The summer season in the med has all but ended, so if you’re not off to the Caribbean this can mean only one thing… You, my friend, are off to the shipyard for a refit.
But what on earth are you going to do all winter (besides sanding and varnishing of course)? Luckily for you many refit shipyards are in or near fantastic destinations, so here’s our guide to some of our favourites:
STP in Palma, Majorca
Facilities: Dock Bar has always been a convenient place for a catch up in the yard with friends and contractors. To make your refit as easy as possible, there are various onsite suppliers based in the yard too. STP is also in an excellent location, so once you’ve finished work you’ll be back in the old town in minutes.
Things to do: Mallorca is a paradise for people that like to be outside, even in the Winter months. Think amazing beaches, excellent rock climbing and some of the most amazing routes through the countryside and mountains for cyclists and walkers.
Transport links: Taxis are cheap, central Palma is walkable and the airport is only 15 minutes outside of town, with flights to most major European cities and excellent connections via Barcelona.
Nightlife: Palma is world renowned for its night-time culture, and is home to everything from classy cocktail bars like NeoCultural, to big name clubs like Pacha. If you’re looking for something different, head to Abaco which is a cocktail bar situated inside a reimagined medieval Majorcan Palace. Famous yachtie bars here include Corner Bar, Havana Bar and Bar Cuba.
Rybovich in West Palm Beach, USA
Facilities: Rybovich is incredibly well appointed in terms of crew facilities. There’s a gym, a swimming pool, and of course the world-famous M/Y Café – a bar and restaurant exclusively for use by Rybovich crew and contractors; and for the occasional crew party or two.
Things to do: The weather in Florida is mostly good all year round, so beach days are still on the cards here. There’s also a wildlife sanctuary and waterpark nearby (you are in the theme park state after all). Feeling adventurous? Head to the Everglades National Park and try out the hovercraft experience on the swamp. Just watch out for alligators, please.
Transport links: It’s a 10-minute drive from the yard to central Palm Beach and 15 minutes to Palm Beach International airport. And if you fancy a trip to Miami you’ll be there in an hour and a half.
Nightlife: There are lots of bars local to the yard, but if you want to go dancing head to The Loft or Rumbass, which are top-rated local night-time spots!
Pendennis in Falmouth, UK
Food: If you’re going to eat seafood anywhere in the UK, Cornwall should be at the top of your list! The Quarterdeck is a MUST visit for posh plates, but don’t disregard the satisfaction you can get from eating fish’n’chips at any one of the local ‘chippys’ in town.
Facilities: The team at Pendennis aim to “provide a professional work environment alongside a welcoming social environment for crews whilst based in Falmouth, providing a home-from-home.”. There are beautiful crew offices onsite where refit projects are managed, a crew gym and a canteen/kitchen which doubles as a social space.
Things to do: Cornwall is one of the most beautiful areas in the UK so if you like walking and sailing you will never run out of things to do here (even though the sea is FREEZING in winter). You should definitely check out the Eden Project which is just an hour from Falmouth, and if you want something in walking distance visit the shipyard’s namesake, Pendennis Castle.
Transport links: The train station connects with the rest of UK and Exeter Airport is 2 hours away by car.
Nightlife: It may be home to Club International, but Falmouth is more ‘cosy pubs and wellie boots’ than ‘stilettoes and hair gel’. Make sure you sample one of the many Cornish ales and ciders on offer at some of the craft-ale hotspots in town.
Integrated Marine in Auckland, New Zealand
Facilities: IMG Yacht Support customers get a crew discount card, which gets you great offers at a range of places, including bars, kite surfing shops, beauty spas and a gym. Integrated Marine also regularly organise crew drinks at the Jack Tar, a local pub near the marina.
Things to do: It may be winter in Europe but you are headed to the NZ summer! For a weekend trip go to the Bay of Islands, make sure you check out the vineyards on Waiheke and if you’re staying in town walk up Mount Eden for an amazing view of the city. If you want to get your adrenaline pumping you can jump off the cities highest building, the Sky Tower!
Transport links: The buses are cheap, the train station is around the corner and it is a 25-minute drive to the airport (and they even have Uber here).
Nightlife: This city is awash with great pubs, trendy bars and of course nightclubs. Ponsonby is one of the most popular nighttime areas and has a lot of variety depending on what you like.
Monaco Marine in La Ciotat, France
Facilities: Monaco Marine have a sizeable headquarters building onsite, and inside you can find crew offices and lounges that are perfect for some quiet time off the boat. The company also offer a concierge service for crew living in the yard and plan regular fitness classes and other social activities throughout the winter refit period.
Things to do: In the town itself there are lots of water sports activities available (if it isn’t too cold), or you can jump in the car and head to Les Gorges du Verdun, considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful river canyons. On your way home pop into the town of Cassis for a coffee and take a wander around its beautiful port.
Transport Links: The local train station means you can easily access the nearest towns of Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Toulon. Marseille is the closest big airport, an hour away by car.
Nightlife: There are a few bars but if you want your dancing shoes to take you beyond ‘On the Docks’, you’ll have to head to one of the bigger towns. Marseille is a 30-minute train journey away but you’ll need to get a taxi back unless you’re out all night.
Featured Image Credit: yacht-shot.com/Stuart Pearce