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Sad news - Palmer Johnson Yachts in Sturgeon Bay to close

Discussion in 'Palmer Johnson Yacht' started by ScotL, Sep 2, 2015.

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  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    It's amazing how many boat builders change hands simply as the only way for a buyer to get his boat finished or the only way to pay off a debt.
  2. JWY

    JWY Senior Member

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    I have had a few. When someone posts a question about a builder on YF and I know first hand of bad experiences, I usually speak up pretty emphatically. My last bad experience was with NM and it's been a while since I had anything nice to say about them..even before they sank themselves. My bad NM story has yet to conclude...
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    We will be here waiting.
    I do have an old number to 1-800 call Julio.
    ,rc
  4. Zud

    Zud Senior Member

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    JWY,

    NM ???
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    No More
    Nuzzbutt Marine
    Nearly Made it
    Northern Marine

    Take your pick the initials fit them all
  6. Zud

    Zud Senior Member

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    K1W1 message received, Thanks
  7. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    I personally think that Palmer Johnson moving to Holland is like putting the history of this boat builder in the bin. Good luck to them....
    Even when we where speaking about Bertram moving to NC a lot of people raised a few eyebrows here.

    I think Palmer Johnson has a role to fill, the large express market has been quite stable actually since about 2010 with Mangusta, AB Yachts and Riva all having stable sales IMO and launching new models on a constant basis. The problem for PJ imo was that it tried to go to much 130 feet upwards and nothing in below, and there the demand for express decreases by a huge number. A brand concentrating on Sport Yachts needs to be covered from 80 feet or less and then upwards to that.
    In recent years we have also seen some important players which are closed see Cantieri dell Arno Leopard, or not producing as Italcraft.

    The market is strange at the moment you see some unknown builders like Dreamline who just opened a few years ago who seem to be doing quite well, and others struggling to survive.
    As for outsourced builders I think the market grows old of them, and people start to avoid them especially if the marina and captain talk starts to come to the buyers.
    It's a tough market for sure, and this year with the weak Euro we will see a shift moving back to Europe in the 80 - 100 feet sizes from the Brits and USA builders.
    I think the trick is not to over do it, with your designs something which Palmer Johnson did in recent years, sensationalism does not work well. But then again Moonen does not do any of this and they struggling at the moment as is Jongert. Then again Mulder has had a very important growth in the last 5 years.
    The builders who are performing good are doing for sure something better then the others who are not. The sales are there but IMO the market as the global orders show has surely peaked in sales in the last two years.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    In my mind, Palmer Johnson, Bertram, Post, Cabo and a few others are mirages and don't exist until they actually build and sell a boat.

    And this is a great line, "The builders who are performing good are doing for sure something better then the others who are not." They'll blame their failure on many things but the reality is they failed because they did not manage their company well.
  9. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Has PJ built anything under 100' in the past 20 years? Can you give an example where a builder of large custom yachts went to smaller models as a successful business strategy?
  10. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    Agreed. Bertram will have something by coming year (watch Fort Lauderdale for the project), Gavio is not someone who wastes a lot of time.
    Would be good if they deliver the 60 by Robert Ullberg, I think it can be a design direction which puts them on line. See word Design Direction.
    The others are mirages, Cabo will not exist anymore in my book especially since Hatteras has re-tooled the 44 and 52 models.
  11. Liam

    Liam Senior Member

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    No but the SportYacht series, which started with Coverlife in 2003 was at 105 feet, then they stopped it.
    Also Palmer Johnson in the Supersport and SportYacht line which has been the bread and butter in recent years (past decade) is more of a semi-custom.
    May be that is why most of them are failing because no one sees the reason to down-size or at least offer a project in the smaller size.
    Off course one 150 can close your sales book for the year, and you have gained one client.
    Now today you have a list of semi custom builders which can build your size, and these have clients which grow up with them from the 50/60 feet upwards.
    Anyways Baglietto launched a 13 meter something sport cruiser last year in Cannes and they sold it this year to the Lapo Elkan; Fiat heir in Spring.
    And back in 2000 when Mangusta launched the 72, it was a great move for them and they have sold how much 80 of them as at today, even more then the 80 which a couple of years before was there smallest model.
    I have meet owners which had larger Mangustas and downsized to a new 72 because they wanted something with less crew. Go figure how the World works.
  12. AffrayedKnot

    AffrayedKnot Senior Member

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    "No but the SportYacht series, which started with Coverlife in 2003 was at 105 feet, then they stopped it."

