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63m SuRi Completes Revolutionary In-Water Refinish

By George Bains – Superyachts.com

April 23, 2020

Legendary 63.40m expedition yacht SuRi has completed an innovative in-water repaint as part of an ongoing project underway at Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard (GCCM).

Australia’s climate, and particularly its winter season in the sub-tropical areas, is ideal for refinishing projects. The weather is stable, warm and dry. Increasingly, yachts are seeing the efficiency in undertaking paint projects during the Australian winter. The most recent to do so is M/Y SuRi yet there is nothing standard about the current project at GCCM.

SuRi last completed a repaint in 2016 yet with such an extensive cruising itinerary and as a steel yacht, the paint wears quickly so in early 2020, it was time to paint her again. At 63 metres and 1355 gross tonnage, the process of repainting the hull and superstructure of a yacht this size would usually require a drydock or slipway.  Yet with a little bit of creativity and investing in some innovative scaffolding, SuRi was able to complete the work in the water at their preferred yard, GCCM.  

Captain Juan Koegelenberg explained: “We had previously been to GCCM three times and each maintenance period was a success made so by all the services and trades we require being on site.  Just about everything a superyacht needs is a one minute walk away from the vessel. There is also a great deal of flexibility in how we can manage our projects at the yard so planning is so easy. It also goes without saying the crew enjoy being on the Gold Coast close to beaches, theme parks and all the coast has to offer.”

In 2017, GCCM augmented their hardstand facilities with a 75-metre superyacht service berth sitting alongside the hardstand. Designed to accommodate yachts completing work on the water, it is easily accessed by forklift and boom lifts from the hardstand as well as being within a stone’s throw of the on-site trades.

Juan had extensively researched scaffolding as, on SuRi, they build the scaffolding top down rather than the traditional method from the bottom up.  He settled on Layher cantilevered scaffolding and was so impressed with the system system his Gold Coast based company, Liquid Yacht Support, purchased it outright.  It is the only one of its kind in Australia.

I purchased the gear myself as it is much more cost effective to paint a vessel in the water than to haul it out. Especially when you have a crew of 17 and need to accommodate them all.  Yet when the vessel remains in the water, the crew can live aboard and continue with normal day to day maintenance in addition to painting.  I foresee more yachts coming to the GCCM to undertake work in this manner and if so, I will be ready to build scaffolding to any of their needs,” explained Juan.

As a long-term customer of the facility, GCCM were happy to welcome Juan and SuRi back with the scaffolding system. “We love working with SuRi as the crew is professional, know what they want and set about getting it done.  Juan has provided the scaffolding yet our onsite tenant, Sweep Marine Services, is providing the encapsulation whilst some of contractors are working with the crew on other internal jobs.  It is a pretty good working arrangement,” stated Kevin Altera, GM of Business Development and Operations.

Aside from the superyacht work basin, GCCM houses a full hardstand serviced by a 250 tonne travelift, eight enclosed superyacht refit sheds and 80 onsite marine businesses employing 700 individual tradesmen. 

The superyacht work basin has been invaluable as it augments the shipyard services.  Yachts can use the berth for pre and post refit work and, in the cases of SuRi, The Star, Moatize, Loretta, No Comment and Dragonfly, GCCM can accommodate a larger and broader range of yachts for in-water work. SuRi has proven that does not need to be limited to minor works either,” continued Kevin.

GCCM is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020 and has been gaining momentum in the market as a leading refit destination in the Asia Pacific region with a number of successful refits under its belt.  Its future developments in a second stage will more than double the yard’s footprint and increase its lifting capacity by 400%.