MasterCraft owner buys Hydra-Sports

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MCBC Hydra Boats, which purchased Hydra-Sports from Genmar for $1 million, is a subsidiary of the same company that owns MasterCraft Boat Co., CEO John Dorton confirmed to Soundings Trade Only.

Both brands are now owned by Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minneapolis-based investment firm.

“We started out with a real interest in Hydra-Sports from the beginning. It wasn’t because it was a carve-out from the other packages. It’s not the first time we’ve considered buying Hydra-Sports, in fact we put a bid in back when it was in the OMC bankruptcy auction as well,” said Dorton, who will also serve as CEO of Hydra-Sports.

Hydra-Sports began manufacturing fiberglass fishing boats just outside of Nashville, Tenn., in 1973 and was acquired by Genmar in 2001.

“We just think it’s a nice fit. It’s a very high-end product,” he added. “It doesn’t compete with our core line of MasterCraft. We have capacity in Vonore (Tenn.) at our plant.”

A court hearing is set for Wednesday to confirm the sale of all of Genmar’s assets. Sales would become final Jan. 20.

Dorton said the plan is to move Hydra-Sports’ tooling and molds to its plant and begin production in late spring for the 2011 model year. The company had been producing boats on a “limited basis,” Dorton said.

They are in the process of talking with the brand’s current “healthy, viable dealers,” Dorton said. Hydra-Sports has a network of about 40 dealers.

“We’re going to be very conscientious owners and work with the current Hydra-Sports dealer network and customer base to help them through any issues in the field currently and get into what hopefully will be a long-lasting relationship owning that brand for many years to come,” Dorton said.

“We’ll work with them to help clear up warranty issues,” he added. “As you can imagine, we didn’t profit any from the boats that were sold that are under the warranty population, so it will be partial participation, not full participation and we’re going to try to work with dealers to help create an environment where we can use future sales to help fund some of their past receivables.”

The new owners are not legally responsible for money owed to vendors, dealers or customers by the previous owners.

“We believe the vendors will have to work directly with Genmar on those claims,” Dorton said. “We do intend to go back to the vendors that had been working with Hydra-Sports, set up new relationships and give them an opportunity to move forward with MasterCraft.”

Dorton said they plan on bringing some of Hydra-Sports’ current staff on board in the transition and the acquisition will allow the company to hire back some of its previously laid-off employees.

“While MasterCraft senior management will run the business, we will have separate design, sales, marketing and production teams,” he said. “We plan on bringing some of the Hydra-Sports staff on board with us as we move forward and the remainder of the positions will be filled with former MasterCraft employees from when we had the layoffs. We’ve rehired about half of our work force … I think it will be a happy story for MasterCraft employees.”

– Beth Rosenberg


8 comments on “MasterCraft owner buys Hydra-Sports

  1. G B James

    I stated in the marine business in the middle 70’s with Joe Reeves and Hydra Sports…Joe will be glad that it is in back in”good hands”

  2. stan

    thank you for keeping jobs in Tenne.a good purchase was just made it doesn’t conflict with mastercraft. Keep the product up  increase sells. look forward to better days

  3. Capt Brett

    Hydra Sports (and MasterCraft) are very fortunate to have John Dorton at the helm.  He has done great things for MasterCraft and I’m sure he will do well with both companies under his command. 

  4. Past dealer

    Don’t get your hopes to high, Mastercraft is not the company it once was. there is no loyalty there any more It’s what can you do for me now they only look out for #1 

  5. phonfish

    I purchased an 06 new 2500vx in 07.The biggest reason I bought this boat was the warrantys
    Boat has an extended “bumper to bumper” for seven years. Yamahas have extended warranty for six years.
    I think the yam warranty is ok, but i’m screwed on the boat.

  6. brad

    I currently work at hydra sports and i would not recommend them to any one there poorly built and the quality is cheap.they dont worry about buildind a quality boat any more the just tell us to get them out the door…

  7. M. S. Joy

    Sad to hear negatives about what was such a fine boat manufacturer. My 1998 200cc Vector is a work of art. The workmanship, quality materials and design are unrivaled in not only its vintage, but of most more recent comparable crafts sold throughout the industry.

    The accessories, pumps, stainless hardware, Kevlar support, and ocean-going stern design and overall styling make this now-extinct model a blast to own and use.

    Although the 200 HP Evinrude Ocean Pro is now frowned upon by the new wave 4 strokers, she still holds her own – topping out @44 MPH fully loaded. Yes – an E-tec would be great, but until then I am fully satisfied. A true fishing machine!

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