In June 2016, Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth was given the ambitious task of completely refitting the Aquila superyacht. With the aid of more than 1,000 dedicated workers, the project took 12 months to complete.

About Aquila

Previously known as Cakewalk, Aquila was built in 2010 by Derecktor Shipyards in the USA. The 85.6m yacht was the biggest build in the USA since the 1930s, and is considered one of the top 200 largest yachts in the world. It can accommodate up to 12 guests.

In 2011, the yacht was put up for sale for $150 million. Ann Walton Kroenke and her husband Stan Kroenke purchased the yacht and renamed it Aquila. Ann is an heiress to the Walmart fortune and Stan is a successful entrepreneur. Aquila is available to charter through Burgess.


When Aquila was due her five-year service, Pendennis Shipyard in Cornwall was chosen for the task. With Cornwall having a strong shipbuilding heritage and with it being a central location for the thousand-strong team of staff from across the world to work on the rebuild, Pendennis seemed the obvious choice.

Having delivered 30 bespoke superyachts and over 250 refits during a 29-year period, Pendennis also has an unrivalled reputation for creating and refitting yachts.

The refit

This wasn't any ordinary service or refit. In fact, the job became the biggest refit challenge Pendennis had ever undertaken, and Aquila was the largest yacht to have ever been refurbished in the UK. All five deck levels were completely transformed, with 750sqm of interiors gutted right back to the bulkheads.

Redman Whitely Dixon (RWD) and Susan Young Interiors were charged with improving the flow of space on the yacht, whilst German superyacht experts Metrica revitalised Aquila's decor to include more modern tastes. Allowing subtle style variations to interplay with each other, dark wood interiors and pale leather panels with nickel trims were chosen.

Four project managers were also recruited to work on specific aspects of the operation, including co-ordinating communication between the hundreds of workers. With just a year to complete the refit, Pendennis had to execute every task with military precision.

A lot of work was carried out to completely reconfigure the sundeck. A new 60sqm private deck was added and the spa pool was relocated to the forward sun deck. A pantry was transformed into a massage and spa room. On the deck below, new furniture was incorporated to enhance the appearance, and a circular fit pit was created to form a focal point. The owner's suite was also totally reconfigured during the refit.

One of the standout features of the new refit included the addition of an 11.2m glass chandelier that extends through four decks.

Aquila also received a technical overhaul which included new generators, radar equipment, air conditioning, fresh air handling systems and updated AV and IT systems.

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