Solving M/Y Ilona's pre-installation testing predicament

How can you perform pre-installation testing on a yacht mast installed in 2003? M/Y Ilona faced this challenge after a new yacht code was set in motion by the Red Ensign Group (REG). Fortunately, Solico Engineering provided an alternative solution so that M/Y Ilona would not have to perform expensive, time-consuming and unnecessary tests. Now M/Y Ilona has a completely certified composite mast. Solico’s experience in composites and FE-calculations helped make this project a success!

Why was the pre-installation testing a challenge for M/Y Ilona?

The REG Yacht code changes became a hot topic for yachts after they came into effect on 1 January 2019. In his article “REG Yacht Code – How It Will Affect Existing Vessels?”, Director of Döhle Yachts Jo Assael states that the new code introduced in November 2017 “will replace the REG’s existing codes (the Large Yacht Code (LY3) & the Passenger Yacht Code.”

Existing vessels, yachts built before the code change, now have to pass pre-installation requirements for over-side working systems. This meant that M/Y Ilona had to have over-side working systems compliant with pre-installation standards that were not in place when she was first commissioned. 

M/Y Ilona faced the task of certifying a harness point on their main radar mast. Pre-installation testing would be necessary to prove that the fall arrest system met current safety standards. The fall arrest system helps to ensure the safety of those working over the side of the yacht. Under the recommendations of REG Yacht Code, many existing vessels may have had to spend a significant amount of time and money to create a large scale mock-up of their existing mast for static and dynamic load testing. M/Y Ilona’s main radar mast is made of composites, which falls directly into Solico’s area of expertise.

M/Y Ilona’s journey to getting certified

M/Y Ilona had been actively trying to get their masts certified and maintenance ready since 2016. “We haven’t carried out normal operations on these masts because they weren’t load tested or certified. In good conscience, we couldn’t send anyone up there to do simple things like washing the masts. We aren’t going to send someone up there if it isn’t safe,” said M/Y Ilona Captain Derek Barker. Before Solico helped with a pre-installation testing solution, a cherry picker or crane would have been necessary if the M/Y Ilona required maintenance or cleaning. 

Captain Derek Barker, who started on the M/Y Ilona when she was built, is well aware of the challenges involved in bringing a vessel from 2003 into the modern era of safety standards. “There needs to be a pathway for older ships to reach the proper criteria. All vessels that weren’t built to codes that are now applicable can be extremely hard to certify, especially if there is no grandfathering in.” Solico’s solution helped M/Y Ilona to meet the requirements for certification of their mast. 

Client Review: How was your experience working with Solico? 

“It’s been a pleasure. It’s been a very easy project. Solico was very quick to respond to queries. Solico has created strong relationships with the relevant surveyors and class in Holland, and they can prove to class and flag that they know what they are talking about,” said Captain Derek Barker. 

“I was running into a brick wall for so long; it was really an enjoyable experience working with Solico, Coen and Matthijs were friendly, accommodating and had solutions ready. That’s exactly what we needed; we needed a solution.”

Although M/Y Ilona still requires post-installation testing and five-yearly testing, Solico’s experience with composite masts helped speed up the pre-installation testing timetable. So now it is once again smooth sailing for M/Y Ilona. 


Do you have a similar challenge?  Please don't hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation consult. Give us a call +31 162 46 22 80 or complete the contact form and Coen Meerbach will contact you a.s.a.p.