With a major refit, the 170-foot Amels Kiss the Sky, launched in 2001, finds new life as the 180-foot Harmony.
says Alberto Amico, the fourth-generation family member to head the Amico & Co. shipyard in Italy. “It requires numerous ingredients, and if there is the smallest imbalance—in know-how, management or even the inability to find a good marble cutter—then the magic is lost.”
A successful refit combines traditional shipbuilding skills with a knack for problem solving that only comes with experience. The scope of work nearly always expands as the project progresses, so the many variables have to be calculated while keeping a close eye on budgets and production schedules.
It was with this in mind that Imperial—the Monaco-based management, new construction, sales and charter company—turned to Amico & Co. for the refit of Kiss the Sky. Designed by Terence Disdale and launched by Amels in 2001, the 170-foot, 7-inch (52-meter) yacht had been put through her 15-year Lloyd’s survey in the United States and was for sale. On the outside, her dark blue hull and white superstructure were still contemporary, but the Patrick Knowles interior design dated to a 2009 refit.
For an interior revamp, Imperial could have gone to any number of yards, but the client also wanted to enhance the functionality of the yacht by transforming the lazarette into a spa and beach club with steam room, shower, bar and lounge. This was a much more
‘ Refitting is a alchemy,’ kind of
challenging proposition that required adding around 9 feet to the stern, increasing the overall length to just over 180 feet (55 meters). Amico & Co. specializes in complex engineering works, which is one reason the yacht was transported to Italy.
“They were able to accept the short time frame of six months requested by the owner,” says Julia Stewart, Imperial’s Monaco director. “Another plus side was that the yard is based in Genoa, a stone’s throw from the Imperial headquarters, which meant our own experienced managers could be on site within a couple of hours and stay several days or weeks in a row, to supervise and implement the owner’s instructions.”
Aware of the tight schedule, Amico & Co. dispatched a team to Florida to conduct a feasibility study before the client had signed the refit contract. When the yacht arrived in Genoa in late December 2016, her hull was 3-D-scanned, and the technical office began the naval architecture and stability calculations for the longer waterline length. A noise and vibration analysis was also carried out to avoid cavitation that might result from the new hull shape.
Now named Harmony, the yacht’s first stage of the refit began with cutting the steel hull just abaft the propellers, which had to be dismounted along with the drive shafts. A new 18-foot (5.5-meter) block was then welded into place. To avoid a complete hull repaint, this new section had to match the existing dark blue livery seamlessly.
The engine room machinery was in perfect working order and only the generators were replaced with new John Deere units. But a tiller arm connecting the two rudders in the old lazarette had to be re-engineered so it could be integrated out of sight into the teak-lined beach club. In addition, the sun loungers on the deck immediately above were raised onto a platform to provide the requested headroom and space for a larger transom door.
Luca Dini Design was engaged for the interior restyling. Taking care to retain as much of the existing joinery as possible, the studio created mood boards to reimagine and refresh the décor.
“The time factor was critical,” Dini says. “Normally we follow a linear design process, starting with realistic renders for the client’s approval before moving on to the architectural drawings and specific materials. With Harmony, each phase had to happen simultaneously. It was no good, for example, ordering a new sofa that couldn’t be delivered for months. Everything had to be available at short notice.”
Having collaborated with the owner on previous yacht projects, Dini had some idea of his tastes. But
CloCkwise from faCing page: Harmony’s raised aftdeck loungers increase the headroom below; The original lazarette was transformed into a fully appointed spa and beach club.