The annual questions about “What needs to be done on the boat?” and “Where can I have the work done?”, certainly drive the one or the other boat owner the worry lines on the forehead. The old skipper’s adage that a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw banknotes cannot be dismissed out of hand; after all, the maintenance costs of a boat are estimated at up to 10 percent of the purchase price – and that annually. And: The home marina is not always the best when it comes to service, maintenance or even refit. For many, however, working on their own boat is also a routine that has become dear to them, and not necessarily due to looking at their wallets.
So where to take the boat for service? And: where am I actually still allowed to lend a hand myself on the North Adriatic in order to save costs?
In fact, in recent years the choice of “do-it-yourself marinas” has become smaller and smaller. Strict environmental regulations as well as internal regulations of the marinas prevent many an antifouling coating by owner hands. In Croatia, this is not possible in the vast majority of marinas. If you are looking for alternatives, a look at the marinas in the upper Adriatic in Friuli-Venezia Giulia can be very useful. Below we present some of the in-house shipyards of the marinas between Trieste and Lignano Sabbiadoro.
Marina shipyards and refit in Friuli Venezia Giulia
Unlike many Croatian marinas, for example, craft services in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia are mostly provided by salaried employees. A concept that guarantees close ties to the customer over the years and, not least, allows owners to get valuable tips and instructions for doing their own work, which is still possible there in various marinas.
A boat check is advisable if you want to start the next season without worries. Whether only the antifouling needs to be redone, the anodes need to be replaced or there is a risk of osmosis can be checked in the large marinas in Friuli, such as Cantieri Marina San Giorgio or Shipyard Marina Sant’Andrea, which also specialize in large boats. The addition of “Cantiere” or “Shipyard” for “shipyard” says that here are not only ships in a beautiful ambience with pool and restaurant at home, but that work is done on the boat.
Davide Piccinin, head of the first-named Cantieri Marina San Giorgio on the upper reaches of the Corno near San Giorgio di Nogaro, tells us in conversation that for shipyard work in his marina 16,000 square meters are available in covered halls up to 37 meters in length and 30,000 square meters outdoors for a total of about 350 boats. “Our services include all types of ordinary as well as extraordinary service and maintenance work. From interior work to engines and electrics, we can offer any work through our yard manager Giuseppe Pelizzari.” Piccinin is particularly proud of the work done on an Oyster 68, which recently had its entire deck replaced. But even complex work such as osmosis treatment over several months, including drying ashore and rebuilding the hull are done here professionally.
Those who prefer to work themselves can find the necessary materials for purchase from the shipyard boss and can book a specially built, concrete refit site with dirty water drainage for the work. In this way, the strict Italian environmental regulations for the benefit of the fragile balance in the lagoon of Marano and Grado are also respected and the Blue Flag for commitment to environmental protection continues to be awarded to the marina.
Downstream, closer to the lagoon, Shipyard & Marina Sant’Andrea specializes in both high-end sailboats and motorboats. It is not for nothing that Nautor’s Swan vessels are serviced there. Some yachts up to 30 meters in length take the long way around the Italian boot to have a complete paint job, deck and rigging work or even engine maintenance done. Work below deck can be done by anyone who wishes to do so. In the case of potentially water-damaging work such as painting, close attention is paid to ensuring that the vessels are in specially designated areas.
Chef Fortunato Moratto is also pleased to receive the international Blue Flag award again this year. “As the first marina in Italy, we have been using energy exclusively from renewable sources for years. In the marina, in addition to classic maintenance and service work, we have Renato Perin, one of the few still active wooden boat builders, who with his team manufactures noble designer boats to order or restores wooden yachts.” Anyone who visits him in his workshop always sees, in addition to a lot of wood, what the small crew is working on: sometimes the mere restoration of wooden parts, sometimes a half-finished wooden sailboat. Boat painting in large dimensions and work in carbon are also a specialty of the marina.
Next door, the family-run Marina Planais specializes in the maintenance of motorboats. A sailmaker’s shop and a yacht outfitter with custom-made tarpaulins, biminis, sprayhoods, privacy screens and cushions for the cabin and outdoors round off the range of services.
Small but mighty are the shipyard services offered by the Marina Stella Resort on the upper reaches of the Stella River, which has only 80 berths. Those who want to have their ship up to 30 meters long prepared there, for example, in a heated paint spraying facility located further up the river, usually have it brought there by ship transport over land, since the river and especially the channel to the Stella River do not have too much depth. This is a service that large motorboats appreciate, especially in winter.
Marinas specialized in Do-it-Yourself for those who want to do it themselves
A popular do-it-yourself marina in Friuli is Aprilia Marittima Dry Marina, with space for 400 boats and four travel lifts that take vessels up to 24 meters in length to their moorings. The affiliated Cantieri di Aprilia are SeaHelp bases. Owners have the shipyard manager on hand as an advisor, providing tips for minor or major GRP or engine repairs and fulfilling requests for deck work such as a new teak deck.
Nicola Toso, one of the marina’s managers, explains his concept “Our regular maintenance work focuses on hull, mast and rigging, as well as engine servicing. In addition, we work with external specialists for interior finishing, sail wardrobe, electronics and satellite systems”, he tells. And further: “Moreover, we do not only take into account the increased need for environmental protection through investments such as in probably the first electric travel lift in Italy. We also organize twice a year the used boat show Nautilia.” For interested parties, there was most recently in April the annual SeaHelp advertised action “Diesel tank cleaners on Adria tour – Tank inspection & Tank cleaning” at a special price. Nicola is particularly proud of the possibility to offer also complex restyling below deck.
In Marina Punta Gabbiani, the customer who wants to work on the boat himself is also welcome – even if he would have his boat in Croatia, for example, and only needs a place on a working visit for a few weeks. Thanks to the four travel lifts up to 80 tons, owners can prepare their boats themselves in the designated concrete shipyard area with water separator the underwater hull. The marina has about 600 berths distributed between water and dry berth areas. In the shipyard area, about 50 boats find their refit place.
Marco da Re, director of the marina, tells “There is demand for do-it-yourself work opportunities. Environmental regulations are necessarily strict, but those who use an exhaust system when sanding and follow the requirements for disposal can refit their own boat here. If you are not sure, you can get tips from our long-time yard staff and borrow the tools you need. At the same time, we have electricity, water and gray water extraction at every dry berth, so you can confidently take your time.”
And for the well-being?
Self-executed refit work is one thing above all: exhausting and rather unattractive for the accompanying family. One more reason to leave the yacht to the marinas in Friuli and meanwhile enjoy the amenities that the stay has to offer. Some of these marinas even have thermal heated pools, first class restaurants, rental bikes or cars and shuttle service, even – like the Aprilia Marittima Dry Marina – its own spa with steam bath, sauna and relaxation rooms, which can be rented exclusively.
The fact that, in addition, the long sandy beaches of Lignano Sabbiadoro and Grado, respectively, are just around the corner, puts not only the boat in a good mood, but also the crew.
More about the Friuli Venezia Giulia region