Enigma XKcan reportedly maintain 18 knots in sea states that would have many purpose-built luxury yachts pulling back on the throttles. Her captain, Iltud Orio, says Enigma XK “can safely punch through pack ice. She is a well-equipped, go-anywhere yacht that will be just as comfortable navigating the Northwest Passage as calling at coastal villages in Papua New Guinea.”

Since Atlantic Refit Center has also worked on commercial ships since its opening in 2006, it will continue to do so. Regardless of commercial boats or megayachts, it intends to bolster local marine businesses as well.

ROCK.IT Splashes at Feadship

Feadship-ROCK.IT-1A few hundred people attended the launch of ROCK.IT late last week at Feadship.

Of course, the owner was among those who watched the 197’10” (60.25-meter) ROCK.IT slip into the water. He had chartered Feadships previously, so the builder was a natural choice for his 35’4” (10.8-meter) beam megayacht. Henk de Vries, a Feadship director, describes him as someone with “between-your-eyes honesty” and who “pushed us to new heights.” “It has been an amazing and sometimes rollercoaster ride to partner with the owner of ROCK.IT,” de Vries says. “During his many visits to the yard, we had terrific fun with this unconventional and no-compromise client.”

Among the things the owner of ROCK.IT wanted clearly was a megayacht that blends modern and classic elements, and sporty and sophisticated elements as well. That’s apparent from the styling, by Sinot Yacht Design. Note the sloping lines aft, with cutouts, and the flared bow in particular. Sander Sinot of Sinot Yacht Design describes ROCK.IT as being “sleek and bold without being pretentious.”

Feadship-ROCK.IT-2

The interior follows the same theme. Dark woods like mahogany and sycamore contrast with light stones like white onyx and Portoro marble. ROCK.IT is a family-oriented yacht, yet also, as her name suggests, a party platform. Sinot Yacht Design was tasked with infusing the feel throughout the relaxation spaces for 10. These include four guest staterooms. A crew of 12 are housed aboard, too.

One thing ROCK.IT won’t do is rock at anchor. She’s equipped with a version of Dynamic Positioning. The system allows ROCK.IT to maintain a position and heading by coordinating her propellers and thrusters. A twisting, three-axis steering joystick controls this “semi-DP” system, as Feadship calls it. (Note that the system is indeed a version of Dynamic Positioning. True Dynamic Positioning, proven in military and commercial marine applications, can indeed be put aboard yachts. However, it involves higher costs and related complexities.) ROCK.IT features twin MTUs and certainly enough fuel to go transatlantic: 31,700 gallons (120,000 liters).

When ROCK.IT is delivered, expect her sundeck to get good use. There’s a hardtop fitted with a skylight, the latter of which darkens depending on the sun’s brightness.

Presidential Yacht Sequoia Lawsuit Continues

PHOTO: Ron Cogswell

PHOTO: Ron Cogswell

One year after the acceptance of a default motion in the Sequoia lawsuit, the court case still remains active. In addition, the longest-serving Presidential yacht in American history has not exchanged hands.

It’s the latest chapter in a nearly two-year, ugly battle over Sequoia, built in 1925 and cruised aboard by Presidents Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon. Sequoia has been in a series of private hands since 1977. In 1987, the yacht was designated a National Historic Landmark.

In August 2013, a Delaware Chancery Court judge formally dismissed a breach of contract lawsuit over Sequoia. That dismissal stemmed from the plaintiff, Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group, agreeing to a default motion to allow the yacht to change hands. Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group, owned by Gary Silversmith, a Washington, D.C. lawyer and developer, filed the breach of contract lawsuit in February 2013. The defendant was FE Partners, a U.S. company primarily doing business in Washington, D.C. It had provided a $5-million loan to Silversmith in July 2012 so that he could continue maintaining Sequoia. Both parties agreed to two further points in the loan contract. FE Partners could acquire Sequoia for $13 million if Silversmith wished to sell. FE Partners could also take ownership for $7.8 million if Silversmith failed to repay the funds. In his initial complaint, Silversmith accused FE Partners of “a dastardly plan” to wrest control of Sequoia from him, including forcing him to default. FE Partners countered with claims of millions in unpaid debts dating well before the loan agreement was signed and a deliberate attempt to hide these and other related matters. Further accusations were filed by both parties in the ensuing months, until the default motion was filed by FE Partners in June 2013. Silversmith agreed to it two months later.

PHOTO: dbking/Flickr

PHOTO: dbking/Flickr

Upon signing the formal lawsuit dismissal, the Delaware court judge also appointed an independent counsel to oversee the sale and transfer of Sequoia. That process was expected to take a few months, perhaps extending into early this year. But, the filings by both parties continued, focused on interest rates. Specifically, the parties disagreed over the post-judgment interest rate. In the loan document, an 8.75-percent interest rate per year was stipulated. Once the judge dismissed the suit, however, Silversmith argued a lower rate should have applied, citing a section of Delaware usury law. FE Partners argued for the contract rate. In June, the same judge who dismissed the case decided that the contract rate applied.

