by Kim Kavin
What happens every day at shipyards around the world is regularly called refit. What’s happening right now to the 164-foot Delta Newvida at the Rybovich yard in Florida is more accurately called a total, no-holds-barred, you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it rebuild.
“If you’ve been on the boat before, you will not recognize the boat,” says owner’s representative Joseph Leone, talking about an extension and interior renovation that will transform the megayacht into a 185-footer called My Seanna. “We want to make this boat an amazing charter boat.”
Original plans called for the project to be done by April 2014, in time for the summer Mediterranean charter season. The addition of a few more details such as a substantial interior bar area has now stretched that timeline into May, and Leone says the yacht will instead charter during her debut summer season in New England or the Bahamas.
“The boat is about 70 percent finished,” he said, shortly before press time. “The extension to all of the decks is done, but we have to finish fairing, painting, put in the new Jacuzzi, things like plumbing, electrical—it is a complete rebuild on the inside and the outside.”
The owner, Leone said, has had Newvida for about seven years. He wanted a larger yacht, but he was happy with the quality of his existing boat, and building a new 185-footer at a yard like Amels or Feadship these days would’ve easily run him $70 million to $80 million. That’s why the owner undertook the extension and rebuild of Newvida, which will be an entirely new boat rechristened as My Seanna for the owner’s daughter. (Not to be confused with the 213-foot Benetti Seanna, which has a different owner and is also on the charter market.)
“He loved his boat, and this Delta is a one of a kind,” Leone said. “She was Gallant Lady built for Jim Moran. Everybody who knows yachts knows that he knew what he was talking about. Delta went overboard building this boat, and the owner wanted to keep it because it’s a very good boat.”
As My Seanna, the yacht will include a new bridge-deck VIP stateroom, giving her the capacity to take 12 charter guests instead of the previous 10. The interior is being redone with extensive use of 24-carat gold leaf and Italian marble, while exterior renovations will include the new sundeck hot tub along with an outdoor movie theater projection screen.
The owners plan to make My Seanna one of the most luxurious options for charter in emerging markets, instead of keeping her in destinations where there already is a great deal of charter competition. Northrop and Johnson will handle charter management for My Seanna. The weekly base rate is expected to be around $400,000 after introductory rates are finalized, Leone said.
“We may do one season in the Med and Caribbean, but then we are going to send the boat to places like Tahiti, Thailand, and New Zealand, to open the new markets,” Leone said. “Everybody knows St. Tropez and Sardinia. We need to bring something different to the charter client.”