For the Record: Front Street Shipyard expands with purchase

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ftr1Front Street Shipyard, on the Belfast, Maine, waterfront, recently purchased the neighboring Belfast Boatyard.

Front Street’s acquisition of Belfast adds 500 feet of deepwater frontage, 22 slips, 20 moorings and harbor floats, increasing the yard’s service and storage capabilities.

The acquisition was “part of a strategic growth plan,” Front Street president J.B. Turner said in a statement in late July. “Our initial goal was to create a yard equipped to service most any yacht that visits northern New England. We’ve reached that goal.”

The Belfast property eventually will house Front Street’s business office and possibly crew accommodations. Front Street now has 72,555 square feet of space for storage and 10,320 square feet of shop space on a 6-acre property with 1,500 feet of waterfront. There are five storage buildings and an additional 6.5 acres of off-site storage.

Northwest builder to add workers with new contract

A Washington state boatbuilder announced in July its second large contract in two months to build boats for the U.S. military.

Safe Boats International, a 15-year-old company based in Bremerton, will increase its work force by 13 percent to meet the new demand, according to the Kitsap Sun.

Under the newest contract with the Coast Guard, Safe Boats will build as many as 100 small vessels to piggyback on much bigger Coast Guard cutters. The contract could be worth $59 million and the work will take place during the next seven years if all 100 new Coast Guard “Over the Horizon” boats are funded.

In May, Safe Boats said it would build at least five large patrol boats for the Navy, worth at least $35 million, in Tacoma. Safe Boats employs 285, but it expects that number to rise to 300 by the end of the year.

The Over the Horizon boats, 26 feet and with a 480-horsepower diesel engine, will be nimble and fast. They will hop off their perches on the Coast Guard’s fleet of national security cutters and dart into cramped and shallow waterways to get to scenes of trouble. They will be used for security, search-and-rescue missions and for interdicting drug runners, according to Safe Boats.

Ebbtide Boats sold to Chinese company

321 Capital Partners LLC said in July that it completed the sale of fiberglass sportboat builder Ebbtide Corp. to a privately held Chinese investment company.

Ebbtide, based in White Bluff, Tenn., builds fiberglass sportboats and recreational boats at a 150,000-square-foot facility.

“Selling your company that you have been operating for 44 years is bittersweet,” Ebbtide president and former owner Tommy Trabue said in a statement. “There comes a time when you need to transition yourself to a different position. Ebbtide has been my life all these years and I am proud of our record of designing and manufacturing excellent boats.”

“Finding the right person to pass our legacy on to was extremely important to me. The new owner of Ebbtide is a Chinese businessman and entrepreneur that plans to build our brand name here in the U.S. and Canada, as well as developing Ebbtide into a global brand,” Trabue said in a statement.

“He will strengthen the company financially and provide leadership and vision to build the company for the future. He offers an excellent opportunity for all of our employees to grow in his international organization, both here and China. I am pleased that I will continue working with the company as the future unfolds.”

Action Craft Boats has a new owner

Action Craft Boats, including the Coastline and Coastal Bay brands, was sold by Flatsmaster Marine to CK Prime Investments, which says production resumed earlier this summer.

CK Prime Investments president Chad Kovarik plans to keep the brand names in place.

“I am excited to have an opportunity to be the new owner and restart production of such highly regarded flats and bay boats,” Kovarik said in a statement. “We have strategically kept key production personnel in place to oversee the success of the restart. … We will offer an awesome hull design, same great quality, just under new ownership.”

Kovarik has added Don Cary as vice president of sales and marketing.

Action Craft is based in Cape Coral, Fla.

Beneteau introducing its Swift Trawler 50

Beneteau is launching a powerboat designed for liveaboards.

The boatbuilder said it will launch the all-new Swift Trawler 50 this fall in Europe and North America.

“Architect Michel Joubert and designer Pierre Frutschi created a masterpiece with the new Swift 50,” Beneteau Powerboats vice president of sales and marketing Laurent Fabre said in a statement. “The boat features a more modern silhouette and smart interior design for living onboard. By incorporating Volvo IPS pod propulsion, not only is the Swift 50 as quick and fuel-efficient as her sisters in the range, but it frees up valuable space in the midship, making the boat feel larger and more spacious than other boats in her class while providing exceptional maneuverability.”

The Swift 50 will be on display Sept. 25-30 at the Baltimore TrawlerFest, Oct. 11-14 at the Annapolis Powerboat Show and Oct. 25-29 at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

In Europe, the Swift 50 will debut Sept. 11-16 at the Festival de la Plaisance in Cannes, and be displayed Sept. 14-23 at the Southampton Boat Show, Oct. 6-14 at the 52nd International Boat Show in Genoa and Nov. 5-13 at the Barcelona International Boat Show.

Wisconsin builder adds pontoon line

Northport Marine, the Gillett, Wis., builder of MirroCraft boats, is entering the pontoon market.

