Palma has long attracted the Mediterranean’s maritime elite. The Romans left gold coins. The Crown of Aragon left a skyline of castles and cathedrals. While the Catalan Atlas, produced by Palma native Cresques Abraham in the 14th century, depicted every glamorous port of call from Bodrum to Cadiz. In 2019 it made sense for Hill Robinson to open an office in a city with sailing in the blood.
In a location as prestigious as Palma we needed personalities to match. As from our Marina Port de Mallorca bureau John Bardon will attest, who brings 50 years of experience to an office of six.
When we say ‘experience’ we mean just that. Bardon captained both MV Savarona, the Turkish presidential vessel that once ranked as the largest yacht in the world, and SY Creole, the largest – and arguably most beautiful – wooden sailing yacht ever built. What he doesn’t know about yachting could be written on the back of an MYBA contract.
Although Hill Robinson’s metiers include aviation and operational management, Mallorca has provided specialist crews for 2,000 years. Yacht owners still sail in to find expert personnel, from audiovisual technicians to naval designers. In short, Palma maintains the highest standards of shipyard construction – with the staff to match.
Key to our Palma success has been our project managers. The art of progressing a plan from investigation to inception – with cost control and timescale management – is a Hill Robinson forte. The occupation of project manager has become so
important that the role was recognised by a Royal Charter in 2017.
Curiously, project management was once a hard sell to yacht owners. We work alongside shipyards to act in the best interests of each client. To improve communication between owners, shipyards and all stakeholders. Ensuring the complexities of yacht construction is as easily as sailing from Monaco to Mallorca.
Both assumptions are wide of the mark. In our 20 years of business we’ve witnessed miscommunication between owners and yards involving language or local laws. We have also noted that captains are generally better at managing crews, rather than the technical intricacies of a high-tech new build or refit. Without an owner’s representative checking every stage of the process, projects can swiftly go awry.
Now owners employ project managers to deliver new builds and refit projects on time and on budget. They don’t come any more professional than at Hill Robinson. The company has delivered some of the industry’s most high profile construction projects from 30m to 120m, all managed entirely from an owner’s perspective. For refits, our project managers are so thorough that our pre- and post-work evaluations are accepted by banks and insurance firms.
As our Palma bureau will attest, experience is everything. Hill Robinson’s technical team comprises former master mariners, naval architects and maritime surveyors. This allows swift assessments of maintenance record surveys, refit warranties and projected expenditures.
Budgetary oversight is of equal importance. Our project managers know how to tender a construction plan on an owner’s behalf. In some cases, when refits have been negotiated by Hill Robinson, overall savings have run into the millions.
Procurement is another company asset. Our purchasing team consistently benchmark prices for every marine essential, from galley supplies to engine parts. All are purchased in bulk with savings passed directly to each yacht. For good reason is Hill Robinson the industry’s largest independent yacht management company, as well as a new construction and refit go-to.
Palma has become a centre for our project management work. The technical innovation offered by experienced yards like STP is second-to-none. Our locally-based staff, maintain an intimate knowledge of every construction facility on the island. For navigation installation, 3-D modelling or rigging maintenance it’s possible to source the right specialist, right here.
There’s a final key to project management. That’s to make it look easy. Hill Robinson project managers appear unruffled because they can call on 150 specialist staff across 12 global offices. This wider crew consists of chartered accountants and risk managers, with all knowledge distilled into a single point of contact. That’s what it takes to join the Palma elite.
Hill Robinson Espana