Michel Coens, Head of Refit and Services at Damen Yachting
Why brand-new yachts should be built ready for refit
If you’re not already, imagine you are building a superyacht. The designs are just being drawn up and you are well on your way to making your dreams come true. Then imagine being asked how you would like this yacht to look and feel in five or 10 years’ time. If you’re a natural visionary, the answers might come easily; however, for the majority, the distant future is still largely unknown. Yet this is the preferred way of working for our Refit Department, and many superyacht Owners have already benefited tremendously from this futuristic approach.
“An ideal scenario would be when an Owner in the early design stages of a new-build project seeks the help of our Refit Department. This way, allowances can be made to ensure the yacht and its design has perfect refit potential from the start,” explains Michel Coens, Head of Refit and Services at Damen Yachting.
Design for the Future
In most new superyacht designs today, there are already elements such as cable and technical infrastructures and a solid AVIT backbone that can be easily upgraded to house new technologies. “Technology moves fast and so this kind of futureproofing has become essential,” says Michel. Fashion is another variable factor, and as interior styles change, an Owner might like to modernise a space. “Time and use will always take their toll,” he adds. “Owners who opt for smart interiors with, for example, new panels that can easily be changed will save time and money when the time comes for a refit.”
One recent superyacht refit project that has continued to grab headlines is the 89-metre Amels HERE COMES THE SUN. Redelivered in early 2023, this project not only demonstrated just how strong the shipyard’s refit facilities are, but further proved that incorporating refit-friendly design elements into the original design is highly beneficial. “Looking ahead and deciding on the future of your yacht is what will ultimately make a new-build yacht futureproof, easy to update, customise and maintain,” adds Michel.
The HERE COMES THE SUN refit was completed in an astonishing 14 months and involved a 6-metre extension and major upgrades to her interior and exterior configuration. The lengthy to-do list included a large swimming pool, a redesigned beach club, two additional VIP suites and a sundeck extension for a second touch-and-go helipad. All of this was achieved in record time thanks to the expert care and attention of the refit team and the flexibility of the original Amels design and build platform. “HERE COMES THE SUN’s original design was effectively already set up for future growth in terms of strength, stability, extension, interior updates and system upgrades. The result was a huge amount of complex work completed in a relatively short space of time,” says Michel.
“The exterior of HERE COMES THE SUN is just tremendous,” adds Colin Boyle, Captain of HERE COMES THE SUN. “This gives a really good indication of the quality we have managed. The paint work is just second to none. She really is stunning.”
Given the success of HERE COMES THE SUN, the refit team has received a variety of new requests. “These requests vary from small-scale modifications to complete overhauls and extensions – just like HERE COMES THE SUN,” says Michel. “It is interesting and a huge compliment to know that many other Owners have been inspired by HERE COMES THE SUN, and now want their yacht to be transformed in a similar fashion.”
While everyone in the Damen Yachting refit department continuously dedicates themselves to completing every refit in time, an Owner with a yacht built with refit-friendly foundations will be able to set sail sooner than most. “A refit can completely transform a yacht and so we can maximise the output by advocating for new-build Owners to think about refit from the very beginning,” he adds.
From left to right: Juul Back, Michel Coens, Stefan van Damme. Our dedicated Refit team who specialise in assisting both Amels yachts and yachts from other builders with a wide range of refit services, working closely with the Owner’s team and Crew.
OUR REFIT FACILITY CHECKLIST
- 25 years of experience
- Transparent contracts
- 12-month warranty
- Dedicated project team
- Guaranteed delivery date
- 215-metre-long covered dry docks
- Specialist local subcontractors and suppliers
- In-house engineering and interior specialists
- Climate-controlled paint facilities
- Crew facilities and activities
- World-renowned Amels workmanship
- 24-7 customer care
- Private locations
- Growing portfolio of 45+ superyacht refits