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Italian Shipyard quality...?

Discussion in 'Popular Yacht Topics' started by mwagner1, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    :eek:
    2012 Italy is more about dozens of yards building yachts people want with proven modern technology and methods, achieving varying degrees of success and without romantics.
  2. airship

    airship Senior Member

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    I wrote a few days ago:
    BTW, any contributors from Switzerland here...input from the gnomes of Zurich etc.?! Apparently it takes a very brave US megayacht owner to wish to register his US-built megayacht under the US ensign (no more than one or 2 or so I understand, over the past decade), preferring instead to register in the Cayman Is or wherever else...

    20 years ago or so, we would often see some very nice (new) US-constructed motor yachts here in the Med, from the likes of Broward, Hatteras etc., often flying the US ensign. Can't remember the last US-built and flagged superyacht (unless it was the Limitless).

    I still don't understand how and/or why companies like GM and Ford have operated in Europe ever since the end of WWII, manufacturing cars, boat engines etc. and continue to do so. :confused: Surely, if you're not making any profits for periods of several decades, share-holders would complain and act to stop these unfruitfull activities? The reality may be different, I imagine these US companies manage very well in transferring "real profits generated by their activities here in the EU" to more "tax-friendly" offshore countries elsewhere. Otherwise, what's the point of making "zero profits" year after year, decade after decade, unless it's all merely done and possibly subsidised by some secretive US Dept of Commerce agency, intended to somehow impede and/or damage the other European manufacturers in their principal home-markets...?!

    Barring kickbacks from the builder to whomever concerned (and all builders / agents regularly do that, whether German, UK, French, Italian or whatever - just look at how much SIEMENS were fined recently over kickbacks, not a yacht-builder but a highly-respected German company with multi-national operations), you can only rely on the complete integrity of and good supervision by the owner's representative during the newbuilding and in accordance to the original build-specifications drawn up and agreed to at the signing of the newbuilding contract between builder and owner...everything else is moot, Italians (or Polish, Turkish, Chinese) yacht-builders are just as capable of delivering the required product, usually at a discount, in addition to "everyone involved" having to work harder on these projects to achieve the desired result (compared to simply ordering a Feadship or other German product)...
  3. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Profits and Kickbacks

    Couple more comments... Its about people, passion and quality as any product has in differing degrees. With the costs and limited financial benefits any kind of yacht ownership has to have a huge amount of passion behind it. Its a way to enjoy wealth depending on the amount spent (not invested) you pretty much get what you pay for. There are ways to cheat, if you want to call it that, look at the yacht Grace... currently listed with Peter Insull, see ref: http://www.**********************/2...er-insull-to-list-motor-yacht-grace-for-sale/
    This was constructed for the hull and basics by a small 'working boat facility' in Freisia area of the Netherlands. It was subcontracted out for what makes it a yacht... or might say had a 'high purchase parts' content... just like Feadship does so well. Perhaps her owner chose to forgo some frills at the time of construction... so one could not say its the same as a Feadship. But obviously a predominately a large cost savings was had but at the cost of lots of knowledgeable involvement in the process... either in consultation or personal involvement. Few wealthy enough to buy a yacht let alone superyachts have sufficient personal resources, i.e. time, to spend in that kind of effort. Nor often the personal knowledge base. And, paying for it is cheaper... as if your are in that position your time is worth one hell of a lot more than those you hire as surrogates... even with expensive expertise... the facts of time management.
    As mentioned herein, that opens the door for advantages to be taken. This is nothing new whether Italy, Netherlands, Germany, France, Turkey, China, Brazil or United States. That happens, period. As a young man long, long ago now... I served in the U.S.Navy... and was directly involved in the construction of both a new Prototype Nuclear Reactor Plant, a nuclear powered surface 'ship' and a couple 'boats' or nuclear submarines. I can say this, when you see a Junior Grade Officer driving a sports car worth more than a years pay... you got the picture. It is likely more common now-a-days nearly fifty years later but those involved often don't see any problem and its more systematic.
    In the Yacht Industry, it appears to me much less of a problem in the yachting industry. Why, that is likely the 'boss' is not a bureaucracy with national security powers... . The boss or client acquiring a yacht most usually definitely knows lots of other potential clients... he has connections.. and importantly there are even now a not unlimited pool of suckers and the industry, though grown up, it is still small enough that word gets around.

