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Design and Technology

Transformers: Trends in Yacht Refit

How are wider yachting trends shaping the growing refit market – and what drives Owners to refit rather than buy a brand new boat?

The refit market has grown so much that it occupies its own segment in the whole yachting industry,” says York Ilgner, head of refit at Lürssen. That’s largely thanks to a fleet that is increasing in size and volume as well as number.

“More and more of these yachts have been in use for five or more years and hence need to be adequately serviced and refitted,” explains Ilgner. But why do owners so often opt for a refit rather than a brand new purchase? The answer, says Ilgner, is often emotionally driven. “The yacht becomes a member of the family in some ways. There are many memories connected to it, so it needs to be maintained and updated rather than replaced.”

Trends in the wider industry and indeed wider society are – of course – influencing exactly what these updates are. “The worldwide trend to ‘think green’ has reached the yachting industry,” explains Ilgner. That can result in demand for modifications and more environmentally-friendly tech.

“Requests for propulsion upgrades to achieve higher speeds using higher power outputs have become fairly rare,” Ilgner says. “We invest a lot in research of alternative and greener solutions.” This growing environmental appreciation might also explain, to some extent, the increased Owner appetite for winter gardens, with palm trees, living walls and herb-growing popping up across more and more superyachts.

Number one on the list, though, is a full paint job of the exterior. “This may not be a recent trend,” says Ilgner, “but it is quite obvious that more money is spent on top coating, teak decking, polishing of stainless steel, and maintenance of the outer appearance of a yacht, than other types of refit.” So what is Ilgner’s favourite refit to date? “There is not just one project,” he says. “Instead, it is the moment when the challenging period of a refit comes to an end and the Owner says, ‘good job!’ And, of course, there is nothing more rewarding than that same Owner coming back for a second refit.”


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