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Westbay Sonship yachts (in trouble)

Discussion in 'Westbay Sonship Yacht' started by tball, Dec 20, 2005.

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  1. tball

    tball New Member

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    Just wondering if anyone has heard what is happening with westbay sonship yachts in delta b.c. Canada. I have heard that they have filed for protection from there creditors.
  2. tball

    tball New Member

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    hope not
  3. MacMcL

    MacMcL Senior Member

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    They filed the equivalent of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the Canadian Bankruptcy Court in British Columbia. Their sales office in FLL is closed for the holidays, so it is hard to get a true read on how bad or deep the problems are.
  4. taobsu

    taobsu New Member

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    Their Ft. Lauderdale office is doing liquidation sale for 50ft and 58ft now.

    You might get a good deal.
  5. Motoryacht

    Motoryacht Member

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    I'm sorry to hear this because they build a real nice boat. My partner considered buying one. We both met with the owner's son at last year's boat show and were treated very rudely. If others were treated in this manner, I can understand why they're in trouble. I don't know how many people are in the position to buy premium priced boats like this, but if they want to recover, they better remove the son from Sonship.
  6. MacMcL

    MacMcL Senior Member

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    If they got rid of the kid, would it still be called "Sonship"? (Just a little holiday humor!!!)
  7. catmando

    catmando Senior Member

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    Did you talk to the company owner about his son's rudeness?
  8. Motoryacht

    Motoryacht Member

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    No. I can't say I would take the time. I've already got a business to run. If they don't have a better handle on representation, then maybe their customers, or lack of them, should guide their destiny. There are too many good builders to choose from.
  9. bleker

    bleker New Member

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    From what I understand, there is to be a company meeting Jan. 4th to inform the employees of the fate or future of the company. Westbay has been an icon in the BC boat building industry for years. I hope to see them survive their current dilema, not only for the sake of the company and their employees, but also for the sake of the industry in BC.
  10. Brian

    Brian Senior Member

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    Yes, for the sake of BC builders, I'd hate to see them fail in keeping West Bay alive. We have done some projects for them and have been very proffessional and easy to work with (at least the marketing dept).
    There used to be more yacht builders in BC but some seem to be dissappearing. Is this all because of our stronger Canadian dollar?
    Seems a shame as we have such wealth of experience and history of boat building here and given a chance, could (and have) been on par with any builder anywhere.
    My fingers are crossed.

    ...My two cents worth...
  11. Hawk

    Hawk Senior Member

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    I believe many BC and likely most Canadian boat builders either became complacent with the exchange advantage or their overheads grew because of that advantage and then did not react fast enough when it started to shift. If you look from 20,000 feet at the management and non-productive/non-billable infrastructure of Westbay, the overhead costs appear to become too much of a burden on the projects. From a lower altitude the causes are likely a lot more complex, certainly the increase in quality and greater overall acceptance of vessels built offshore -namely China- in their price and size range must play a significant role. That being said this is really not the only cause of their troubles. I doubt we will see the true depth of their issues or the root causes but their marketing strategy and market position in relation to sizes of vessel built as well as price pressure are likely a couple of major factors.

    The restructured Crescent Custom Yachts is off to a very controlled and methodical start with the intention of holding on to a very small and very flat management structure and a strategy not to compete in a market niche that is dominated by a couple of very large and powerful players, most notably Westport Shipyard. Westport has and will continue to dominate in the production level megayacht marketplace. If you want a new megayacht at a good price with limited options for customization then Westport is a good option. If you are in the market and you know what you want and it doesn’t fall into the Westport or Benetti business model then yards such as Crescent, Burger, Trinity, Christensen etc are likely better choices.

    We all hope that Westbay can dig themselves out of this hole, but I hope if they do that they realize that the marine marketplace is a different world than it was 5years and we must all be prepared to change and adapt as forces dictate. We must not only accept that offshore builders will continue to pressure US and Canadian yards, but embrace it and learn to stay ahead of the curve.

    I’m sure you could write a thesis on all the issues and strategies surrounding North American yacht builders but this isn’t the place and I certainly don’t have that much time on my hands, I’m busy running a shipyard.
  12. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    I think the concern here reflects the class of our neighbors to the north. Good people building great boats. I’ve had the honor of meeting with many of them. They are congenial, well informed and sincerely have a passion for their craft. The ability to “work” with a builder can be just as important as the boats they produce. I think Hawk and Brian have noted some key factors in the Westbay scenario, the exchange rate and impact of the boats built offshore.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time on a variety of offshore built boats. A number of them stand out and represent a good price point. However there are also a few of them that lack the attention to detail. Experience plays a major role in building boats and this is clearly evident on some. Quite simply… you might pay less upfront, but it could cost more in the long run. Brand recognition and lineage are important factors in resale, not to mention the aggravation that can be associated with a boat built by a less experienced yard. I’ve seen a couple of US owned companies building boats offshore that lack diligence in detail, long-term guidance and have little regard for customers. The price is attractive at first, but when you look a little closer, you begin to understand why it’s less expensive.

    Getting back to Westbay. They build fine boats, among the best, but this in itself may not be enough to compete in a worldwide marketplace anymore. Building boats is MUCH more than arriving at the right look, the right layout, price point, fit, finish, etc. It’s a myriad of other factors that most don’t see. It’s the right management, engineering, yard capability and employee experience. It’s also smart marketing, accountability, customer relations and an innate understanding of people.

    You really have to give credit to ANYONE running a shipyard. It’s a daunting task that few could carry.
  13. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    I don´t know who was first, but having three shipyards with almost the same name is not a very brilliant marketing idea to me? Westport, Westbay and Westship has always been confusing, at least from my horizon...
  14. Hawk

    Hawk Senior Member

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    Westport was first in 1964
    Westbay was next in 1967
    Given that the mid to late sixties wasn't a media driven society as it is now, nor that either of these companies were even building in the same size range, in all likelyhood these companies didn't even know about each other until well after both companies were well established.
    Westship was last and grew out of the exclusive east coast dealership for Westport Shipyard, not sure of the exact date but I believe it was 1999 or 2000.

    Westport and Westbay? close enough to call it a tie. Westship, considering it's east coast based is just lazy in trying to come up with a name.
  15. Viceroy

    Viceroy Member

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    Prospects looking up!

    Here's a bulletin:

    *Link removed by administrator*
  16. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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  17. YotDoc

    YotDoc New Member

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    Hawk is right about the start up dates for Westport and Westbay but Westship was doing business before 1995. At that time the three were involved in a venture building 92ft. vessels. Westship was the client, Westport supplied the hulls. Westbay towed them up to their facillity in Canada and fitted them out thus circumventing the Jone's Act. Westport opened their shipyard to the Westbay design team so they could literally copy the 106ft. Westport vessel already being sold as a Westship.

    As far as Westbay's current situation, time will tell whether the company is dynamic enough to pull out of this nose dive. The exchange rate did indeed give a false sense of security. This I'm sure allowed things to go unchecked that would've otherwised received scrutiny in a more competitive environment. This should be some warning for the North American industry as a whole, as the competition becomes tighter with the European styling and the Asian price and their improved quality.
  18. KCook

    KCook Senior Member

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    Welcome to YF, YotDoc :)

    Kelly Cook
  19. YotDoc

    YotDoc New Member

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    Thanks Kelly......just found this site searching for info on Westbay. Looks great so far.
    I wonder if anyone knows of other yards that have endured the same fate as Westbay and have successfully turned things around.
  20. Hawk

    Hawk Senior Member

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    Thanks for the correction YotDoc