FROM HIGH-TECH YACHT NEW BUILDER TO WORLD LEADING REFIT SHIPYARD

With humble refit origins on a 30m sailing yacht the journey over nearly 20 years has been a constant evolution of how to best marry the unmovable standards of technical excellence with the ultimate flexibility required to ensure the most successful refits.

Today, Compositeworks is one of the most trusted refit shipyards in the world, and is proud that many of the world’s largest or most prestigious vessels can be counted on as repeat clients.

Our Journey So Far

1970's

Although Compositeworks was not officially created until the late 1990s, the story of our company really began when we were very young and we discovered our love for sailing and the sea!

Many of us have worked on ships or yachts, some as captains, others as chief engineers or supporting crew. Whatever our team members’ origins may be we all have one thing in common; passion for our work.

1990's

In 1990, CW co-founders Ben Mennem and Mark Salman started a company called Custom Tenders where, over a period of six years, they built around 80 tenders for some of the most iconic superyachts of the day. They eventually sold the company to focus on other projects such as the build of the 28m sailing yacht Stealth with Green Marine and designed by German Frers. The landmark nature of this project through its triumphant marriage of stunning elegance, speed and technical excellence led to their involvement in further ground-breaking sailing yacht builds such as the iconic Tiketitan for Wally Yachts in 1997.

1998

In 1997 Ben Mennem and Mark Salman were contracted to build an ultra high tech sailing yacht tender for a well-known mega yacht owner. Having previously housed their yacht build activity in existing yacht builders’ shipyards and with strong client interest they decided the time was right to look for their own yard.

After visiting numerous sites in Italy and France, they came across a newly vacated, purpose built, composite construction hall that had been set up for a series of round-the-world racing yachts. These ideal facilities were located within the disused shipyard in the small historic shipbuilding town of La Ciotat. Compositeworks had officially begun!

2000's

With a vast network of local talent due to the shipbuilding heritage of La Ciotat, the adjacent cities of Marseille or Toulon and a superyacht market in desperate need of a central Mediterranean location for their refits, it soon became apparent that Compositeworks’ vocation was to become a superyacht refit facility.

Over the following decade, Compositeworks gradually built an excellent reputation for bringing new-build quality to their refits and begun to attract much larger yachts. Some of the world’s leading designers and builders including Feadship de Vries and Oceanco, begun to work with the shipyard. Slowly the focus on new build construction changed into 100% refit, with the last composite yacht build completed in 2010.

2010's

By 2010, Compositeworks had evolved into one of the most trusted yacht refit shipyards in the world with many of the largest or most beautiful yachts returning as repeat clients. Testament to the quality of workmanship to be found at the shipyard, Compositeworks has won several international superyacht awards for rebuilds with Faith in 2013, Enigma XK in 2014, Kanaloa and Falcon Lair in 2016. Faith has seen been listed in the top 10 refits of all time.

2016

Over the past couple of years, the company has invested heavily in its team, with total number of staff climbing from 80 in 2013 to 120 at the end of 2016 and turnover growing at over 10% annually on a 5 year basis.

At the beginning of the year, the shipyard opened an office dedicated to technical excellence to ensure easier and more flexible access for clients to engineering and design specialists.

2016 was also a major turning point for the shipyard. Faced with a lack of space and having to turn clients away, the company created partnerships with other sizeable facilities capable of catering for 100 metre plus yachts, in the Mediterranean and began the acquisition of a large dry dock facility on the Atlantic Coast of France in the beautiful port of La Rochelle.

2018 & Beyond

We are very proud of the positive impact our shipyard has had on the local economy in la Ciotat and we are excited about growing our company in La Rochelle, where we have ambitious plans for building a huge 190-metre shed that will be delivered in 2018.

We started with just four people almost 20 years ago, and over the next year we will be close to 150. Our long-term ambition is to continue to grow our company at a strong but sustainable rate while providing market leading technical excellence and unsurpassed client experiences.

What's Important To Us?

Safety & Environment

We understand that security for our clients’ yachts and the safety of its crew and our teams is an essential element to the sustainability of our company. All personnel working during a refit, whether it be crew, our teams or specialist subcontractors are expected to follow our strict HSE guidelines.

And because our love of the ocean is what drew us to the yachting world in the first place, we work hard to limit our impact on the environment from the products we select, the way we use them and the manner in which they are disposed of. As such, Compositeworks has obtained ISO 14001 certification after all we are in the enviable position of looking over a national park island surrounded by crystal clear waters and a plethora of sea life from our office window.

Community

Doing our part for the community

When Compositeworks began its activity in the 1990s, the people of La Ciotat, a town of 30,000 habitants were still reeling from the closure of the historic shipyard which had 10,000 direct employees at that time. We are extremely proud to have played our small part in helping to rebuild the local economic framework through the creation of more than 350 direct and indirect jobs.

Over the years, Compositeworks has been involved in a number of charitable projects whether it be sponsorship of the local kids football team, fundraising for cancer across various cycling events (Cogs for Cancer, Mont-Ventoux Challenge) or through simple donations.

Improving Our Service

There is always room for improvement

In the way we work, in the technology that we employ, in the impact we have on the environment, there is always potential for positive change.

Compositeworks has always had one target; to evolve every year providing better solutions to its clients. We aim to use and bring the most up-to-date technology into our projects. Last year, we invested in powerful 3D scanning equipment, which was followed by virtual experiences for our clients this year and we will continue to try to push the boundaries of industry developments.

Our Values

Creativity

We supply innovative and flexible solutions to our clients.

Communication

We are a multi-cultural team (18 nationalities!) who listen to our clients and understand what they would like to achieve.

Accountability

We stake our personal and professional reputations on the excellence of our work.

Expertise

We provide our clients with a highly technical approach to refits with tailor-made solutions where each member is a specialist in his or her field.

Reliability

We believe in honouring our commitments, to our clients and to each other.

Teamwork

We value working together and acknowledge each other as an essential part of achieving common goals.

READY FOR YOUR NEXT PROJECT?