Pendennis Completes First Phase Of Yard Transformation

By Ben Roberts

Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth is now almost unrecognisable from the previous facilities as the UK shipyard announces the completion of the first phases of a substantial transformation.

Extensive development of the site commenced in February 2013, and has seen the previous singular construction hall replaced with two 90m halls alongside a further 45m double-width hall. This complements the existing 150m dry dock, providing a more flexible space for superyacht refit and new builds projects at the 6.5acre site.

The project has been many years in the planning, as joint Managing Director, Mike Carr explained “Since the company was founded over 25 years ago we have continually invested in the Falmouth site to respond to industry demands. When we founded the company in 1988 a 35m vessel was perceived as ‘large’ in the yachting industry! Over the years as yacht sizes continued to grow and refit demand increased the yard has needed to adapt. Since the last major yard expansion, which included the improvement of our dry dock facilities in 2004, the superyacht industry has changed dramatically.

Over the past five years in particular Pendennis has seen an increasing demand for winter refits as well as an escalation in the average length of yachts globally. Henk and I recognised that we needed to improve our facilities to cater to this, and so the development plans have been a key consideration for some time.”

The three new halls were completed in stages to cater to project demand. As Halls 1 and 2 were midway through their build schedule, projects were manoeuvred into their aft ends and sealed off to allow production to continue. Once these buildings were completed two further projects were moved in, with the third hall now being used for keel-laying of the 31.3m Dubois new build. Since October the 150m dry dock has also been full, with two 60m+ refit projects in place. In order to cater to larger projects, Pendennis has recently taken delivery of a 640 tonne travel hoist, which is ideally positioned to move yachts smoothly from the slipway into each of the three halls.

Local construction company, Midas, consulted with Pendennis’ project teams throughout the process, tailoring the impressive facilities to manage the unique demands of superyacht refit and build. The four-storey central spine contains workshops, trade areas and project team offices to enable direct access to projects situated in the halls. An 80m mast shed has been integrated into the lowest level, creating a convenient environmentally controlled area for spraying and servicing. A critical feature was the inclusion of a network of air ducts built into the floor of each building. This allows for yachts to be individually sealed and an environmentally controlled paint environment created in situ, without the need to move projects to different locations for spraying.

The shoreside building phase was completed in May with a four-storey workshop/office/hospitality complex. Glass balconies provide a stunning outlook over the Fal estuary, and a unique work environment for project teams and visiting crews. The hospitality suite was used for the first time at the VIP lunch during the Pendennis Cup at the end of May. An Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, which had been craned into the suite by local company Macsalvors especially for the launch of the new facility, provided a spectacular centrepiece to this exclusive event.

Pendennis already has the contractors creating the non-tidal wet-basin directly in front of the recently completed construction halls. With the longest arm of the basin planned to be 100m this will enable several 40-50m visiting yachts, or larger 80m+ projects, to be based directly alongside before and after their refit or build period at Pendennis. This next phase is due to be completed in 2015, finalising the transformation of Pendennis into one of the most impressive and accessible superyacht facilities in the world.

By Ben Roberts