Trip to Pendennis Boat Yard

On Friday 31st January, members of Year 1 SPD were fortunate enough to visit the renowned Pendennis Shipyard. They were met by Tristan Rowe, Yacht Support Manager at the Shipyard who gave an inspiring summary of the work the yard has undertaken over the years. The company, with over 25 years of experience boasts a global customer base and has made the headlines countless times, most recently after the successful sea trials of M5, a 75.2m sailing super-yacht that has recently undergone extensive refit and remodelling at the the shipyard.

It was especially fascinating for students who had limited boating knowledge to catch a glimpse at the wide possibilities and applications of the work designers can undertake and stirred important debate for how we as designers could apply our knowledge of sustainability to an industry where many environmental issues are yet to be confronted.


Once everyone had dried off it was outside and over to the workshops where students saw the impressive machinery and craftsmanship that goes into making the beautiful vessels that are seen bobbing about in the harbour every day. One impressive feature was a life-sized section mock-up of the hull and its interior, giving the craftsmen the means to check their work, (ensuring quality and accuracy) as well as providing clients with a means to clearly visualise and interact within the space, to ensure 100% satisfaction before passing the plans over for final construction.

Passing through the spray rooms and into the dry-docks it was impossible to ignore an impressive super-yacht of stunning show-room quality which was in fact the refit of a seven-year-old yacht, a true display of the high quality and attention to detail expected on every vessel in the shipyard.

Outside of the dry docks we were shown the brand new facilities which are still undergoing at the shipyard which include three new main sheds, crew offices, workshops and an extensive adjustable-depth wet basin, enabling the yard to take on projects of up to 100m. Everyone was impressed by the sheer scale the company works at, evident just by standing alongside lifting crane tyres, however, it became even more evident when taken inside. The new ‘sheds’, a modest name for the enormous hangers which include three stories featuring: offices, workshops, stores and a vast spray chamber designed to accommodate some of the world’s tallest mast; not to mention the massive floor space which is currently home to two beautiful sailing yachts, one of whose story of victory we had heard that morning during the presentation.

The tour finished beneath the main offices adjacent to the crew facilities that include a gym, offices and living facilities with a kitchen and washrooms which enable crews to stay long-term and oversee any ongoing work that may occur on the vessels.

It was fascinating to see how a company of such scale can produce work of absolute quality down to the smallest degree of detail, and get a glimpse at an industry that we rarely get to see so close up in the UK. We all left feeling blown away by the company and were grateful for the opportunity to visit, yet our sustainable minds meant we left wracking our brains over how we as designers could contribute to the industry!

Charles Cattel-Killick

SPD – Year 1


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