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2017 Nov Dec Marina World

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SUPERYACHT FACILITIES outside of the east dock was dredged deeper to allow 300ft (90m) yachts to tie on the outside. The arrangement provides easy manoeuvring and offers the owner’s guests a Palm Beach Island view. Bellingham Marine wave attenuators are planned and permitting is in place for expansion of the north side of the marina to accommodate several more superyachts. A global player Francois Van Well is vice president of business development for Rybovich. “We’re not just a shipyard,” said Van Well, “we’re a full-service marina and we try to keep it full like any other marina. Our customers come here because of the quality of our facilities to maintain and repair large yachts. Our clientele includes larger and larger yachts as our reputation and capabilities have grown.” Huizenga did more than put up a “superyachts welcome here” sign and wait for business. He hired Chris Denhard as business liaison and customer relations manager. Denhard travelled the world creating relationships with owners and captains that would later turn into service visits to Rybovich. Van Well and his team approached large yacht manufacturers in Europe and offered to acquire the specialised capabilities, tools and training needed to make Rybovich a provider of warranty services for their yachts. The presence of Rybovich in Florida, and the growing number of superyachts and congestion in Mediterranean ports combined to alter cruising patterns of large yachts. “We’ve become an integral part of the itinerary for many yachts,” said Van Well. “They plan a stop for annual maintenance either on their way to the Caribbean or on the way back to their home port.” “As these boats get bigger,” said Van Well, “their capabilities are greater. A steel-hulled vessel 131ft [40m] and up can go anywhere any time of year and doesn’t have to be put up for storage in winter. They can leave the Mediterranean, go to either coast of the Americas, or go to the Galapagos, Fiji, New Zealand and Asia. We’re helping to encourage yacht visits to our area. We are a co-sponsor of the St. Barts Bucket Regatta held in March for sailboats over 100ft [30m], and it attracts many superyachts to the area.” Care of the superyacht customer “It was uncharted territory when we pioneered the superyacht marina and refit concept,” said Van Well. “We had to listen to the customer and adapt quickly, and we still do. We learned that Left & below: A gym to keep the crews fit and an outdoor pool for all to enjoy. the key is to take stress off the captain by removing risks and uncertainties. For example, we have our own fleet of tugboats specifically designed for superyachts. We are taking delivery of a new, larger tugboat and training new crews to transfer large yachts between the West Palm Beach marina and the Riviera Beach facility. When there are movements there are potential risks, so we make it as stress free as possible for the captain.” “We have in-slip refuelling and that’s fine for boats up to 130 to 150ft [40 to 45m],” Van Well observed. “But very large yachts need faster refuelling. We’re one of the larger fuel distributors in South Florida, and we know the captains don’t want to wait all day for fuel trucks to arrive. So we have fuel trucks back to back, sometimes six or seven of them, to expedite refuelling. We tailor our operation to be seamless, accommodating, and up to the standards of the boats themselves.” “Larger boats have larger permanent crew, 30 people on some boats,” he noted. “We normally have 500 to 600 crew staying in the marina. They may be here for two months or more. We basically run a hotel where the guests www.marinaworld.com - November/December 2017 31

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