Yacht Registry Creates Solutions for an Innovative Industry

31 August 2022

From integrating a 101-year-old yacht into a modern registry or assisting with the planning and development stages of innovative yacht designs, no day is the same for the International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates’ (IRI’s) Yacht Team.

“This is an exciting time in yachting,” said Patrick Bachofner, Director, Geneva Office and Worldwide Director, Yachts for IRI. “There’s a lot of demand for innovation, creativity, and environmental stewardship in the market. From large motorships to hybrid vessels, racing boats, research vessels, and conversion for offshore service vessels; there is a lot of movement in the industry,” he continued.

Perhaps the most fascinating yacht in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry is not the most innovative or future-forward design, rather a historic and iconic yacht, the passenger yacht SS DELPHINE.

As the RMI Registry’s oldest yacht at 101-years-young, the SS DELPHINE was launched in the Great Lakes of the United States (US) in 1921. Within that decade, she burned, sank, and was raised and rebuilt. In 1942 she was requisitioned by the US Navy and commissioned as the USS DAUNTLESS during World War II, serving as the flagship of Admiral Ernest King, then commander of the US Navy. After the war, she hosted a pre-Yalta Conference meeting where sitting US President Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, discussed the organization of Europe post WWII. Returned to her previous owners, she was used for many years as a private yacht before being donated and later sold. In 1998, she was laid up for restoration and retired from service from 2009 to 2015 when an extensive restoration began to bring her back to her roots.

“The SS DELPHINE is a jewel of the yachting industry and a homage to our sailing past,” said Marc Verburg, IRI’s Director, Yacht Operations based in Roosendaal. “We were honored that the owner came to us to register this historic passenger yacht. True to her roots, the DELPHINE continues to run on steam engines, which is rather unique today. In fact, steam engines preceded today’s manning requirements, so we had to develop requirements,” he continued.

Since at the time of the anticipated registration there were no manning requirements for steamships in place, the Registry’s Yacht Team pulled together a diverse multi-department team of experts to create the Registry’s first manning qualifications for steam power for passenger yachts.

“Some may criticize us for creating custom requirements for one yacht, but that’s really the heart of our Registry; doing what needs to be done and having the resources to find a solution,” said Marc. “We have a passion for what we do, and a passion for finding a way to make things happen.”

Marc noted that the accumulated experience and knowledge among the Yacht Team allows them to provide administrative and technical support to a large variety of yachts such as the SS DELPHINE and the ultra-modern ARTEFACT .

“It is not possible for one expert to fully understand all aspects of the yachting world,” said Patrick. “The needs of a small yacht vary from super yachts up through to giga yachts and therefore, the skillset and experience are different, and the regulations that govern theses various sizes are different,” he observed. “We are fortunate to have the depth of experience on our team to work with our owners/operators to find solutions that make sense and work.”

With 17 dedicated team members spread between Fort Lauderdale, Geneva, Istanbul, London, New York, and Roosendaal, offices as well as support from other departments within the Registry, the Yacht Team combines passion for the industry with experts in all aspects of the business.

“We have specialists in all aspects of the Registry to address registration, technical, compliance, and even members of our team dedicated to the owner/charterer’s needs and, we’re deeply immersed in the yachting culture and industry, which makes us approachable and accessible,” said Marc.

Ionna Hernandez, IRI’s Business Development Manager, Yachts based out of the Ft. Lauderdale office, echoed this sentiment. “Our expertise allows us the room to be innovative and flexible. We enjoy the challenges brought to us by owners and we can look at them creatively, thinking outside the box to find solutions to make it work.”

That service has attracted modern, innovative yachts as well, such as the ARTEFACT and yachts being used for private research. One of the most recent and pioneering trends is to convert offshore supply vessels into support yachts. In many of these cases, the industry has innovated beyond the regulatory requirements.

“We rely heavily on our collaborations with Classification Societies when it comes to looking at new designs, technology, and sustainability components on board; many innovative owners come to us because they know we are open to discussions and collaborations,” noted Marc.

“We’re excited to see how the industry continues to innovate and evolve,” said Patrick. “Our job as a flag State is to find solutions that make sense and maintain safety as the industry pushes the boundaries of what is possible,” he concluded.