Class of its own

Over the last 23 years Pendennis Shipyard has established a world-class reputation as a leading manufacturer and refitter of superyachts. During this period the company has undertaken over 150 refit projects and in excess of 50 new builds. Based in Falmouth, UK, Pendennis undertakes all aspects of the build and refit process supported by over 350 staff covering six in-house trades including planning and design, fabrication and exterior outfit, joinery, deck outfitting and rigging, painting, electrical, and engineering. In 2010 Pendennis acquired the Devonport Yachts brand enabling it to expand its capabilities to include yachts of over 60 metres
in length.

One core aspect of the business has been the custom build market for both sailing and motor yachts. In this sector Pendennis has worked alongside many of the world’s leading superyacht designers and naval architects including Dubois Naval Architects, Gerard Dykstra & Partners, Ron Holland Design, and Frers Naval Architecture.

Expanding upon the company’s capabilities with regards to these activities, Toby Allies, sales and marketing director of Pendennis, comments: “Due to our extensive facilities and large workforce we are able to cover all aspects of the build and refit process. At present our refit activities make up approximately 60 per cent of all work undertaken within the business. In terms of new build, we have completed both sail and motor yacht custom build projects that range in length from 25 metres to 60 metres, the largest of which to date has been the unique 55 metre motor yacht Steel, and impressive 55.5 metre steel schooner Adela.”

During the recent winter season, Pendennis was concurrently working on eight major projects including the world’s largest catamaran, which is scheduled for completion in time to be showcased at the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2011. Earlier this year Pendennis delivered a 46-metre new build vessel, Christopher, which was the third new build completed by the company in co-operation with Ron Holland Design. Both performance and an eye-catching design were core considerations during the project, with Pendennis’ engineering expertise carefully utilised in order to deliver the required technical features.

These included innovative technology such as twin rudders, a pivoting keel, powerful rig and carbon rigging, which contribute to performance as well as a shallow draft, and infrared shielding in all windows to reduce heat transfer and therefore minimise air conditioning requirements. The vessel incorporates three staterooms and a study offering accommodation for up to 12 individuals, with a further four cabins providing sleeping room for eight crewmembers.

One of the primary challenges of this project was its required completion date in line with the 2011 St. Barth’s Bucket Regatta in the Caribbean, which was held in late March. By following an efficient modular hull build programme, Pendennis was able to complete the entire project, from first cutting to Christopher’s maiden voyage in just over 22 months. Having worked closely with the owners of the vessel throughout the design and build stage, Christopher was delivered on time to a very high standard.

As projects such as this continue to bolster Pendennis’ reputation in the industry, Toby highlights some of the company’s key marketable features: “Our continual investment into our facilities and people ensures that we sustain our position as a world leader with a reputation for ukextremely high quality of finish and efficiency of production. Our extensive experience in custom sailing yachts has enabled us to create some of the impressive and iconic sailing yachts of our time including Rebecca, Adela, Nostromo, and Wally B. Charter vessel refits often have tight deadlines, which we are able to meet due to our history of efficient project pre-planning and pre-fabrication of component parts. As an example, we have just completed an engineering overhaul, five-year survey, stabiliser modification and five-metre stern extension of MY Audacia in less than nine weeks.”

Naturally this quality of work would not be possible without the extensive skills of Pendennis’ onsite team of tradespeople. This is sustained through the company’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme, which enables it to continually build its workforce and maintain the high quality of in-house staff. At present over 100 of Pendennis’ current employees are either currently undertaking, or have passed through, this scheme with a number now in senior management positions. “Our apprenticeship scheme undertakes many projects for the local community, including recent activity such as new gates for the local cricket club and a steel ‘train’ planter for the local railway platform. This enables the apprentices to gain practical fabrication experience whilst supporting local organisations,” notes Toby.

Pendennis is also keenly investing in developing its facilities, particularly with regards to being able to accommodate yachts measuring in excess of 60-metres in length. This work includes the extension of the covered area of the main dry dock in order to create a 150-metre covered flexible facility with the potential to house yachts of up to 100 metres in length. Alternatively the enlarged dock can be separated into two 75-metre areas, providing covered space for two or more 65-metre yachts, and additional alongside space. Further covered space for large superyachts is already available in Pendennis’ existing main construction halls, where the addition of a steel framed shed to the existing facility has been integral to the recent increase of available undercover space by 40 per cent.

Having just completed its busiest ever refit season, Pendennis’ investment into expanding its facilities appears to be a strategic move. With the UK’s status as Olympic host in 2012 attracting increased interest in cruising, as well as refit and maintenance support, Pendennis is also ideally positioned to offer a quality in-house service to superyachts of all sizes. Equally, activity within Falmouth itself offers exciting growth opportunities for Pendennis – particularly the development of a 290-berth marina, which will provide 770 metres of high freeboard superyacht berthing, and additional pontoons for superyachts over 80 metres once it is completed in 2012. Adjacent to the yard, planning is also in place for a new superyacht basin and alongside the facilities provides another potentially lucrative development.

As Pendennis continues to position itself to take advantage of these emerging opportunities, ShipyardToby concludes with the company’s expectations for the market in the near future: “With the acquisition of Devonport we are already receiving more enquiries from the large yacht (60-metre plus) sector, and forecast growth in this market provides the opportunity to further increase our offering in this area. Just as Pendennis had grown and developed to satisfy the current refit trend, it will continue to evolve to support future market requirements.”

World-class reputation in both new build and refit superyacht markets
Extensive development into facilities and personnel
Eight major projects underway, including world’s largest catamaran