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Son of founder to lead product development at MJM Yachts

“We’ve always shared ideas,” says Peter Johnstone (left), who is shown with his father, Bob.

“We’ve always shared ideas,” says Peter Johnstone (left), who is shown with his father, Bob.

MJM Yachts founder Bob Johnstone has tapped son Peter Johnstone to head product development at the company, the first time the father-son team has formally worked together.

It was a long apprenticeship that began with a hand-shaped balsa sailboat hull model at age 4, Peter Johnstone said, joking that he didn’t care for the blunt bow, so he sharpened it with his front teeth.

“The 35z outboard direction, I was pretty vocal about doing that,” Peter Johnstone told Trade Only Today. “We’ve always shared ideas. As I wrote on Facebook, it’s been a dinner-table and regular family conversation about how to make the boats better.”

Sales of the outboard-powered 35z have been “incredible,” Johnstone said, adding that 26 have been sold since the boat was introduced at the Newport International Boat Show in September.

The younger Johnstone was part of the inspiration for the new outboard-powered line.

The younger Johnstone was part of the inspiration for the new outboard-powered line.

Bob Johnstone told Trade Only last summer that his company’s switch to outboards on its new 35z and upcoming 43z is customer- and marketing-driven.

“If you look at outboard-powered boats over 35 feet the past several years, the number is going up,” he said at the time. “There was a request for outboard power, and I think generally the feel is that the outboards have come up in terms of capability and efficiency.”

The next model in that series, the 43z, will start to get promoted early in 2018, said the younger Johnstone, who will continue in his role from his Charleston, S.C., home, while traveling regularly to Boston BoatWorks, where the boats are built.

“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “We’re having a lot of fun working together.”

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