So, that should have ended the dispute once and for all, right? “Should” is the key word. Filings by both parties continue. On August 18, each side filed letters with the court.

FE Partners claims that a motion filed by Silversmith on August 13 to enforce the final order regarding Sequoia is “riddled with gross inaccuracies and misrepresentations and appears to be an attempt to re-write the procedural history and the loan documents.” The letter also states the motion is premature. FE Partners believes that the independent counsel should first submit his final report, which would spell out the total liabilities. In a response, Silversmith’s lawyer states that FE Partners keeps trying to delay the final order’s enforcement. The action “continues to cause harm to Plaintiffs and the Vessel, as fully set forth in the Motion,” he writes. He adds that the final-order motion can proceed, since the independent counsel has submitted preliminary conclusions and any further conclusions won’t pertain to the issues in the motion.

One thing the two parties in the Sequoia lawsuit can actually agree on: prompt intervention by the court.

The judge has yet to issue a ruling. In the meantime, Sequoia sits, and waits.

Skat Being Refitted by Royal Huisman’s Huisfit and Strametco

Skat-Huisfit-Strametco-2The famed, militaristic-looking megayacht Skat is no stranger to Royal Huisman’s Huisfit service. So it only makes senses that Skat is a customer once again. Royal Huisman is collaborating with fellow Netherlands-based Strametco for the project.

Founded in 2012, Strametco is located in Harlingen. It’s accessible via the North Sea without bridges or locks. Blasting and painting metal commercial vessels have been the jobs thus far. Strametco is now branching out in the superyacht sector. It anticipates collaborating with major yachting players due to its relationship with subcontractors and its facility’s capabilities. The shed is 295 feet (90 meters) long and 82 feet (25 meters) wide. Height isn’t a problem, either: 125 feet (38 meters) of clearance. Strametco says there are plans to extend the shed out to 361 feet (110 meters), too. In addition, Strametco has a syncrolift that can handle upwards of 4,500 tons. It’s 361 feet long by 82 feet wide (110 meters by 25 meters, respectively).

So how did Strametco and Royal Huisman’s Huisfit come together for Skat? Huisfit customers have a choice of venue for refits. Work can be done at Royal Huisman’s Vollenhove headquarters, or select locations elsewhere in The Netherlands. All of the latter, of course, have deep-water access. Arjan van Emmerik, director of Strametco, and Maurice Kok, deputy director, both say they’re “honored” that Royal Huisman selected their yard. “We are thrilled to have Royal Huisman as (our) launch customer,” a statement they released reads. “We hope this is the start of a long-term relationship,” a statement reads.

Skat, measuring 231’10” (70.7 meters), was previously was refitted with Huisfit in 2012. That job also took place in Harlingen, at Strametco’s neighbor, Icon Yachts. Back then, Huisfit upgraded Skat’s two tender garages, reconfigured the upper-deck to install sunpads, and installed new furnishings outside on the main and bridge decks. The team further completed a Lloyd’s survey, and repaired cosmetic paint. This time, Strametco says it’s removing hull paint and treating all tanks aboard Skat. No time frame has been released for the scope of the work.

VIDEO: BV80, Semi-Custom Megayacht by Blohm+Voss

Blohm+Voss is stirring up interest in a new megayacht project, the BV80. The German builder is stirring interest in more than one way, too. It created a YouTube video to promote BV80—before a press release has been issued or notice has appeared on its own website. Engineering for the hull and superstructure has also already begun, on spec, to save a buyer delivery time. And, the BV80 marks Blohm+Voss’ entry into the semi-custom megayacht market.

The BV80 is from the drawing board of Eidsgaard Design. The LOA is, as the name suggests, 80 meters, or 262 feet. The video teases mere glimpses of the BV80’s styling. However, she appears to be four decks high.

Blohm+Voss has made a name for itself in the upper end of the megayacht market. The size of the BV80 therefore fits in well among its deliveries. However, all Blohm+Voss projects to date have been fully custom. On its YouTube channel, the builder explains the reasoning behind the BV80 this way:

The BV80 combines proven engineering with flexibility. While the hull, machinery and superstructure are pre-engineered, there are many areas and elements that can be customised to the owner’s personal requirements.

This is not a mere ‘concept.’ Following a long period of detailed, behind-closed-doors planning, the first BV80 is already at an advanced stage of development. Potential owners will be pleasantly surprised by its short lead-time.

Watch the video, and see how much of the BV80 you can discern. In the meantime, Blohm+Voss says “thousands of hours” of planning has gone into the megayacht. Blohm+Voss pledges to release more details at the Monaco Yacht Show.