By David Robinson

In a move that consolidates its long-term future, the UK’s Solent Refit signed a 20-year lease on its site at Hythe in Southampton. The lease was signed with the Home & Communities Agency (HCA), the owner of the site which also includes Green Marine and a group of other yacht and marine sector service companies.

“This was the culmination of many months negotiation and it is great news for the long-term future of the Solent Refit facility,” Allan Foot, Solent’s managing director, commented. “The new lease gives us stability for the future” he told SB. “We have now been able to take on our core staff of 25 which previously were only able to work for use on a contract basis. Foot also explained that the company has also built modern engineering and woodworking shops.”

“Part of the lease deal is that we are doing our own dredging to regain a depth of 5m (16ft) by later this year,” Foot explained to SB. “We will be replacing the pontoons we have so that we will have 14 deepwater berths for yachts up to around 60m (209ft) and we could take a 100m (328ft) on the outer pontoon. The HCA is also selling the site and we are hoping to do a deal with Green Marine to buy it.”

Solent Refit has had a busy time and is currently talking with a number of people about future work. The company has now worked on over 60 contracts and recent and current work includes refits on the 50m (164ft) Montiqne and the 58m (190ft) Lady K.

“We see a very bright future,” Foot told SB. “We have had a lot of yacht work plus we can now do commercial work such as wind turbine vessels and light tugs. We are finding more and more vessels realising it’s worth the passage up from the Med and elsewhere for any serious refit in terms of both quality and cost.”

Solent’s facilities comprise a 1,500-tonne slipway with linked transfer system and some 10,000sq m of covered space.