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Vessel construction began in 2006, and in the summer of
2009, a year before the expected delivery date, Derecktor
Shipyards did some key restructuring to their project man-
agement and engineering team. A major step forward was
hiring Vripack Yachting to support their mechanical engi-
neering efforts, who in turn partnered with P&W (Persak &
Wurmfeld) to provide local support.
Within a few months, P&W was elevated to the position of
Project Engineer, and they quickly designed and imple-
mented a management system for both the shipyard’s in-
house engineering team as well as for the myriad of interna-
tional engineering sub-contractors. The remaining engineer-
ing effort quickly took shape, and the boat was successfully
delivered on time for the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in late
October 2010.
Many thanks are due to the extensive engineering team of
men and women who worked tirelessly to complete the ef-
fort. This in no small way includes the vessel’s crew who
were instrumental in closing down the ever difficult last 10%
of the effort. Working with so many talented individuals
yielded many nuggets of wisdom, and the following are a
few to share with the marine-design community.
1. A Naval architect as Project Engineer?
In our previous experience with large yacht build projects,
the project engineer often came from the building side, and
had traits of a project manager. For that reason we were
hesitant to take on the duty when we were first asked to
take on the role of project engineer due to our primary
strengths as naval architects.
That said, time and time again it was proven that the bes
equipped person to do the job was someone who could
speak for the vessel as a whole, and no single decision w
made without first considering stability, structural integri
performance, or functionality. A naval architect with a ba
ground similar to the curriculum of the Westlawn progra
proved to be ideal.
It should be noted that the project did see several project
engineers with varied specialized backgrounds such as
chanical systems or structures, and eventually they were
overrun by not having a firm understanding of vessel desi
in its entirety. These were not unskilled people, but ulti-
mately, the project engineer needed be able to speak on
behalf of the vessel, and vessel design.
2. Simple Tools for a Complex Task
The volume of engineering required to build a yacht like
CAKEWALK is colossal, and one would immediately assu
that the system required to organize the effort would be
equal in magnitude and complexity. We found the invers
be true, and implemented a very simple system similar t
what may be found in small-yacht custom projects. The s
tem involved three major pieces:
1) A chain of command. Much effort was put into dr
ing an organizational chart that divided the engin
ing effort into disciplines, and laid out a very clear
chain of responsibilities and flow of communicati
2) A weekly Engineering meeting with a common ta
list. The heads of each of the disciplines met once
week to update each other on the status of their
work, and to go over the single task list. The latter
Project organizational chart created by Persak & Wurmfeld