Over the past three years, IGY Sète Marina has been steadily building a glowing reputation among captains for its superlative in-water maintenance programme.
Coupled with an innovative approach to lowering costs, this purpose-built superyacht marina’s bespoke soft repair service is proving to be a draw and word is spreading.
As they enter the peak season, with bookings up on last year, Sète Marina General Manager Jerome Cuaz is optimistic about the months ahead.
“It’s been a great pleasure to be involved in the build of a purpose built superyacht facility and Sète is fast developing as a yachting destination; being born in Sète I always knew it had the potential,” says Jerome. “We are seeing more cruise activity every year, which is a positive sign, and the fact that this IGY facility can accommodate the largest of superyachts is very appealing.”
A tailored service for every yacht
With a background in yacht services - Jerome joined IGY having spent 18 years as a supplier for yachts and ports worldwide - he is dedicated to finding convenient, cost-effective solutions for yachts of all sizes.
“My target is to apply the same customised solution here in water that a shipyard does,” he explains. “We’re not a large marina so we can offer a concierge service tailored to each individual yacht. Our staff are service minded and we have received great feedback - we always do our best to fulfil every demand!” he adds.
“Fall is our busiest maintenance period and in October, we have a yacht returning with a list of maintenance tasks to be done, and other boats are doing the same. It’s always great to see customers returning to Sète, this is the best reward.”
Expanding maintenance options with local contractors
With the majority of boats booking in for maintenance at the end of the summer season, Jerome and his team are working to increase the range of services available while placing the boat on temporary admission. “That alone represents a significant saving of 20 per cent VAT but we’re aiming to set the bar even higher,” explains Jerome.
“Contractors work for us on demand and the yacht can choose to bring their own contractors in for certain tasks. The door is open for everyone, and we make sure our contractors follow the guidelines and are here when we schedule the job with the captain.”
With an impressive 600 linear metres of alongside berths, yachts can also have their own crane, storage container and car parked adjacent. Customs and immigration facilities are on the doorstep and the marina is a completely private and secure facility, accessible only by approved contractors, owners, crew and marina personnel.
“For boats coming in from a busy charter season, it’s important they feel at home and are able to conduct everything in a secure environment,” adds Jerome.
Reducing operating costs and facilitating time off
With the focus on providing innovative solutions to reduce operating costs, chief among Sète’s methods for achieving this is the use of catering and crew service facilities onsite and nearby.
“Last year, we started providing catering services for boats who spent several weeks or months at the marina and the crew really enjoyed the delicious local cuisine here,” enthuses Jerome. “For yachts employing mainly seasonal crew it can represent significant cost savings, and for those with permanent crew it allows the chefs to enjoy time off.
“We are applying the same concept to the deck, engine and interior departments by engaging local contractors and day workers, and our team on the ground can also fulfil scheduled routine maintenance tasks as required. It can also be a great interim solution for owners and brokers with boats for sale.
Located just a 25 minute drive from Montpellier Airport, which has daily direct flights to Amsterdam and Paris, IGY Sète Marina boasts easy access for contractors and crew, and having customs and immigration next to the marina makes it a great spot for changeovers and checking into France/EU.
Resetting the model for services and costs
With all that this state-of-the-art facility has to offer, a raft of further onsite activities is fast emerging. “Earlier this year, one yacht conducted a series of safety exercises in the marina, including ‘man overboard’ and ‘abandon ship’ drills - the captain was thrilled to be able to practice with their own equipment,” Jerome explains.
The marina is keen to facilitate opportunities for yacht brokers too. With IGY’s parent company MarineMax also owning Fraser Yachts and Northrop & Johnson, Sète Marina is an ideal venue to host yacht viewings. “We are targeting our broker partners to bring boats for sale and take advantage of our secure facility to showcase options to the buyer,” adds Jerome.
“Providing tailor-made, high-level service for each and every boat is what IGY strives to do, and it’s what makes us different from other marina operators. The enthusiasm among owners and captains is palpable, and there’s a lot more still to come.”