Spotlight on Hill Robinson, La Spezia

By The Superyacht Refit Report
27 October 2021

From its bustling office in the heart of La Spezia, The Superyacht Report speaks to Hill Robinson to discuss the role of the project manager and why the region is an indisputable hub for superyacht refits...

The scope of a project manager can vary between each project, owner, shipyard, and even the individual managers themselves. Often seen as the voice of the client when they are not on-site, project managers will attend regular meetings at the shipyard for accurate reports on everything from the project’s finances to technical elements of the refit. An all-encompassing role, a project can quickly derail without an expert. “During a refit, the project manager will be the one point of contact for the owner, ensuring clear lines of communication. They should possess all the necessary skill sets, technical knowledge, and organisational strengths to coordinate a successful, timely, and cost-efficient conclusion to the refit,” begins Pino Di Mora, senior project manager and country manager for Hill Robinson.

The vast and fluid nature of this role accounts for the importance of utilising specialists. Where Hill Robinson sets itself apart from the crowd, Di Mora argues, is in its depth of experience. “We have highly qualified project managers and a very experienced technical team with proven success in multiple projects with industry-leading shipyards. We have also cultivated strong relationships with contractors, which allows us to provide additional pressure and cost control for the client.”

La Spezia is an indisputable hub for refit projects, and the Hill Robinson office is located in the Porto Lotti Marina – on the doorstep of the Baglietto, Sanlorenzo, Ferretti, and Perini Navi shipyards. “La Spezia is situated in the heart of the yacht building and refit hub. Most suppliers, contractors, and shipyards have their headquarters between Livorno and Genoa, offering the greatest shipyard’s facilities and infrastructures suitable for any size yacht,” explains Di Mora. “Most of the world’s biggest superyachts are built in this area, therefore there is a great availability of parts, manpower, contractors, suppliers, and refit space.”

One high-profile project recently completed by the Hill Robinson team is the award-winning refit of 48m (158 ft) M/Y Kanaloa. “The Kanaloa refit was more of a rescue type of refit,” Di Mora explains. “Two shipyards’ quotations were exceeding the yacht’s value and her owner initially planned to scrap the yacht. But, following our involvement, the owner decided to trust our reputation, experience, and expertise in “refit salvage” and accepted our ambitious refit proposal – which estimated a fraction of the original shipyards’ quotations.” The Hill Robinson team embarked on Kanaloa’s restoration and ended up directly managing 40 contractors and approximately 20 crew, most inexperienced, to carry out an in-depth overhaul of the yacht’s systems and appearance. “Despite the very tight budget and numerous technical and logistic challenges, the refit was completed ahead of time, achieved Commercial Class with Lloyds and the Cayman Islands, and was perfectly on budget,” Di Mora proudly adds.

As the old adage goes, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur”. The importance of an experienced project manager cannot be underestimated, and drawing on the collective knowledge pool found at Hill Robinson in La Spezia is a recipe for success.

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