Florida boatbuilder announces expansion plans

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Fort Myers, Fla.-based Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats is expanding into the offshore saltwater fishing boat market with a plan that includes new models, new dealers and a key personnel acquisition.

Known for many years as a builder of custom high-performance vee-bottoms and catamarans, Nor-Tech recently expanded its lineup to include a growing array of diverse new models, including an 80-foot sport yacht, and 34-foot and 39-foot luxury/performance center consoles.

Now the company plans to target the saltwater fishing boat market with a full line of tournament-ready center console fishing boats.

“To date, the key emphasis of Nor-Tech’s center console effort has been placed on performance, luxury and cruising,” director of sales and marketing Terry Sobo said in a statement. “Our new fishing boats will retain all of the outstanding performance attributes of our current center console models, but they will represent a bold departure in terms of fishing features and overall layout and function.”

To assist in the expansion, Nor-Tech hired industry veteran Alden Thornton as national saltwater sales manager and fishing team manager.

For the last six years, Thornton served as regional sales manager and fishing team manager for Fountain Powerboats, where he was heavily involved in the design, testing and sales of fishing boat product.

He began competing professionally on the Southern Kingfish Association tournament trail in 2002. In July, Thornton’s “A-Team” fishing team took top honors at the 2011 Alabama Deep Sea Rodeo, an event certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest fishing tournament.

Prior to joining the association, Thornton raced boats in the American Power Boat Association, where he won two national championships, two North American championships and three high points championships and twice has been inducted into the powerboat association’s Hall of Champions.

“Alden will work closely with our designer, Nils Johnsen, and with the Nor-Tech rigging team to fine-tune our products to meet the needs of the most discriminating angler,” Sobo said. “Additionally, Nor-Tech will enter the Southern Kingfish Association as a sponsor and participant, with Alden campaigning a Nor-Tech center console on several fishing adventures throughout 2012.”

Nor-Tech plans to introduce four new fishing models in 2012, ranging from 28 to 43 feet. The fully redesigned fishing version of its current 39-foot center console will debut in February at the Miami International Boat Show, with the fishing version of its current 34-foot center console following soon after. An entirely new 28-footer will join the fleet in the early summer, and tooling work has just commenced on a flagship 43-foot vessel, which is slated for debut next fall.

Nor-Tech also announced that an expansion of the company’s dealer network is under way. New dealers include Bent Marine in New Orleans; South Austin Marine in Austin, Texas; and Marker 17 Marine in Wilmington, N.C.

“Each of these dealers has made a major product order commitment to Nor-Tech,” Sobo added. “We have already written over 10 firm orders for new fishing boats. Together with Alden and our new program, Nor-Tech is poised to become a major force in the saltwater fishing boat market.”

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