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‘Third way’ of refit claimed to maintain preowned yacht equity

4 May 2021By Nic Robinson

A so-called newly created “third way” in the yacht refitting market could, according to one sector expert, bolster or at least maintain the equity of preowned vessels.

Founder and chief executive officer Chris Gates of recently launched bespoke luxury yacht refitting service Setag, has told BOAT Business it is probable owners of preowned yachts can get their money back with the right refit.

The former boss of Princess Yachts exited retirement to launch the venture this year after spotting what he called a gap in the market for yacht refits needing to be undertaken “from the ground up”.

“I was talking to a friend who had a refit on his yacht, and it cost a lot of money and it was done by some good people, but it wasn’t done from the ground up,” said Gates.

“I couldn’t get into my head why some people were spending half-a-million pounds to £10M on a refit but compromising so much and accepting what people’s choices are in design, fabric and layout.”

Gates, who spent 31 years at Princess, said there wasn’t a service in the category that could cover the whole refit of yachts between nine and 45 metres.

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Chris Gates, founder and chief executive officer of Setag

The newly formed business, as a result of the team Gates has recruited, will specifically focus on refitting preowned Princess, Sunseeker and Fairline yachts, but is open to other makes too.

“In the category there isn’t a service like this,” he said. “In truth, there are lots of people who can give parts of the service – there’s someone on every marina who can fit your radar or replace a cushion – but not someone who can cover everything from tech to interior.”

Such a service, he said, exists for the mega yachts of the world, but in Setag’s category owners usually must live with the choices of the previous owner, other than a few minor changes.

“I think there’s an amazing opportunity for customers now because they have a choice of whether they can buy a new boat of today’s standard, a preowned one with the compromises on choice or to have the right boat with a new interior and tech in it. We can bring a boat up to today’s or tomorrow’s standard.”

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