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While that work was being done on mainland Europe, Foot was at the shipyard in Palma overseeing the structural changes—with a few pleasant surprises.
"The transom extension was going to hugely modernize the boat by drawing the lines aft, and the actual usability of the boat for charter would be hugely increased," Foot says of the nearly eight-foot-long addition to the steel hull, which now includes an elegant, integrated swim platform. "What we did, it's made the boat hugely visually better. But also the propellers on that boat are fairly well aft. I noticed that when we were delivering the boat, we had almost a roostertail, a big mound of water. That's wasted energy. The new stern deflects that water, channels the wash to the back, and helps push the boat along. Now there is a considerable fuel savings."
More good news awaited inside the hull, where the shipyard's crew were basically rebuilding the master suite and crew's quarters from scratch—and getting a firsthand look at that structural pedigree on which YPI had sold the owner.
"The crew accommodations were actually diabolical," Foot says. "They were like little rat holes. It was really disgraceful. Nowadays there's a lack of good crew for these boats, so you have to take care of the good ones if you want to keep them. Because we extended the owner's cabin forward to give him a decent cabin, we had to do away with [two crew] cabins. So we gutted the crew accommodations back to bare steel, and that exposed the tank tops, and they were in really good shape. So we reinsulated everything—that was a big issue with the crew going right below the owner's suite—and started the crew quarters over again. They actually ended up with more space than they had before, most of them en suite."
Meanwhile, on the top deck, the shipyard's workers removed two huge satellite domes that Foot says "looked like big ears from the front." The new communications system is much sleeker, not to mention much improved for charter advertisements. "There's WiFi throughhout the boat, flat-screen TVs absolutely everywhere, every cabin has individual satellite, a very good sound system—all of that came with the refit," says Sarah Piggin, who manages Mary-Jean for charter from YPI's offices in France.
One thing the refit team did not change was the main-deck's amidships layout, which includes two en suite cabins to starboard where other yachts might have a grand entrance foyer. Those cabins, in addition to the master forward and the four guest cabins below, give Mary-Jean seven guest cabins, one more than the typical six-cabin layout for the legal charter limit of 12 guests.
"It's good because it means that if you have a single person using a cabin, you have the extra berth," Piggin says. "You don't have to put two people together who might not necessarily want to be together. People can spread out."
This article originally appeared in the August 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.