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Southport Boats to resume production in Maine

Kenway Corp. recently completed the acquisition of Southport Boats' tooling and equipment and plans to resume production immediately.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Manufacturing operations are being moved from North Carolina  to Kenway's facility in Augusta, Maine, and the boats will be built alongside the company's Maritime and Maritime Skiff family fishing boats.

Sales and marketing will be conducted by Kenway's sister company, Maritime Marine LLC, although the Southport brand will remain independent in the marketplace, the company announced.

Southport ceased operations in September, pending a sale of the company's assets by the American Global Yacht Group.

"AGYG originally purchased Southport as part of a strategic plan to purchase and manufacture Southport Boats, as well as other boat brands, and market those brands through AGYG boat and yacht sales locations," the company said at the time that production was halted.

"Subsequent to the Southport purchase, however, AGYG exited the boat sales and brokerage business and closed all their locations, leaving Southport's boat manufacturing operation the only AGYG operating subsidiary," the company added.

Ian Kopp, president of Maritime and vice president of Kenway, said his company began the process of buying Southport last fall.

"Southport's reputation for high-quality construction with exceptional performance captured our interest immediately," he said in a statement. "After that first ride on the legendary Hunt4 Southport hull I was convinced we had to make this deal work."

One change resulting from the move will be a transition of the Southport hull from traditional open molding to advanced vacuum-infusion closed-molding techniques.

"Our intent is to reintroduce the models as the Southport 27 and the Southport 29 for a variety of reasons," Kopp said. "Primarily, we intend to draw a clear distinction between the 'old' Southport and the 'new' Southport. That is important."

New boats should be available in May.

The company announced that Tom Johnson will be partnering with Southport as its director of sales and dealer relations. Its first dealer is Smith Yacht Sales of Hingham, Mass.

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