PAINT CHALLENGE: AQUAMARINA - the most challenging repaint ever?


It involved nine months of negotiations, a yard and specialist spray team located on Australia’s Gold Coast with whom YPI had never worked, over 12 trades and more than 30 specialists all focused on a deadline that required everything to be finished on budget by the end of March 2012. And then there was the paint system - glacier blue metallic (Aquamarine) and a cream base with pearlescent effect!


The finish on a yacht is absolutely paramount and a paint system such as that used on a 47-metre superyacht is never a simple job,” explains Patrick Renar, the YPI Yacht Manager responsible for putting the AQUAMARINA Project together and seeing it through to its successful conclusion. “We first brought in our specialist paint consultant, Peter Bergsma from Coating Survey & Inspections S.L whose team designed the original paint system for AQUAMARINA - a combination Sikkens automotive metallic and pearlescent base system followed by Awlgrip HG clear.”

However if Patrick was considering opting for the relatively safe option of a European repaint using teams of applicators well experienced in metallics who he already knew, then he was in for unwelcome surprise.
“AQUAMARINA spends most of her time in the southern hemisphere,” he says, “and the owner was adamant he wanted to have his yacht in place and ready for his use in the South Pacific by the end of March. All of a sudden we were faced with only one possible option – carrying out the job in the Pacific, almost certainly with teams we didn’t know.”
Unfazed, Patrick began requesting tenders from the area and set about putting together the most realistic options for the owner. As the yacht also needed some engineering updates, Patrick began working on yard and applicator combinations he thought might work. Eventually it came down to two pairings.
“One option was to work with one yard in New Zealand coupled with Rolling Stock in Palma. Rolling Stock did the original paint job on AQUAMARINA however their Palma-based teams were going to have to be shipped over to the South Pacific and would need to stay there for six months or more. The other option was to work with Rivergate Marina Shipyard and Superyacht Solutions (SYS) on the Gold Coast. We presented both options to the owner and in the end it came down to getting the right balance between four critical factors: quality, location, timing and price.
With a workforce already on site in Australia, excellent references following an all-gold metallic-finish on the 170-foot Palmer Johnson DB9 and some competitive pricing, it was decided one of the most intricate and potentially most expensive superyacht repaints ever carried out in Australia would go to SYS and Rivergate.
“We were very excited at being appointed Principle Contractor for the AQUAMARINA Project,” says Rivergate’s Manager, Andrew Cannon. “As a company we have a very simple approach to all our work – be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done to the highest possible standard, be competitive, finish on time and within budget – we were keen to show everyone exactly what we could do.”
And so the work began. However it was soon beset by a number of challenges.
“Due to a widely held industry view that Dupont effect base-coats built in Europe can be more readily applied over very large surface areas such as yachts, we decided to convert the finish on AQUAMARINA to Dupont”, Patrick explains. “That meant we needed to ship the base materials for the paint job from Europe to Australia and start working with local chemists on securing the correct colour matches.”
“Very large special-effect paint jobs on yachts are complicated and challenging for the novice,” Peter Luke of SYS explains. “Our staff at SYS have been exposed to many large metallic-effect projects and we have developed techniques to overcome the various difficulties inherent in such jobs. Having to co-ordinate six experienced spray-hands to create exactly the same effect over 300 square metres at the same time on one day was always going to be tricky - the result on AQUAMARINA’s hull is a credit to our team.”
“Structured management is vital in a complex project like this,” AQUAMARINA’s longstanding and experienced senior captain, Richard Carr, explains. “From working on the build back in 2006, I not only had a good understanding of the process involved but also what defects to look for in the system. YPI’s role in bringing all the different elements of this project together as well as keeping everyone focused on the same goals and time frames was invaluable.”
With one week still to go before deadline, the job was complete.
“This was a fascinating project on many levels,” says Patrick, “even down to the differences in the approach of the applicators between this paint, which uses Acrylic clear over a metallic effect, and the typical Awlgrip dust-free ‘off the gun’ finish. The clear top-coat can have small dust inclusions polished out at the end which helps avoid the need for further re-sprays that could wreck the schedule. I have never seen it before but it seems to work very well.”
“When you have parties working together that haven’t done so previously there are bound to be some hurdles,” says Andrew, “however the job was on schedule and we at Rivergate are very proud to have been part of the team that pulled together for the successful completion of an amazing project.”
We didn’t take the easy, often much more expensive, options,” says Patrick. “It was hard work, challenging but ultimately rewarding, successful, on budget and on time.”
Perhaps the last words should go to Captain Richard, the man closest of all to the owner himself.
“There is one moment in particular I will not forget. It was when the owners came on board in Indonesia for their first cruise after the project was completed. The yacht was dressed in her full glory with the crew buzzing around and the guests were all relaxing onboard. I remember looking around and thinking how impressive the boat looked and how hard so many people had worked to get to this day.”
And was it all worth it?
Richard smiles: “The owner is very happy with the results.”
For more details on this repaint project please contact: Patrick Renar on Monaco +377 99 99 97 97 or email: patrick.renar@ypigroup.com
YPI thanks go to:
Peter Bergsma of CSI; Peter Luke and the team at Superyacht Solutions; Andrew Cannon and Steve Fisher of Rivergate Marina & Shipyard; Simon Davison – YPI’s day-to-day on-site Project Manager; Richard Carr, Senior Captain of AQUAMARINA, Alistair Purves, Rotational Captain on AQUAMARINA and everyone who worked on this project to help make it the success it is today.