At SuperYacht Times, we have noticed an increasing demand for intelligence about the refit market over the past few years. As a result, we started to regularly track superyacht refits from 2016 onwards. Refits have also been incorporated into the yacht profiles in our intelligence system, SuperYacht Times iQ.
Why is tracking refits important?
Tracking refits is important on three levels: the level of the overall market, individual companies active in the industry and on the yachts themselves. Industry stakeholders such as shipyards, suppliers and subcontractors need information about the size of the refit industry in order to estimate their expected sales and turnover. Meanwhile, investors, banks and other industry stakeholders need information about the market as a whole in order to assess whether their investment in a company engaged in the refit industry is worthwhile.
On a company level, it is important to create track records of individual refit yards. Which yard handles the most refits? Which yard has the best track record for refits of a certain model or size of yacht? Gathering refit data will help to build up this kind of information.
On the level of the individual yacht, we feel it is important to collect all available refit data so as to improve insight into the work performed on the yacht with the end goal of creating a “yacht passport”. This will provide greater transparency in the market and if refits are properly documented, we feel this improved information could assist in creating a more accurate valuation of the yacht.
What do we track?
First of all, we track all arrivals at and departures from refit yards, so we have a record of the time spent in the yard. Of course, we register the yard performing the work, and the facility where the work is being performed. The latter is becoming increasingly important now that many large refit yards operate on several locations of their own or rent space from third parties. Next, we categorise the type of work done: Are we looking at regular maintenance, warranty work, a refit or even a rebuild, for example? We also try to find out as many details as possible about the nature of the work being performed. We group this into a number of main categories:
● Technical work (e.g. new engines, new stabilisers, generator overhaul, fitting, new IT or entertainment systems)
● Exterior work (paint job, hull modifications, deck renovations and so on)
● Interior work (new decoration or layout changes)
● Surveys, with the special survey every five years being the most important one
Finally, if we can find it out, we will also note the cost of the refit.
Building up a correct and full picture of all refit activity on superyachts is not easy. Quite often we are not sure if a yacht in a yard is actually being worked on or if it is merely berthed there for the winter for example. In addition, some yachts do not call at known refit yards but at yards that normally deal with merchant ships and therefore tend to be “below the radar” for us. At the same time, quite a lot of work is performed on yachts while they are in a marina. It is extremely difficult to track this kind of work. Usually, the biggest problem is establishing the scope of work performed on a yacht during a refit, as yards rarely release information about this.
Focusing on yachts of 40 metres and over, we traced 1,254 yard visits over a period of two years (2017 and 2018). 816 individual yachts visited a total of 100 different yards. We continue to actively track refits in our iQ system on a daily basis. Both the number of refits in our system and the quality of the information continue to rise as a result. We already have more than 2,400 refits in our system. We produced a number of interesting statistics, some of which you can see below. They give an impression of the sheer size of the refit market, which is of course a lot bigger than seen here, as yachts below 40 metres also call into refit yards and we are bound to have missed some refits due to the reasons described above.
We will continue to gather information on refits: this is just the beginning!
Photo's: © Daniel Buisson