    She was “Cover Drive”, and actually started life as PJ227 in 1997.
    5.jpg

    A twin sister to PJ225 Mostro, (now Anna J)

    PJ225 Anna J.jpg

    After laying dormant for three years without go-foreword funding, Timur Mohammed decided to take a bold gamble, and under the leadership of Mike Kelsey took torch to 227’s hull. Mike contracted Guido de Groot for an innovative superstructure/deck design… and thus was born the Palmer Johnson 120 Sport Yacht. PJ227 lead the way for a successful line of 120, 135, & 150 PJ Sport Yachts.

    ~1 Brigitta-Cover Drive 640.jpg

    Besides serving as the prototype for the 120 series... PJ227 is distinctive from her sisters by her oval portlites.

    Timur sold Cover Drive to a colorful character who renamed her Brigitta and managed to have her arrested and seized in 2006.
    Brigitta laid in Long Beach California for six years when her papers finally fell to Lloyds Bank. Lloyds repositioned her to Palma in 2012 and I've lost track of her since.

    IF ANYONE HAS THE LATEST ON PJ227 "BRIGITTA" PLEASE POST OR PM... Thanks

    The shot below was taken from the L.A. County Sheriff's Helicopter during her arrest inspection in 2006.
    Being Arrested.jpg

    Now, for the smaller issue that Liam would be pleased to see...
    "Magnum Force" an eighty foot (24.4m) one-off (aluminum) built in Turkey from the 120 renderings.
    If you've spent any time in Port Canto, I'm sure you've seen her.
    MF 1.jpg
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Viking, they had all but stopped making anything below 54' for a while, now they have several models in the low 40' range.
  14. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    The OP questioned why a builder of +120' custom yachts doesn't build down in the 60'-80' model range. I think we're in apples vs oranges territory with the Viking example.
  15. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Because they weren't always a builder of 120' + yachts, as little as 10 or so years ago they were making smaller yachts. And perhaps, that is precisely why Palmer Johnson is closing their factory. Whatever they were doing, was not working and not profitable. Look at Burger, when was the last time they launched a new boat (pleasure)? Most of these large yacht or even megayacht builders started building smaller boats and working their way up in size. Some have been very successful staying with just building their larger sizes and dropping their smaller sizes.....Merritt, Feadship, etc. But as the length grows, so does your buildtime, space requirements, and the amount of boats and clientel to sell them to dwindles and it's A LOT more capital intensive and your paychecks get a lot further apart. Perhaps if PJ made some expresses in the 60-100' size, they'd still be paying the bills.

    However, there are LOTS of builders that have grown a lot in the size of boats they built since they started, BUT still build the small sizes. Boston Whaler, Searay, Hatteras a little, Sunseeker, Donzi still builds their classics 16-21' that they started with in the 1960's etc. EVERYONE knows a donzi classic or 2+3 from a mile away.......They sell a lot of small ones and people see them and their brand name out there. Really, outside of a few ports on the East Coast, how many people in the rest of the US or Canada can say they've seen a Feadship in person or even knows what a Feadship is. There is A LOT of brand loyalty with these owners, and it's not uncommon to see a 4 boat in a row searay owner that started on a 21' bowrider and now has a 65' flybridge. Same to say someone that had a 15' whaler and now has a 34'. The small boats allow new employees a better learning platform, covers more market segments, lowers material purchasing costs and keeps the factory moving. Other's deal with owning a busy boatyard like Merritt's, Hinkley, Roscioli, and building boats also, the boatyard always pays the bills.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Cabo is supposed to be re-released in a different way as nice outboard fishing boats........
  17. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    I'm not saying expanding into a line of smaller boats would or wouldn't work. I'm saying show me where a builder of large yachts has done it successfully.

    I don't consider a production sportfish model drop from +50' down to +40' as an example.

    And I don't think PJ was building smaller boats 10 years ago. As I posted earlier I don't think they've built a boat under 100' in 20 years.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  18. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    The original owners of Cabo are building a center console outboard called Mag Bay. Nothing to do with Cabo/Hatteras.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Mag Bay has nothing to do with the Old owners of Cabo. One of the old owners SON is building Mag Bay, that's totally the sons deal, he's hard headed and wouldn't listen to his dad about anything from what I hear.

    Versa- the current owners of Cabo and Hatteras, have been talking about building Cabo's as outboard powered fishing boats more along the lines of Intrepid from what factory people have told me.

    The big issue here was productivity. Cabo posted a $12 million profit in 2012, they moved to New Bern for 2013 and 2014 and lost money. Why, a perfect example. In Adelanto a 40' Cabo express took on average 7200 man hours to build.....In New Bern, the best they could get to was 11,250 man hours....how do you make money when it's costing you 60% more in labor to build the same boat?
  20. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    They built a 116' in 2002, They built a 76' and 86' in 1999......120's or so since then, but not as many as you'd expect in the last 13 years, only 26 boats or 2 boats per year.

    http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/6yachtlarge/palmerjohnson.htm