The new Montego Bay line will be unveiled at the company’s September dealer meeting, according to Tim Allen, Northport’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“Montego Bay pontoons will be a great addition to our existing aluminum boat line,” Allen said in a statement. “We will be targeting the entry level, price-conscious buyer to start with and plan to grow from there.”

Nautique rolls out G-series 25-footer

Nautique has launched a larger boat featuring the G-series hull design that has captured wakeboarding enthusiasts.

The Super Air Nautique G25 is the largest Nautique, featuring room for 19 people and more storage than any boat of its kind, according to the builder. The increased size puts more hull surface in the water for “a huge surf wave that is open, long, and clean, complementing the G-series wakeboard wake that has changed the sport,” the company says.

The G25 features the all-new Nautique Configurable Running Surface, which fine-tunes the hull surface under any condition, using the technology of the Nautique LINC system.

“The Nautique team is excited to launch the all-new Super Air Nautique G25 as part of the G-series, offering our customers a 25-foot boat for those on larger bodies of water who want the best wake boat,” Nautique CEO Bill Yeargin said in a statement.

Correct Craft, which is celebrating 87 years of boatbuilding, is the producer of Nautique boats.

Rivolta Yachts debuts Vintage 43 sailboat

Rivolta Yachts unveiled its Vintage 43, a boat the builder said “recalls the golden age of sailing.”

The sailboat is the result of collaboration between Sarasota, Fla.-based Rivolta and Stephens Waring Yacht Design of Belfast, Maine.

“I wanted a boat that recalls the golden age of sailing for people who can appreciate the poetry of going to sea in style, to rediscover the beauty of their surrounding areas,” Rivolta founder and president Piero Rivolta said in a statement.

The Vintage 43 was to debut Aug. 16-19 at the Penobscot Bay Rendezvous power and sail regatta in Camden, Maine. It also will be shown Sept. 13-16 at the Newport (R.I.) International Boat Show and Oct. 4-8 at the Annapolis (Md.) Sailboat Show.

ftr2Larson marks milestone with All-American revival

Larson Boat Group is bringing back the popular All-American model to commemorate its 100th anniversary.

The Little Falls, Minn., company planned to unveil the model Larson built for four decades — from the 1950s into the 1990s — at its dealer meeting Aug. 19-22 in St. Cloud, Minn., according to Troy Brandt of Take it to Eleven, a public relations firm representing Larson.

Larson, which makes Larson, Triumph and Striper boats, also planned to hold a centennial celebration Aug. 21 for dealers and key community members who “were very instrumental in making sure Larson came back to Little Falls a couple years ago,” said Brandt.

“The factory team continues to build our future success on new products and we will unveil 11 new models for 2013 at the meeting,” Larson vice president and COO Mike O’Connell said in a statement. “The Triumph Sportsman models and Larson’s new 20-foot FX fishing models, LSR sport models and the all-new All-American will be on display.”

“To succeed in any business, survive the challenges, enjoy the successes and do it for 100 years is quite an accomplishment,” Larson president Al Kuebelbeck said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing our vision for the next 100 years with our dealers, prospective dealers, vendor partners and community leaders at what we think will be a once-in-a-lifetime dealer meeting event.”

Riviera delivers 75-footer to New Zealand buyer

Australian boatbuilder Riviera says it has wrapped, packed and shipped the first of its luxury flagship 75 Enclosed Flybridges to its new owners in New Zealand.

Bruce McGill, R Marine New Zealand dealer principal, said the owners of the new 75 previously had owned a number of Riviera flybridge boats.

“It’s a trend that we are now seeing return as Riviera owners are wanting to move up to a larger model with more accommodation and the latest technology,” McGill said in a statement. “Many of our owners want to travel further afield and stay aboard for longer periods of time. The 75 is certainly the ultimate Riviera in this regard and the largest boat built by Riviera in its 32-year history.”

Riviera large-boat program project manager Paul Wrench says the 75’s large cockpit is excellent for sportfishing and entertaining and that the boat is the largest semi-production flybridge boat built in Australia. It will be built entirely in house at the company’s facility in Coomera, Queensland, according to Alan Dowd, Riviera’s new product development design engineer.

Riviera offers 14 models from 36 to 75 feet across three model series: flybridge, sport yacht and offshore express.

Maverick Boat plans to increase production

Maverick Boat Co. said after its dealer meeting in July that it will be ramping up its weekly production rate to meet new-order demand.

It will be the third time in the last 12 months the company has upped production, resulting in a doubling of boats built per week and 38 new hires since last August.

Maverick attributes the increase to record-low field inventory levels of its brands, the addition of eight new dealers and increased consumer demand for 11 new models brought to market in the past 24 months. The Cobia brand has particularly benefited, surpassing Pathfinder for the first time in total orders placed at a Maverick dealer meeting.

