Rupert Holmes considers the pros and cons of carrying out major work abroad

Yacht refit in a far-flung part of the world can appear to be an attractive proposition, particularly if you can reap the benefit of lower labour rates. However, if it can be challenging to organise a refit in your own language and in a country in which you understand the legal system, the potential for things to go wrong becomes greater the further away from home you are.

We have encountered people who had experienced what they described as horrendous situations. While it’s fair to say that not every owner who refitted in the UK, or elsewhere in northern Europe, was happy with their refit experience, the proportion of dissatisfied owners appears to be much higher in more distant locations. On the other hand, it’s also clear that others have experienced top-quality work.

One of the biggest problems is that, unless you have a long-standing relationship with the people that will be the carrying out the work, or are part of a strong network that can identify good (and bad) outfits, it can be difficult to figure out the skills and reliability of anyone you engage to work on the boat.

In addition, project managing your own refit at arm’s length can involve a huge amount of expense, travel and hassle. For this reason David Pedley opted to sail his Oyster 56 Sea Flute back to the UK for her refit – see the author’s detailed description – rather than making multiple trips out to Palma to oversee work as it progressed.


The author and his partner had their yacht refitted in the UK – read about it here