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Refit of 85.6m Motor Yacht Aquila at Pendennis, UK

Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth, Cornwall has re-delivered the 85.6m motor yacht AQUILA, after an extensive refit programme which took exactly one year to complete.

Burgess was appointed as Yacht Management, in a role that supported AQUILA’s Owners throughout this significant project from concept to re-delivery, providing full project oversight including technical, financial, crew and safety management. They will continue to represent the yacht as part of the Burgess Charter fleet. AQUILA is the largest yacht yet to be refitted in the UK, and the scope of the work undertaken included an impressive revitalisation of all five deck levels, as Adrian Tinkler, Fleet Technical Manager at Burgess, explains: “To facilitate the extent of design and technical changes required, the interiors on AQUILA needed to be stripped back to bulkheads across most areas. The team completely updated the social spaces, modernised technical systems and lighting, and restyled the boat across an area of over 750m2, the scale of which was unprecedented by any of the suppliers in such a short time period. Thanks to efficient planning and collaboration between the many hundreds of people involved at each stage of the design, specification and execution phases, the team delivered on time, a truly remarkable rebirth of this beautiful yacht.”

Technology upgrades as part of the yacht’s five-year survey included a new AV and IT system, radar equipment, air conditioning and fresh air handling systems, along with the rebuild of the four generators. A complete infrastructure repaint by Pinmar completed the refit works.


Redman Whiteley Dixon (RWD) and Susan Young Interiors were commissioned to evaluate the existing room and exterior layouts to reformulate spaces and improve flow between each area of the yacht. Significant enhancements included reconfiguring the Owner’s suite along with the addition of a 60m2 private deck area, repositioning the Jacuzzi to the forward Sun Deck, and integrating a cinema into the Main Salon. Tony Dixon, Director at RWD, explains the styling approach: “We selected a mix of dark wood finishes, pale leather panels with nickel trim and many new special surface materials all interplaying together to offer subtle style variations throughout the interior.”

Susan Young and her team focussed on conceptualising the magnificent chandelier that cascades 11.2m (40ft) through four deck levels, comprising of over 850 individual hand-blown glass pieces. Other key details, such as the patterning of the parquet wood floor that mirrors the ceiling detail in the Owner’s Salon, are complemented by bespoke furniture and meticulous atmospheric lighting design.

The vision of the interior designers was realized with installation by German-based interior specialists Metrica. Hubert Heidemann, project manager from metrica, explains the key challenge of the project: “As one of the largest refit programmes that metrica has ever undertaken, the AQUILA project underlined why teamwork is so important – the collaborative spirit of all companies involved was exceptional.”

Mike Carr, Joint Managing Director of Pendennis, describes the shipyard’s approach: “In order to effectively manage a project of this scale Pendennis assigned four project managers, each with responsibility for specific aspects of the programme. They facilitated effective communication between all partners, which consisted of a combined international team of over 1,000 people at the peak of the project. The unwavering support from the Captain and crew was also a key contributor to the refit’s success. We believe that this project has set a new benchmark for large yacht refit programmes.”

“It is a tribute to all those involved in the project that the Owners can now reap the benefits of this collective effort, taking back their beloved AQUILA and enjoy cruising again in the months and years ahead,” added Tinkler. “Burgess is looking forward to representing AQUILA as part of their Operational and Charter Management fleets, fully restyled, refreshed and ready to serve her Owners and charter guests in the next chapter of her story.”

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