    The bigger danger is as companies are acquired/combined/go out of business two dangers happen... which you see more noticeably in Italy:
    First the industry has fewer smaller players operated by people in the business for passion, wherein, they are simpatico with the owner, and function on the basis of personal reputation and quality of skill and care. As this goes away and is replaced by people operating the companies for basically large entities a bureaucratic mentality sets in where no individual is "responsible". Unionized labor or on a larger scale regulated labor accomplishes the same or helps effect that. Its lack of personal pride of action and responsibility of both the worker and the management. Quality suffers from both the lack of responsibility and the added costs of the now necessary labor and management inefficiencies... are most easily, for a time, taken out of the product. Simply, the middle people are held to fiscal constrains by the larger owning or managing group while the inefficiencies rise, and quality suffers.
    Yachts in general being capitalist endeavors the hard facts of profit and costs eventually drive these industry or on a smaller scale business growth teething problems out. This is a worldwide trend in the information age. One cannot make a product that is poor and make money unless everything else available is poor. But as mostly people in capitalist endeavors buy yachts and do so as predominately a passion and way to spend their hard earned rewards not as necessity... and importantly have knowledge of the world and business... this overall situation eventually gets sorted out. It would anyway but would take longer.
    Eventually the situation for both client and business owner... owning entity... is to put in place management and control systems to control quality and cost to maximize return. The human passion for the love of it is replaced by simple economic conservative professional management for return of investment.
    The Dutch created this trend hundreds of years ago in business... and banking. So it is natural outgrowth for them and they get to shorten the process... . This is the Feadships of the world.
    Why, I mentioned Castagnoia was an example of the beginnings in the roots of passion, pride of workmanship and love of boats and water. Both will give you your reward but approach from different directions.

    Quality is paramount in either passion or efficient management for the product to be viable and last in the marketplace. How you go about it from a systematic approach or a human approach does not matter... which is really what this tread is about as I would understand.
  4. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    Admiral Tecnomar recently unveiled two new displacement yachts lines sharing same hulls and engineering. One is called XLence (three models of 45m, 57m, 65m. The 45m is €16.5m) and the other CForce (comes also in 75m)

    New Designs: Admiral Tecnomar unveils new designs - YachtForums.Com

    They are running an ad in the Italian language Superyacht Magazine reciting: "The only way to ensure quality is to guarantee it. Three year full guarantee on all Admiral Tecnomar yachts"

    It seems the right policy considering they have never built yachts like that.
    They clearly are convinced they'll be reliable enough.
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    Whilst I applaud this type of approach to the launch of a completely new line.

    The simple claim of a " full" guarantee needs to be explored and the details, restrictions etc clearly understood no matter which country the yard or business is based in. It should also be stated before contract who it is who actually provides this guarantee - the builders themselves, a third party or a supplement to the contract to cover any unforeseen costs.

    There is currently a shipyard in Nthn Europe that offers a paint guarantee underwritten by a third party. The one I have seen that came with a spec I reviewed was so restrictive that I doubt the paint job could ever be accepted if it was required to be of a higher standard than it was expected to be after 12 then 24 months. The list of excluded conditions must have been cut and pasted from a few previous customers warranty claims.

    This project is actually still bubbling away, now the client has had his summer vacation I hope the pot begins to boil properly.
  6. ttkrule

    ttkrule Member

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    Of course the meat is in the contract details and in how it is implemented. ;)

    What is the warranty policy for superyachts in general? Or is it too varied for generalizations?
  7. davidwb

    davidwb Senior Member

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    I think this has always been the case: in the 1930's the largest yacht built in Germany probably was Savarona. If I'm correct she has been lengthened since, so I'm not sure what her original length was. (Now 124.5 meters / 408 ft over deck)

    But vastly bigger than the largest yacht built in Holland in those years, which probably was the Shahsavar, built for the Shah of Persia by Boele shipyards in 1936. Designed by Henri Willem de Voogt and 53.68 meters / 176 ft long.

    In 2012 the difference is smaller, but still clear.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I heard today from another Italian Builder that Azimut laid off 800 employees yesterday. Can anyone confirm that?
  9. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    Benetti has recently recieved an order for a 90 meters, I think schedule delivery 2015. This will be the largest Benetti ever built!

    I think the comment of Lurrsen is very misleading, naughty, and most of all very clever Marketing wise considering they sub-contract the hulls in South Africa, and Blohm and Voss in Poland. Yes Quality Control is surely there, but only space is a problem for building bigger for anyone.
    Most of the commercial boat builders (like Fincantieri) can build in this size and for them it feels nothing, considering they build cruise ships triple in length may be x 10 size to a GigaYacht with all at home. What should they say to the competition now that they are building super yachts....

