Designing for Charter Yacht Refit

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When working on a yacht design project, I always ask my clients if they plan to charter the boat? The main reason I ask this is because it has a big impact on how I approach the yacht refit project. Designing for a charter refit affects everything from material selections and possible colors to how much storage is available. It also can have an impact on such things as dining accommodations, the type of bedding and linens, and much much more. 

The first important main focus I have when the boat will be chartered, is selecting durable and appropriate materials that will withstand the wear and tear of heavy use. I consider the boat a “floating hotel” when I hear the boat will be chartered, so I always recommend  “contract” textiles which are hotel or restaurant level textiles for high performance for all the upholstered items and window treatments. It is also important that all the fabrics are stain treated or will clean up easily and be forgiving to accidents or spills. The colors of materials are also a consideration and usually the colors selected should be more deeper tones, but then again  this truly depends on the owners and their taste. In the case when a client loves a super light look and insists on it,  I am careful to explain to them the pros and cons and I select the most appropriate materials for the application. Another absolute must is to choose materials such as flooring and carpet and that will repel stains and soiling and perform well and look good for years to come. I prefer to use nylon carpets in boats that will be chartered heavily and are under 125ft because they are less expensive, clean easily and in my opinion wear better; they perform better if exposed to suntan lotions or body oils and they don’t smell over time like a wool carpet if the yachts AC is not running all the time.

Another consideration when designing for charter yachts is available storage. I always try and maximize storage and create new storage areas in new yacht furnishings provided by us during a refit to ensure that the crew will always have ample space. In items like sofas and ottomans or cocktail tables, it is always a goal of mine to try to use these for storage. Also on many charter boats we create storage under the bed bases with lifts and draws to also help make the charters function better. For items like towels, provisions, wine, dry goods, life jackets and more, these hidden storage areas are ideal and eliminates clutter and helps keep things organized for crews. My rule is thumb is you can never have too much storage on a boat and I think most owners and crew would agree.

A third major consideration in designing the interior of a charter yacht would be dining area accommodations for charter guests. This particular issue I like to discuss at length with my clients. Usually on charter yachts it’s important to have proper seating to accommodate all potential guests in all types of weather. I always ask how will the boat be used?? How many guests can the boat accommodate?? I make sure that there is enough seating for all the indoor and outdoor dining areas, and that the boat is equipped with extra folding seating that can be stored for extra people.. I have also seen that many yachts have no indoor dining option which is useful, especially if the boat is encountering bad weather and the guests can not eat outside. Many yachts do not have a dining table that is big enough to accomodate full house charters and require an extension or leaf for the table so the table can be extended, in the case we usually custom design a new table that will convert and function in all types of seating arrangements.

In closing, I always make it a point to try to design my yacht interiors with the golden rule in mind “form follows function” when designing for charter yachts. I love to create environments that are not only beautiful but are well thought out and function well when the boats are in service and out to sea. I love to hear the feedback from owners and crew and hear how things are working after they have undergone a refit with my studio. I continue to strive to be a better yacht interior designer for my clients and their crews with each project and every experience.

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