“We feel really good about things right now, but are going to continue to take a measured approach to meeting the demand so that there are absolutely no sacrifices made in quality for the sake of volume,” Maverick president and CEO Scott Deal said in a statement.

Ranger Boats unveils 21-foot anniversary boat

Ranger Boats is commemorating 45 years of boatbuilding by unveiling the limited-edition Carbon Z Anniversary Package, available only on the upcoming 2013 Ranger Z520C.

Limited quantities are scheduled to arrive this fall at authorized Ranger dealers, according to the builder.

“Forty-five years is a milestone of which we are very proud,” Ranger Boats president Randy Hopper said in a statement. “We felt the best way to pay tribute to this anniversary year was to produce a one-of-a-kind boat that combines our latest innovations with the finest materials, craftsmanship and accessories. The result is a cutting-edge representation of the Ranger brand and serves as the perfect platform to celebrate our 45th anniversary.”

Measuring 20 feet, 9 inches and rated for 250 hp, the Z520C is available with a  range of precision-matched, factory-rigged outboards, the company says. Based on the running surface of previous-generation Z520 hull designs, the Z520C has a completely redesigned deck.

In addition to the anniversary model, Ranger is unveiling a redesigned website and a new 175-hp Ranger 1850LS, a continuation of the 1850RS.

New Jersey marina offers pontoon rentals

Hewitt, N.J.-based South Shore Marina is offering people who are experienced in motorboat operation an opportunity to rent a pontoon boat without having a state boating safety certificate.

Instead of taking a $65, eight-hour course and passing a written exam to get the certificate to operate a motorboat, pontoon boat renters need only have some experience and sit through a 25-minute video approved by the New Jersey State Police before navigating on Greenwood Lake, according to The Record newspaper.

The rental program can help prospective boaters decide whether a pontoon boat is right for them, South Shore’s Steven Bryan told the newspaper. “You don’t have to concern yourself with maintenance costs — just get out there and enjoy the lake. It’s someone else’s job to cover it when you get back, maintain it and gas it up,” Bryan told the paper. “It’s great for the person that doesn’t have the time or the funds to own their own boat.”

South Shore Marina charges range from $150 for two hours on a pontoon boat to $350 for an entire day out. It adds $25 for the largest pontoon boat with a high-output engine because of its fuel consumption. The available boats, 20- to 24-foot pontoons with 30 to 115 hp, sit eight people.

Lyman-Morse buys unfinished yacht at auction

A partially finished yacht that was commissioned in 2008 by a British man who lost money in the recession was sold at auction to Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding of Thomaston, Maine, the boat’s builder.

Lyman-Morse got the 70-foot Deerfoot sailboat for its opening bid of $50,000. The yacht is 60 percent complete and would cost about $4 million finished, Lyman-Morse told The Portland Press Herald.

“Brand-new, built today, the boat would cost about $4 million,” Lyman-Morse owner Cabot Lyman told the paper. “Someone will get it for 40 to 50 cents on the dollar.”

The yacht was auctioned by a U.S. marshal after the buyer, Richard Lee, was financially unable to complete the deal, according to a lawsuit filed by Lyman-Morse in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, the newspaper reported.

Lyman, the only bidder, said his company can deal with brokers and prospective buyers while finishing the yacht.

Lee initially invested about $1.5 million in the project, but failed to stay current with the bills, court documents say. As of December, Lee owed more than $890,000 to Lyman-Morse for work performed. The fate of the boat was in limbo for several years as Lyman-Morse and Lee fought a protracted legal battle.

New builder teams with Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Style and the newly formed Silver Arrows Marine are joining forces on a yacht project.

Silver Arrows Marine is a U.K.-registered company that will compete in the luxury motoryacht segment, taking a cue from the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows cars that dominated motor racing in the 1930s, according to a statement.

The 46-foot “Silver Arrow of the water” will feature innovations in functionality and layout never seen in luxury motoryachts.

New iPad app offers link to builders, dealers, manuals

On-Board Solutions created a new iPad app that provides a way for owners to connect with their boat’s manufacturer, dealer and service yard, as well as searchable manuals, documentation, management galleries, customer service, news feeds and reviews.

The app allows owners to have manuals available — searchable and backed up — on their iPads, according to the Charlottesville, Va., company.

Participating manufacturers will ensure that manuals are up to date.

“As an early adopter of the On-Board yacht management system, we have seen that our clients have become very involved with the documentation of their yachts and, in the process, have learned much more about their yachts’ systems and management than they had in the past with paper documents,” Sabre Yachts vice president of marketing and sales Bentley Collins said in a statement.

From the moment a boat is ordered, the owner and builder can begin to create the owner’s Launch Book, with information that includes purchase documentation, change orders and optional equipment. Owners will be able to share service issues and warranty claims with their manufacturer directly from the iPad.

Dealers also have the ability to share and co-create the Launch Book with new owners.

This article originally appeared in the September 2012 issue.

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