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Refit on the Rise

Refit on the Rise

Undertaking refit work, whether a complete hull-up rebuild or customisation to update key features, is a creative, cost-effective and gratifying option for boat owners.

As Shane Subichin, general manager at The Boat Works, explains, “Every boat needs a revamp after ten years to bring it back as good as new. Boats suffer from wear and tear, exposure to saltwater and sun; decks and carpets wear out. Upgrades can include engineering, re-powering, sandblasting, paint work, upholstery, and frequently, refits to the deck or interiors.”

Every few years there are significant advances in marine technology, products and materials. “There are always innovations in navigation gear, entertainment equipment, accessories, techniques to acquire more space inside, or features such as hydraulic swim platforms,” says Shane. “New generation materials are now available such as UV-proof fabrics, carbon fibre and composites, so people can expect longevity.

“It’s a case of buying well and putting money into it. The same principle applies to a brand-new boat. Many production boat brands are content to leave it to the specialists for complex customisation. If you buy the right boat, you can invest what you’ve saved on upgrades and refits. The most important factor is that the mechanical side is right, for the safety of your family and guests. You need to get your boat’s systems checked by the experts, then you can concentrate on the aesthetics.”


One recent example at The Boat Works was a 38ft Mustang, which was given a new lease on life and emerged in better-than-new condition in time for summer boating. “The owner found the boat,” recounts Shane. “He had it checked by RT Marine professional marine surveying, which issued an itemised report and recommended a reasonable buy price. From there, Boat Service Gold Coast carried out some minor mechanical work on the legs and engine, plus servicing to bring the Mustang ‘back to the future’.”

The experts at Spraytech Marine carried out the hull respray on the Mustang, taking it from a faded blue to a deep navy. The Boat Butler carried out all the detailing, from sanding its teak decks, rechroming badges, new bootline stripes, and rego numbers.

New accessories included an Ultra anchor, sunpads and carpet throughout. Affordable Anti-foul Solutions undertook the anti-foul. The ecstatic owner was thrilled with the results and the cost-effective means of creating his “family dream boat”, personalised to his own requirements.


“At The Boat Works, we have an array of marine trades geared up for every size of project,” says Shane. “Southern boat owners are capitalising on the depth of skills and access to contractors here at the Coomera Marine Precinct, to make a pit stop on their way to the Whitsundays or on their return trip. It just makes sense, in pricing, turnaround time, and the quality of craftsmanship.”

An 11-year old 73ft Symbol motor yacht bought in Sydney recently stopped in for a major electronics upgrade and some cosmetic touches en route to its new home in Brisbane. Russell Salisbury from Russell Marine Maintenance oversaw the project management and carried out much of work, with his team of five, and an additional four electrical and mechanical engineers involved in the month-long project.

“It made financial sense to get an older boat at a good price and spend the time and money on bringing it up to brand new,” Russell says. “He also chose to revamp some of the upholstery and the vessel will be anti-fouled before it leaves here for Brisbane, and eventually cruises north.”


Another noteworthy vessel is mid-way through a massive refit following fire damage that destroyed the boat’s lower decks and smoke-damaged much of the rest. The owner of the 70ft steel-hull cruiser, called Pobeda 1 built in the Netherlands and launched in 2010, chose to rebuild his boat because of sentimental and sensible reasons.

“It has good bones,” says Levi Duncan, Director at Ocean Degree Yacht Services, which is overseeing the project. “The owner realises his money is well spent on restoring such a quality vessel to a state-of-the-art modern motor yacht.”

With his background in engineering, the Gold Coast-based owner of Pobeda 1 did his research prior to choosing The Boat Works for such a massive project. “It is a professional business with highly qualified tenants on-site, and I have confidence in their expertise to handle this major overhaul,” he says.

He relocated Pobeda 1 from Europe to Australia, and is now keen to bring her back to her former glory, only very much enhanced, for her next long-haul journey. “The vessel has extremely good integrity, being steel. I want to build on her features and performance to personalise for the next phase of her life, cruising south to Tasmania, then to New Zealand, north to Indonesia and beyond.”

The engine room, crew section and plant room had to be completely sand blasted to remove damaged paint. The project comprises engineering, hydraulic gear, rebuilding the 450hp John Deere engine, adding a smaller auxiliary engine, installing a new generator and state-of-the-art electronics from Raymarine, Vetus and Mastervolt supplied by Australian Marine Wholesale.

To store the tender and array of water toys to entertain the grandkids, the owner has specified the addition of a spacious lazarette and extended swim platform, along with extra attention to the comforts of home in the aft deck and social spaces.

Spraytech Marine will be responsible for the entire respray of the hull and external superstructure, aiming to soften the dark European hull colour to Oyster White for a much-needed fresh appeal.

John Billet from Nautilus Marine is undertaking the engineering facets of the job. “Refit has always been a popular option,” he says. “The appeal is that you can buy a vessel with a proven hull for a good price, invest in engineering and electrical systems plus revamp the interiors and you have virtually a new boat for a fraction of the cost.”

Levi Duncan says the owner is “fastidious and wants the best of everything. Like most owners, he has many good memories on his boat. It’s extremely worthwhile to refit, or in this case, rebuild to exactly the way he wants it.”

Levi continues, “There is a profusion of new products and materials available today that didn’t exist or couldn’t be done cost-effectively in the past.” An example is the teak substitute, Esthec Nautical Decking, which is a light-weight, non-slip, PVC-free, low maintenance and highly durable, environmentally-friendly option.


“The Boat Works provides the benefit of access to a multitude of trades and services on-site,” states Levi. “We are all specialists in our fields, including talented shipwrights with decades of experience in refits and fitout work. All work is undertaken within our fully-contained working refit sheds to the most stringent environmental standards.”

The expansion at The Boat Works will effectively double the size of the current facilities, bringing way to a world-class refit facility.

Levi declares, “We have 10 boats lined up for refits with approved quotes – from 40 to 100ft. We have 25 on our team already and are hiring another five. All the marine business on-site are gearing up for increasing demand, which is very positive for the industry and the region.”

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By Shane Subichin