    Laying off people with the two most important markets (EUROPE and North America) in down turn for the last four years is no new news anymore. So I would be not surprised.
  10. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    You might want to confirm your facts there as I have seen numerous hull blocks being moved from one side of the river to the other in my time up that way.

    It is not uncommon for the local Lemwerder/Vegesack Car Ferry to be used to transport the blocks across the river.
  11. Milow232

    Milow232 Senior Member

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    Yep Yachtnews brought the news regarding the Benetti newbuild already in the "Benetti News" thread a few months ago.
    I do not know which sources you use but I can speak for Lürssen Rendsburg and they do not subcontract ANY hulls coming out of their sheds! Most of the welders manufacturing the hull sections come from Poland and work at Lürssen because they are cheaper
  12. apex1

    apex1 New Member

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    Yepp, you are right.
    A&R and Lürssen work together since ages to some extend. Most of Lürssens knowledge in yachtbuilding was transferred from the opposite shore. (A&R)

    And I have never heard that German builders did import hulls from SA. Oceanco did in their early days (and I owned one of those vessels), but gave up on that trade due to several difficulties. One of them was Quality.In recent years many of the well known Northern European Yards bought hulls in Poland and got perfect quality at fair rates. Nobiskrug was not amongst them as far as I could notice.

    @davidwb


    Don´t think Savarona was ever lengthened.
    And just 20 years ago Blohm & Voss was still the leader of the top 100 list with all the places 1 to 10 built by them, except for some converted passenger or navy craft (like the onassis yacht)
  13. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    My mistake about Lurssen and Blohm & Voss sub contracting.

    If the forum adminstrator can cancel the comment I would be grateful. Thank you.
  14. ESCONS

    ESCONS New Member

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    since it seems that it is very difficult (and possibly wrong) to generalise in these matters, as I have also seen in another thread of mine (Italian built vs Dutch built), can anyone give me any personal feedback or known information (from colleagues, captains, yard workers, etc) on reliability, build quality, positioning/access to equipment, or anything else to look out for on the following :

    Benetti Vision class (e.g. Told u So, More, etc)
    Baglietto 43m (e.g. Ancora, Why Worry, etc)

    any feedback would be much appreciated.
  15. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Good luck! No sane owner, manager, captain, yard worker, survey would make comments on a yacht they were currently or lately involved in. Why is the yachts you mentioned are $20 million or more and unflattering comments might very well result in lost value, lost sale or lost of image. So who in the industry is going to be in the industry long making critical comments.

    Your sort of on your own on this. Actually even with hiring the best advisors a potential owner has a mine field to maneuver. Even the best and most honest advice is steeped in reading the client and somewhat tailored to the one listening to it. Even as careful as you can possibly be you will find something later you wish you had not missed... .

    If you notice there are not to many professional critics in yachting circles though plenty of arm chair commenters.

    All the Best!
  16. ESCONS

    ESCONS New Member

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    Thank you Karo,
    Although I must say I am surprised by your comment. In this very thread there have been people who have had positive or negative things to say on a number of specific boats eg San Lorenzos, Lazzaras, etc.

    I was not asking on a specific yacht itself but things to look out in the type of model ( Benetti Vision or Baglietto 43m in general) and which comments are more or less anonymous e.g. Again in this thread there was mention of how difficult it is to access bilge pumps or certain other components on specific models. All yachts have good and bad and I was only hoping on a heads up on certain key factors.

    Oh well.....
  17. taksan

    taksan New Member

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    Having had some experience with Italian boats I can offer a few opinions. The Benetti 115 classic has been somewhat of a surprise compared to earlier experiences with a Azumit and a Leopard and previous experiences with a Princess ( you want to talk poor build quality look no further ). I won't say the 115 has been trouble free but the wiring and installations and the general build quality of the boat has certainly been on par with any major fibreglass builder. The interior fit out has worn very well and only the usual A/C, hydraulic and mechanical issues have shown up and at the expected times. Maintenance has not been a higher expense then on the previous boat and refit costs were within expectations. That said of course I'd prefer a Feadship or similar but the cost of buying and running a custom steel boat that isn't over the 35 meter limit we suffer under is prohibitive so it's easy to experience that on charter when on holiday in Europe. On the quality front the Asian yards such as Horizon are making huge strides very very quickly and will soon make the finest glass boats in the world if they don't already and it's likely they will set the standard in the future.
  18. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    Horizon Yachts

    I totally agree with your point concerning the build quality of Horizon Yachts. This company has raised its quality standards over the years at least to European level, in comparison with some Italian GRP boat builder, far beyond that level. And with them, semi custom still means semi custom. They build exactly the boat you want.

