A Growing Market

Refit is on the Up

Refit. A growing market that is the natural consequence of the industry’s new build success. With a large number of yachts delivered in recent years, refits are in demand and on the increase. We spoke to Refit Sales Manager Michel Coens about how our refit team is gearing up to meet the diverse demands of refit requirements and why for some yachts, there’s no place like home.

The Amels 180 GRACE recently returned to Damen Yachting for a 4-month refit.
The 83-metre Amels HERE COMES THE SUN is undergoing an extensive rebuild.

“The yachts used to go to the Med for maintenance and refit,

but customers are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes

to providing Service and Customer Care.

We see a shift to the origin of the product with the customer tending

to go back to the yard where the yacht was originally built.

Scaling Up

Refit is about as diverse as it gets. From mandatory surveys to essential maintenance, complete overhauls and rebuilds, there are a number of key milestones that create the ideal refit opportunity to minimise downtime and maximise a yacht’s upkeep and value. And regardless of the scope, time is always of the essence meaning projects tend to run at a faster pace. So when it comes to keeping up with a growing fleet, scaling up the refit activities and team was only natural.

“Refits have always been an important part of our portfolio but with the focus of 1 or 2 projects per year. Now, however, we are seeing significant growth in the market and we are scaling up. Our fleet is rapidly growing and we want to be able to assist and accommodate our customers with the service level they are accustomed to and maintain that level of quality. By expanding our team we are able to dedicate time and resources as a long-term investment to establish a solid base for the future.”

Refit Team

The Damen Yachting Refit team is led by Michel Coens (centre) and includes Sales Manager Juul Back (left) and Tender Manager Stefan van Damme (right).


GRACE is home sweet home

With 11 years of ocean-going travel behind her, the Amels 180 GRACE recently returned to Vlissingen for a 4-month refit. Captain James Underwood explains the motivation behind bringing her back to the yard where she was originally built for a new lease of life.

Captain James Underwood joined GRACE in August 2020. He is pictured here with the GRACE Refit Project Manager Joppe Osté.


GRACE being a known entity to the shipyard was definitely a deciding factor. They know the boat inside out. We also wanted to maintain the workmanship and quality of the finish from the original build.

Sometimes a brief yard visit can work wonders. The works will not only revitalise GRACE but also provide a welcomed injection of added value and modernisation.

“For GRACE, this relatively short refit includes a technical upgrade, complete hull respray and interior modification. But for us as a crew it’s more than that. It’s the family feel of being at the yard. As crew we are well looked after. It’s a shame that due to COVID we can’t have the full experience but nevertheless we’re making the most of it. Mainly through cycling. I have enjoyed discovering the history of the place by bike. And who doesn’t love to learn a new language? The crew is picking up as much as we can and we are all Bitterballen and Frikandellen fans!”

Amels 180

GRACE stems from the successful Amels 180 Limited Editions design which originally started as the Amels 171 – a design series of 6 which, over a period of 15 years, evolved to the Amels 180 and the delivery of 25 yachts.

Discover Amels 180


Building Bigger

As the largest Amels to be delivered to date, the 83-metre HERE COMES THE SUN has been standing tall as head of the fleet since her delivery in January 2017. In 2020, under new ownership, she returned to Damen Yachting for a large scale rebuild and extension to better meet the new Owner’s requirements.


experienced Hands-on

This is a refit that requires all, but not just any, hands on deck proving the real value in returning to the original builder. The engineering and production teams know the yacht inside out, a huge advantage for a rebuild of this scale. The strength of the Damen Shipyards Group resources and experience have been tapped into for the fabrication of the Main Deck aft section. And for the refit design and naval architecture, the Owner appointed the yard’s original partner for the naval architecture, Azure Yacht Design, to re-pen this iconic Amels from 83 to 89 metres.

A Milestone Moment

Captain Colin Boyle, who has been at the yard throughout the refit, proudly makes the official first cut in the existing transom section. A milestone moment in the rebuild marking the start of the complex extension to her length and decks.


Welcoming any of the fleet back to the yard is always done with pride but for HERE COMES THE SUN, it’s runs even deeper. She represents the first step back towards full custom and bigger projects. Many of the same craftsmen and women who were meticulously involved in the original build are now working on her again, remoulding and reshaping her into the new masterpiece she is set to become.

refit scope

  • Full respray with colour change
  • Extension Sun Deck aft
  • Sun Deck helicopter landing area
  • Sun Deck layout modification
  • Additional Bridge Deck accommodation (VIP)
  • Layout modifications Owner areas
  • 6-metre Main Deck aft extension
  • Layout modifications Main Deck
  • Larger beach club & spa facilities
  • Tender garage modifications
  • Main Deck large flush pool

Extension Sun Deck Aft

The existing aft section was fully removed before the new sections were carefully integrated with the existing key components such as the beach club and transom doors.

Dynamic Approach

“From a planning perspective, a rebuild of this scale and complexity requires flexibility. Whilst we can plan for the majority, there has to be an allowance for discovering the unknown and you need to be prepared to solve on the go. A lot of work takes place in parallel which means that several production elements can be dependent on each other. It takes a very dynamic approach and good, open communication is key. Even when that involves difficult conversations. The Captain’s and Owner’s team’s operational approach has been a big contributing factor to the progress of this time critical project.”

– Sander Peters –
Project Manager

Did you enjoy this article from our Finest Moments Summer 2021 edition? Make sure you don’t miss our next Finest Moments edition!