British sailing cruiser builder unveils new flagship design...
The first Gunfleet 74 should launch in ‘14.
Colchester, Essex-based Gunfleet Marine has unveiled renderings of a new flagship 74-footer. This model will sport a shoal-draft keel with centreboard and twin rudders. The button has already been pressed on 74-01. Her launch is scheduled for ’14.
Gunfleet Marine is a relative newcomer to the market. It was founded in '10 by Richard Matthews, the majority shareholder of Oyster Marine until he sold out to Balmoral Capital in early '08; that deal valued Oyster Marine at £70 million and Matthews owned 90%. The brand name comes from the Gunfleet Sands bank, which lies off England’s Essex coast.
The first Tony Castro-designed Gunfleet 43 ‒ 43-01 ‒ launched in August '11, was shown first at Southampton '11. And as of early ’12 43-02, 43-03 and 43-04 were following on behind and were available. The original plan was to deliver seven to eight 43s during '12.
The first Gunfleet 58, also drawn by Tony Castro, is under construction and expected to launch for late ’12.
And beyond the now in-progress Gunfleet 74, there is talk of a Gunfleet 90. Richard Matthews has said he will take the first 74 once he has got out of his Oyster 125 commitment, either by finding another client to take over the construction or by selling the finished boat; delivery of that one is expected for late ‘12.
Gunfleet Marine’s strategy is to sell direct.
"We aim to be the quality alternative," says Richard Matthews. The company is managed day-to-day by Bill Howlett, formerly general manager of Kim McDell's McDell Marine in Auckland, New Zealand. Matthews and Howlett know each other because the now-closed McDell Marine used to build a couple of the Oyster models. The Gunfleet sales director is Ben Vaes, who spent many years as Oyster Marine's sales manager and more recently spent time as group sales director for the Hanse Group.
Gunfleet Marine’s financial director is Mark Underwood.
For more, www.gunfleetmarine.com