Top Paint Facilities at the Yacht Shipyards

You’ve started a search for a well-located shipyard, one with an experienced team capable of delivering a superlative paint job for a yacht of your size. What will it take for both captain and owner to leave the yard satisfied? Clear, continuous communication from day one is critical, according to people who oversee world-class paint facilities in the United States and Europe.
“Vessels come to boatyards with needs and expectations, and both parties are well served by clearly identifying what their motives are at an early stage,” said Ralph Heil, president of Thunderbolt Marine, Inc. “Planning and good communication are the key to everything. We stress the importance of receiving accurate work lists before the vessel arrives.”
In addition to outlining appearance and performance goals, be sure you end up with a written agreement covering specs and costs for the finish you envision. “Before beginning any work, we prepare a transparent contract outlining all specifications, budget and planning,” reported Vincent Larroque, group sales director of Monaco Marine.
Maintaining close communication with the yard while work is under way can help guarantee a happy outcome. “Launch day for us is really just a celebration, not an inspection of the vessel, because we did that throughout the process,” said Thomas “Charlie” Petosa, vice president of sales and marketing for Ocean Marine Yacht Center.
The final choice of which yard to use may be dictated by a yacht’s anticipated cruising calendar and location. Thanks to recent construction projects, paint sheds on both sides of the Atlantic now are large enough to handle yachts greater than 100 feet without breaking a sweat:

Ocean Marine Yacht Center's 38,000 square foot repair and refinishing building
Ocean Marine’s 38,000 square foot repair and refinishing building can house two superyachts at once.

Ocean Marine Yacht Center Portsmouth, Virginia
What puts this yard into the “world-class” category? “Our tenured team, combined with our state of the art facility,” said Charlie Petosa. Ocean Marine’s repair and refinishing building is a whopping 38,000 square feet in size, enabling it to house two 235-foot superyachts at the same time. The high-tech structure operates year round with heated floors and a water wall wash-down system, and keeps dust out with pressurized ventilation. Another benefit: “There is no sales tax on our already-low labor rates in Virginia,” according to Petosa. “That’s a huge plus.”
Location: US East Coast, Hampton Roads area, in the lower Chesapeake Bay with easy access to the Intracoastal Waterway.
www.oceanmarinellc.com
Thunderbolt Marine Paint Facility
Thunderbolt Marine recently installed a climate-controlled, latest design paint booth in Savannah, GA

Thunderbolt Marine Thunderbolt, Georgia (near Savannah)
Strong points for the 46-year-old Thunderbolt Marine include numerous repeat clients, a talented workforce and a new climate-controlled paint booth. “The ventilation system is optimized for filtered air movement that virtually eliminates overspray,” said Ralph Heil, who shares some interesting numbers: 438 light fixtures containing 1,752 fluorescent tubes have been installed to eliminate shadows on the surfaces being painted. The newly-constructed portion of the building is 195-feet wide by 240-feet deep, and is 107-feet high at its peak. “Our docking experience with the present system includes vessels up to 200 feet,” said Heil. “However, we currently find it practical to restrict our services to 185 feet in our customary cautious and conservative approach to safe and reliable performance.”
Location: US Atlantic Southeastern Coast, close to Savannah, a city known for historic squares and southern charm.
www.thunderboltmarine.us
Compositeworks Paint Facility
Compositeworks’ yacht painting cabin has been operational since summer 2011.

Compositeworks La Ciotat, France
End-game client satisfaction is a result of two obvious criteria: quality work and a respect for delivery times, said Director Ben Mennem. “Within these two points, we believe that a flexible, ‘can-do’ attitude coupled with management in the same mother tongue is greatly appreciated by our clients.” The company’s ultra-modern yacht painting cabin, operational since summer 2011, is 50 meters long, 22 meters wide and 25 meters high, and can take vessels up to 49 meters long and 10.5 meters wide. A “clean wall” system creates perfect conditions for paint jobs free of dust and overspray regardless of the wind and weather. The shed is serviced by a 300-ton travel lift featuring an internal keel pit ideal for sailing yachts. “This €3.5 million investment is the next step in our ongoing development program,” said Mennem.
Location: Mediterranean coast between Marseille and Toulon, convenient for yachts coming in from Monaco, Nice or Cannes.
www.compositeworks.com
MB92’s covered paint shed houses yachts afloat
MB92’s covered paint shed houses yachts afloat

Marina Barcelona92 Barcelona, Spain
MB92 offers a floating and covered paint shed, run by Pinmar as a joint venture, with the capacity to accommodate vessels of up to 125 meters in length. “The paint shed has been designed to paint yachts completely afloat, meeting quality requirements and environmental standards,” reported Communication Manager Sonia Asensio. Seven yachts from 52 meters to a maximum of 115 meters have spent time in the specialty facility in recent months, and a 97-meter job is in progress. Last February, MB’92 announced plans to double its yard space by 2014 in order to offer the world’s largest facility dedicated solely to superyachts. The first stage of the €46.5 million expansion will add additional dock and covered drydock space for six yachts with lengths up to 200 meters.
Location: Catalonia region of Spain at Barcelona, a cosmopolitan city with a bustling urban vibe.
www.mb92.com
Image of Monaco Marine Paint Facility
Monaco Marine in La Ciotat has 35,000 square meters of yard space, home to a 90-meter paint shed.

Monaco Marine La Ciotat, France
Monaco sports both a large out-of-the-water paint shed and a roomy yard with more than 15 hard standing berths from 60 to 80 meters in length. “That means we can say ‘yes’ even in the high season,” reported Monaco’s Vincent Larroque. The shed (sized at a generous 90 meters in length, 27 meters width and 32 meters height) has accommodated vessels as large as the 83-meter M/Y Golden Odyssey. “We have engineering, carpenter, steel works and an electricity workshop in house,” said Larroque, “and our team of more than 10 project managers.” The 35,000-square-meter yard opened in April 2007 and holds two ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certificates: 9001 in Quality Management and 14001 in Environmental Management.
Location: Mediterranean coast, a short drive to Marseille and the villages of Provence.
www.monacomarine.com
Chris Goodier is a North Carolina-based freelance writer and former editor of All At Sea and Crew Life magazines.