To refit or rebuild, what to keep and what to scrap

The physics of perfection and engineering excellence.

What to keep, what to scrap?

The refit of A2 (the Feadship formerly known as Masquerade of Sole) at the UK’s Pendennis shipyard in Falmouth was equally dramatic. The objective behind the concept was to completely transform the 1983-built yacht into one reflective of modern design and technology.

Plans were substantial and more in line with a rebuild. The yacht arrived in Cornwall during the spring of 2011 with the initial task being the complete removal of the vessel’s interior and systems, leaving the bare steel hull and aluminium superstructure. 

For such an extreme refit the initial question raised was, how much of the yacht should be maintained within the new proposals. This became a crucial part of the design and planning stage, with huge implications on the schedule and of course the cost. A full structural survey assessed the structural integrity of the yacht, which in turn determined the extent of the work. The owner made the decision to completely strip out the yacht including crew areas, guest areas and the engine rooms returning the vessel to bare bulkheads.

Bridge room of a superyacht

Structural engineers at BMT Nigel Gee - a leading independent naval architecture and marine engineering design consultancy – worked alongside the technical team at the shipyard to design a five-metre extension across three levels, increasing her LOA from 42.5m to 47m, thereby substantially enhancing the on-board social areas.

The hull extension presented several challenges, with the new structure needing to be faired precisely into the existing structure (while having sufficient volume to support the additional structural weight); optimum transom immersion for dynamic trim and low resistance; and suitable section shapes to reduce the effects of bottom slamming.

The physics of perfection

The height of the aft bathing platform was also an important design consideration to be defined prior to the refit. The bathing platform needed to be high enough above the waterline so that it did not become wet in transit, yet low enough for the owner and guests to comfortably access the water at anchor.

Engine room of a superyacht

Prior to the refit a series of wave profile trials were conducted on the yacht while she was Masquerade of Sole, whereby videos and photographs of the transom were taken to assess the dynamic waterline at a range of speeds, and to subsequently confirm trim and sinkage effects. The result of this careful design is a bathing platform that can be used comfortably while at anchor and underway. The wave profile data was also used to position the underwater exhaust outlets.

The yacht’s exterior social areas also benefited from the new transom with increased al fresco dining spaces and redesigned twin access stairwells (rather than the previous single ladder system) giving more convenient access to the new swim platform and boarding passerelle.

The creation of a full-width master stateroom dramatically increased the level of luxury within the owner’s accommodation and the interior now includes a much larger main lounge with the addition of a second lounge area on the top deck. The majority of the interior layout was re-configured, manufactured and installed by the shipyard team who worked closely with both Dörr interiors in The Netherlands, and the UK’s Parkway Interiors.

The furniture chosen for the master suite is a mixture of leather and bronze. Its key piece is a beautiful chest of drawers designed by Parisian sculptor Ingrid Donat, with detailed bronze handles and parchment doors.

Engineering excellence

Completely gutting the engine room and machinery spaces presented the Pendennis engineering department with a unique opportunity to recommend and plan the most appropriate design and performance led systems for this type of yacht. The shipyard completely redesigned and rewired the vessel’s electricals throughout. The resulting systems are now highly efficient, with new Northern Lights generators backed up by a load bank system for effective power management.

Engine room of a superyacht

The owner’s brief was to increase both the range and cruising speed of the yacht following her rebuild, and success was achieved in both areas. Her cruising speed is now a steady 14 knots (from 12 knots) using new MTU main engines, and A2 now comfortably achieves a maximum of 15.8 knots with dramatically improved fuel consumption that has increased her fuel range from 3,500 nautical miles (NM) at 12 knots to 4,200NM cruising at 14 knots.

Pendennis worked in conjunction with both the New York-based architect Peter Marino (who undertook the interior design) and with BMT Nigel Gee, who directly advised on the practicalities of the new layout. This was to ensure that the yacht could be future-proofed to a certain extent, pre-planning easy access for ongoing systems maintenance and balancing aesthetic solutions with spatial planning for practical living. Sixteen months later, following her complete transformation and re-launch as A2, this superyacht sailed away in a condition equal to that of a brand new yacht.

Engine room of a superyacht

Are you a good listener?

How your vessel is maintained says a lot about you. Using vibration analysis to evaluate and maintain your yacht’s mechanical health is the most thorough and effective way to care for its machinery.

Advanced Mechanical Enterprises/AME are known as the Vibration, Noise & Alignment Specialists because they have been applying Vibration Analysis and other advanced diagnostics to the maintenance of Mega and Super Yachts for over two decades. Smooth sailing means a lot more than a quiet ride. It says you’re efficient and conscious of your carbon footprint and you’re also minimizing your risk of mechanical failures.


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