There are plenty of companies that make yachts. There aren’t so many, like Pendennis, that are able to also restore them, especially given the cultural importance of some craft. The former may be high-tech, but the latter requires the touch of a conservator of masterpieces too.
Take, for example, the Mariette, a classic 42m twin-masted schooner – and one of the world’s most historic yachts. It’s taken one company, Pendennis – based in western England and one of the leading super-yacht builders – nine months to fully restore her in what the experts there have referred to as a labour of love. That love was involved was, no doubt, a great relief to its captain Charlie Wroe too. He describes the yacht as “the equivalent of a classic Aston Martin, complete with a Victorian fireplace, gentleman’s study and genteel bathroom”.
The yacht was originally built in 1915 by Herreshoff in the US – but over the last few years has been back with Pendennis four times, from replacing her generators to bottom works to prepare her for racing in the Pendennis Cup, to a clean up in 2014 – when Pendennis’ 640 tonne travel hoist was able to lift her clean out of the water – to this more recent overhaul, including metal repairs to the hull and structure, a new deck, new engine room layout and new topside paint. Yes, that much of an overhaul.
“When you’re working with a vessel steeped in so much history, there is always an immense level of trust involved which we hold in the highest regard,” stresses Mike Carr, the managing director of Pendennis. “Widely considered as one of the world’s most beautiful classic yachts, preparing Mariette for many more years at sea and being part of maintaining such an important part of global sailing history is another milestone for us.”
In fact, that sort of work is becoming more and more important in the yachting world too. According to the annual ‘Superyacht Report’, owners are holding on to their yachts for longer periods of time, maintaining and repairing rather than exchanging or upgrading. And that’s all the more the case for the likes of a yacht like Mariette – no mere modern day floating palace, which money can buy, the Mariette is one of a kind.
In fact, Pendennis – which was co-founded by Peter de Savary and which this year marks its 30th anniversary – is finding that demand for refit and refurbishment services are now rising above new build projects. Perhaps this also suggests that, as in the car world, the demand for classics – as investments, as experiences – is back on the up out on the water too.