Inside the refit of 85.6 metre superyacht Aquila


Following an extensive 12-month refit programme at Pendennis, Aquila was reborn...

At 85.6 metres, Aquila is the largest yacht to ever be refitted in the UK - a mammoth task that was awarded to Falmouth-based shipyard Pendennis.

Credit: Rupert Peace

The scope of the refit work involved a complete revitalisation of all five deck levels which in most areas would require Aquila to be stripped back to her bulkheads. With over 250 refits under their belt, an in-house workforce of over 430 skilled tradespeople and a 150 metre undercover dry dock at their disposal, Pendennis was the natural choice for such a substantial feat of engineering. The project team was tasked with renovating all of the social spaces on board, upgrading the technical systems and remodelling interior of over 750 square metres - all in the space of just 12 months.

Credit: Rupert Peace

For the interior overhaul, RWD and Susan Young Interiors were commissioned to renew the décor and improve the flow between each area of the yacht. Aquila's interiors were transformed from traditional warm honey tones to a cool modern vibe with dark chocolate wood finishes, pale leather panels and grey hues throughout.

Credit: Rupert Peace

The showpiece, however, is a magnificent chandelier that cascades 11.2 metres through four deck levels, comprised of over 850 individual hand-blown glass pieces. The installation is flanked by a spiral staircase that winds its way around the chandelier - a focal area of the refit which saw a floral carpet swapped out in favour of a silky grey textile and curling wrought ironwork replaced with modern stainless steel bars. 

Other enhancements featured a complete reconfiguration of the owner’s suite along with a 60 square metre private deck area, as well as repositioning the Jacuzzi to the forward sun deck and integrating a 98-inch widescreen cinema housed in a 'floating box' to prevent sound and vibration transfer.

Credit: Rupert Peace

Elsewhere, as part of the yacht’s five-year survey, the refit required numerous technological upgrades including a new AV and IT system, radomes, air-conditioning and a rebuild of all four generators. To complete the refit, Aquila was given a full repaint courtesy of Pinmar with a midnight blue hull and ice white superstructure.

Credit: Rupert Peace

In order to effectively manage a project of this scale, Pendennis assigned four project managers, each responsible for a specific aspect of the programme. They facilitated the communication between all parties involved in the refit, which consisted of a combined international team of over 1,000 people at the peak of the project.

With Aquila, Pendennis achieved an unprecedented challenge in a relatively short timeframe and has set a new benchmark for the refit of larger yachts. Aquila even scooped the Neptune for Best Refit at the World Superyacht Awards in 2017.