WHEN IT COMES TO THE REFIT ANO REPAIR OF A CLASSIC OR HOSTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT YACHT, MR MARCO VILLAR, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ATOLLVIC SHIPYARD, REMINDS US OF THE IMPORTANCE Y SELECTING THE RIGHT SHIPYARD .
The word ‘custodian’ is described by The Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a person who has responsibility for, or looks after something’, and I would use the word ‘custodian’ as the best way to describe the owner of a classic and historically important yacht.
Owning a significant classic comes with a sense of duty and moral responsibility to ensure the yacht is treated with as much care and attention to detail as time, energy and financial resource will allow. Not so much about ‘possession’, more a case of taking care until transition occurs from one generation to the next.
When the time comes for a refit or repair of a classic, the Atollvic Shipyard, based in Vigo, north-west Spain, has much experience in this field, and Managing Director, Mr Marco Villar, is a firm believer the process can only begin when a suitable shipyard has been chosen.
“You need expert hands in several disciplines and two of the most importan! shipbuilding skill-sets are now quite scarce these days,” says Mr Villar. “For example, ‘riverbank carpentry’ – a term we use to describe an ability to recreate intricate and beautiful wooden elements, or the experience required when removing and replacing steel sheets with riveted joints in a hull. Fortunately for us here in Vigo, our marine industrialist traditions go back to the mid-1 S00s, and ongoing training and teaching of young apprentices means we have training colleges offering courses to preserve these noble skills such that ‘rivet management’ is actually very well known around here.”
Apart from the physical skills, experience and technical resource necessary, Mr Villar feels the trust element and the quality of the relationship between the owner’s team and the shipyard’s management team is just as importan!. “lt’s about having the right ‘state of mind’ as anything else; an ability to cope and deal with the many unknown variables that classic yacht refit and repair nearly always requires.
“In many, but not all cases, original plans and hull-lines drawings will have been lost to the passing of time,” he adds. “Even if they are available, they can sometimes be of limited use due to inaccuracies or changes. Like peeling back the layers of a rotten onion, clélssic yachts have a habit of revealing the unexpected, and what may have first appeared to have been a yacht in fairly respectable condition on the outside, can soon reveal decades worth of horrors and abuse on the inside.
“There’s the ever-present need to ensure the long-term integrity and safety of the yacht going forward while trying to balance the sensitive decision as to what should and should not be stripped out and replaced or modified from the original. A situation, in fact, where sometimes
‘new classical’ becomes prescriptive, using modern technology with respect to the past.
The trust and strength of relationship between the shipyard and classic yacht owner can undergo a fair amount of strain and when you’ve been entrusted with a classic, Mr Villar feels it should be seen as an honour, where the relationship with the owner becomes far more than merely a transactional contrae! between two parties.
“lt’s about an obligation between gentlemen,” he says. “A deep sense of professional responsibility is passed from one to the other. The feeling must be preserved and passed on to the staff who will be working on the yacht, so they too can fall in love with the yacht in question.
“When you understand the level of uncertainty you sometimes face with this kind of project, the works contrae! based solely upon clauses and time penalties is clearly going to be useless to reach a successful conclusion and why both trust and understanding are clearly a must.”
Known for completing complex and sophisticated refits, new builds, hull extensions, interior refurbishments and engine upgrades to high standard, in record breaking time, the Atollvic Shipyard is located in Ria de Vigo, on the northwest coast of Spain.
Specialising in superyacht and classic yacht refit from 20m to 75m, Atollvic is part of the much larger Vicalsa Group, based in a region renowned for shipbuilding, fabrication and marine engineering. Atollvic has access to the best possible maritime and classic yacht refit skills resource in the whole of Spain
Recent classic yacht refit work completed in 2016 has included the 59m 1957 tugboat Sea Wolf (which for sorne time now has been a luxury superyacht explorer available for prívate and corporate charter), and the classic schooner No.6 of London, built at the P. Smit Jr yard in Rotterdam in 1920.