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Tried and tested: What to expect when taking a superyacht for refit in Spain

25 August 2022• Written by Laura Nicholls for Pendennis

Follow the coastline south of Barcelona and you’ll find Vilanova i la Geltrú, a charming beach town on the cusp of the Penedès wine region. Central to the town is its Grand Marina, where boats of all shapes and sizes come to lap up the Spanish coast or visit the area’s premier refit and maintenance facility, the Pendennis Vilanova Technical Service Centre.

As a branch of the world-class British superyacht yard based in the UK, Pendennis Vilanova is perfectly positioned to be the first port of call for yachts in need of a spruce-up in the Mediterranean. But before a yacht arrives in Vilanova i la Geltrú, there is a flawless process in place to make sure a project is executed on time, safely, and with the utmost care. Here, Pendennis Vilanova’s general manager, Miquel À. Lliteras, shares what a client can expect from this Mediterranean refit yard.

We never say no

“The reason we call ourselves a Technical Service Centre is that we have everything a yacht might need here on site,” says Lliteras. The majority of the facility’s core team have worked at the Pendennis home base and have years of experience working within the superyacht business. “In my professional career to date, I have not received such excellent service from any shipyard/ marina. What the team have developed at Pendennis Vilanova is the correct step forward for yachting shipyards,” says Captain Kathy Pennington of the Oyster 125, Twilight.

“Our in-house Pendennis team has all the first-class skills expected. However, a client can choose to bring their own contractors on-site if they wish, as we work as an open yard,” he adds. Pendennis Vilanova is able to assist a self-managed project in any way – often by providing equipment such as scaffolding and cranes or by tapping into their large Mediterranean network of contractors and suppliers to find whatever it is a client needs. “As a result, a client will never have to hear the word ‘no’! We can always find a contractor, we can always get the job done.”


The costs are always transparent

A yacht that has recently taken advantage of the option to combine its own contractors with the Pendennis team is the 43-metre Siar-Moschini flagship, Dream. “Dream has been with us since September 2021 and all the works being undertaken on board have been arranged by the captain,” says Lliteras. To allow external contractors on-site, Pendennis Vilanova requires a small access fee to cover all health and safety elements and security for the facility.

Thanks to the good relationships the facility has formed within the Mediterranean, the yachts at Pendennis Vilanova are often prioritised by external contractors. “The contractors we know are part of the Pendennis family,” Lliteras explains. “And we know that every client is different – so we always offer options for those who prefer to keep their costs low or seek the best technical work available.

“Every client will see the agreement and the price of the contractor before the work begins, we are always very transparent about this,” he adds. With special discounts for yachts staying more than three months, Pendennis Vilanova has clear prices for all services, which include berthing, power, water and electricity supplies and manoeuvring.

The team can get to work immediately

With 34 tradespeople in the current team, including six project managers, every visiting yacht is assigned a main point of contact. In the weeks leading up to a yacht’s refit period, the team at Pendennis Vilanova will be in touch once a week to ensure everything is properly organised. “Communication and transparency are two of the most important things that we have,” says Lliteras.

The 93-metre Lürssen yacht EOS arrived at the facility requiring some quick repairs to the exterior paintwork. “Before the yacht arrived we knew exactly what they needed: workmen, scaffolding, equipment and a crane to move the tender,” adds Lliteras. “When EOS was close to the marina, our team were waiting on the dock to take the lines, give them power, greet them and start the work. When a yacht requests something we like to react immediately – we are here waiting for the client!”


We are always flexible

Post-pandemic, the team at Pendennis Vilanova are seeing that yachts have a busy travel itinerary “perhaps to make up for lost time,” explains Lliteras. “When there were restrictions, most clients wanted to stay in the Caribbean for longer rather than come for repair work,” says Lliteras. However, despite the pandemic, the last winter season was still busy for the yard and the team looked after more than 20 yachts and has since tended to the likes of the 82.5-metre Secret and the 71-metre SKAT.

With each project unique, the duration of each yacht’s stay varies. There are yachts at Pendennis Vilanova that have been there for years, and some will depart in a matter of days. “If a yacht’s departure date isn’t known, we are always flexible,” says Lliteras. “This is a benefit we have over a shipyard, which tends to have limited space and prefer to conduct all the work in-house,” he adds. “Anything a yacht needs, they can come here. We have a beautiful marina, it is safe, and it's a perfect place to be!”

It’s a good place to be

This summer, the facility has invested in planting marine biodiversity regeneration techniques to help generate more oxygen and cleaner water for the marina. Recycling is also widely available across the site. “We certainly have the mentality to keep things clean and green,” says Lliteras.

Having recently completed the expansion of the yard’s concrete hard-standing to cover a total of 30,000 square metres, there is plenty of space for storage, workshops, offices and equipment – including the yard’s own 200-ton and 620-ton hoists. “What is noticeable is how tidy the yard is. Even with crews living on board,” says Lliteras. Crews can live comfortably on board their yacht at the facility, including those positioned on the hardstanding. Those on board are given access to cooling towers, electricity, water and 24-hour security. Any guest to the site can also make use of the gym, changing rooms and restaurant.

“Being 40 minutes away from a big city is a safer and better experience. There is less traffic with a lot of great beaches with nautical sports, as well as theatres, museums and the wine region. Crews often host their own BBQs in the gardens and are always happy to be here in Vilanova. And the sun is included in the price!”

To find out more about the two Pendennis facilities, contact the company directly here.

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