For Yacht Builders, Buyers, and Owners
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From the introduction to Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects, by Phil Friedman:
As anyone who knows me can attest, I am wont to tell clients and colleagues that I can help them avoid many of the pitfalls in yacht building, not because I’m so smart, but because over a period of thirty years in the industry, I’ve stepped into most of them myself.
I’ve watched yacht building projects run over schedule and budget more times than I care to admit. I’ve seen projects devolve into verbal and business wars between buyer and builder. And I’ve seen a huge amount of waste — of good will, effort, and money.
Indeed, I’ve come to view much yacht building as a concatenation of crises, a process in which one moves continually from solving one major problem to solving the next. That is the way it’s been, that is the way it is, and that is the way it will likely always be. There is little to be done about it, mostly because yacht build projects are quite complex, made ever much more so by the fact that multiple competing egos are often involved, creative and otherwise, and the demands of buyers are high and, just as often, highly idiosyncratic.
What you don’t ever want to do in a yacht build project is add to the problems unnecessarily by failing to take certain key steps at the beginning, steps that will go a long way toward increasing the probability of achieving a successful completion.
This mini-book is about some of those project-saving steps. I am not under any illusion that what I say here is exhaustive of the topic. However, I believe you will find that which follows to be exceedingly useful in making a yacht building project more like what it should be: a boost for the spirit, and a joy to be savored.
However, before you read the following in an attempt to arm yourself with the Ten Golden Rules for a successful yacht building project, I’d like to caution you about one other matter. It is one thing to know what actions to take, and quite another to actually take them. It is one thing to know what you have to do, and quite another to actually do it. My favorite example in this regard is the ubiquitous weight study.
A weight study — and a real-time as-built weight tally — are not brain surgery. Actually, they fall among the least difficult, and most routine of operations integral to a yacht design and construction project. Indeed, virtually every naval architect and engineer, and every boatbuilder worth the term knows how to perform one. Yet, I venture that less than 50% of yacht build projects in the world are actually preceded by a full and proper weight study, and fewer than 25% are actually accompanied by a real-time, as-built weight tally. Why? Because although the procedures are simple enough, in the heat of dealing with the chain of crises that usually comprise a yacht building project, builders too often neglect to do that which they know perfectly well they should be doing.
The key element to understand here is that knowing what to do is not enough, unless you actually do it. There is simply no way around that truth.
Of the important lessons I’ve learned through the years, the one which stands out most, is that you simply can’t do everything. You can’t anticipate and cover every contingency. You can’t make yourself, your project, or your plan perfectly bulletproof — if that is, you are ever to get around to actually implementing that plan or completing the project.
The best you can do is take a relatively few, but select preparatory steps, chosen to give you the best edge for achieving success — however you may define “success”. It is with that in mind, that the following Ten Golden Rules are presented for your consideration. — PLF
Ten Golden Rules for Successful Major Refits details how to evaluate whether to undertake a given refit, plan the Scope of Work, negotiate agreements with boatyards and marine services contractors, track and evaluate the work, minimize costs and keep them under control, and much more. By veteran shipyard manager, Phil Friedman, author of the widely praised Ten Golden Rules for Successful New Build Projects.
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— Phil Friedman, Editor and Publisher
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