    But, and their still is a but, you have to manage the supervision of your build. For that, you have to understand the Asian mentality. In their opinion it is not defamatory to fool a long nose (thats what they call us). It is only defamatory to get caught with doing it, because you loose your face.

    This counts for most of the part of that world, China, Korea and Japan. And it counts for all type of industries, commercial shipbuildung and yachts. But if you are able to manage a perfect and constant supervision and survey at the yard, you will get a high quality boat. You need someone you trust (not your dealer), a build captain or project manager, permanently at the yard!

    Cheers
  19. karo1776

    karo1776 Senior Member

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    Been to busy lately to be on the forum much... but it is the season... so rather be enjoying...

    Anyway, I have been looking on and off looking at motor yachts for a couple years and pretty intensely this last winter and spring. A couple comments are that in sail boats... I am more and more going away from metal boats. I doubt I will ever buy another aluminum or metal sail yacht as composite construction is just better. 35 years ago this was not the case but over time composite construction has improved in details and sophistication. Yes, some new alloys have come up but I think composite is quickly sinking their boat so to speak. I suppose you will see even Royal Huisman building composite in the next 5 years.

    On the motor side metal still rules. But I see composite becoming more and more important as technology from sail side comes more accepted in the custom motor yacht. Why, metal rules is custom boats are more practically built in metal than composite due to tooling issues... cheaper.

    Why am I talking metal vs Composite here well Northern Europe has been the bastion of metal. This discussion is really about Italy... and other places such as New Zealand and Turkey and North Africa and Taiwan are evolving sophisticated boat builders and this is in both metal and composite. Yards in New Zealand are the equal or superior to Dutch and German yards... and only the long travel time holds them back.

    I would not say the Italians or Turks or Taiwanese are far behind.

    Italian yards traditionally like to build the hulls in-house and going to subcontractors for the hull is slower to come on in Italy than elsewhere. Noting that Perini Navi builds the hulls in Turkey for a long time. I think as the Italians become more specialized and more systems integration oriented as Northern Europe has their quality increases. Why they lag behind is partly cultural... boat building in Italy has remained more a craft than in the North but capability wise more and more you will see less difference. Some Italian builders are now very near to "Feadship" quality. But comparing boats is hard... other than series manufacturers... it is harder to compare custom design builders. Why is the owner factor... the owner and his oversight do drive the situation to a large extent. So as more owners who would traditionally to the north try down south you will see less and less difference.
    That's my opinion at least.

    An interesting comparison....
    I play clarinet... there is a huge variance in quality of instruments. Right now Buffet Crampon in Paris is the big boy and "quality champ"... and gets a very high price. Its made in France... beautiful and expensive but you have to go through many to find the best one. But yet Luis Rossi in Chile makes a better instrument in a rather primitive shop. Yet in the USA in Texas, of all places, Tom Ridenour makes a more consistent and better tuned instrument but it is looked down on in some circles as "imported from China" and "worse yet made of hard rubber".... but no Buffet can touch it in tuning or acoustical performance but is is looked down at because it is not finished to "as high of standard" and it is not a "Buffet" and wood... he now has a very nice wood instrument... probably as good in looks as Buffet... but its does not have the name on it and that prejudices people. Backun in Canada is right now the fad with many... and it is very good and better technically than Buffet... but still most of the top players use Buffet for snobbery sake.
    Maybe that drives us in boats... too.
  20. taksan

    taksan New Member

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    If a new boat was on the agenda Horizon currently would win the order. The P110 I was on recently was about the nicest finished (and I mean behind the cabinets) and most practical boats I've been on in the size range. A friend of mine has had a two Horizons the most recent one a RP97 has been all over the South Pacific on its own bottom without any major issues. Where the Asian boats (and most American boats ) fall down a bit is things like Crew and Laundry spaces and lack of fuel, water, freezer space and storage. But I agree if you had your build manager at the yard and specified solutions to their standard designs you would end up with a very nice boat indeed at a price impossible to achieve in Europe or the US. Now if only they would build a 34.99 meter version of the Burger Top Times ....