Why upgrade to a newer boat when you can make your current one look as good as new with the aid of a designer refit service?
We’ve all seen fabulous restorations of classic wooden boats and full refits of 30-year-old GRP cruisers but what about more modern craft that are perfectly serviceable but have just got a bit tired and outdated?
Does it now make sense to start spending serious money on restoring or even modernising them, given the ever increasing price of brand new boats?
Chris Gates, the former CEO of Princess Yachts, certainly thinks so and has set up a company to do just that. Called SETAG Yachts (Gates spelled backwards), it aims to make refitting as slick, painless and professional as buying a brand new boat.
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By calling on his extensive list of contacts in the industry, many of whom have worked for one or more of the three big British yards, Gates has managed to bring the entire refit operation under one roof at a purpose-built facility in Plymouth.
From bespoke design concepts for a full interior refit to replacing teak decks or even enhancing the specification with stabilisers or extended platforms, SETAG Yachts claims to deliver it all.
The advantage for the customer is that you only need to have one point of contact, rather than dealing with multiple separate contractors and the whole job is completed in a much faster time frame by carefully vetted professionals. That is the claim at any rate, so how does the reality stack up?
The owner of the first boat to undergo the full SETAG Yachts treatment, a 2009 model year Fairline Squadron 58, preferred not to be featured in person but was quite happy for us to see his finished boat and let James Barke, from Boats.co.uk, speak on his behalf.
“We’ve known the owner for years,” James tells me. “He’s a repeat customer who buys a new boat every few years. He bought this one from us about five years ago and has kept it in Mallorca for most of that time.
“The high heat, humidity and UV levels mean boats deteriorate more rapidly in the Mediterranean, especially if they’re not being regularly used and maintained.
“Due to Covid restrictions, the owner wasn’t able to get to it at all last year so in March this year he asked us to bring it back to the UK so that he could at least enjoy it with his family over here in time for their summer holiday.”
To read the full story of this designer refit, pick up the September issue of MBY, out August 5.