Palmer Johnson, the megayacht builder that’s been based in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, since 1961 (though its roots date back to 1918), is opening two facilities on English soil to build yachts up to 100 meters (328 feet) LOA.
According to several published reports, the move will mark the largest leisure craft in production in the UK and will pose a challenge to Sunseeker, which is headquartered in the same region where the new sheds will go and builds similarly sleek speedsters.
According to ThisIsHampshire.net, a Web site compiling news stories from multiple local newspapers in southern England, Palmer Johnson will take over an air-force base in Hythe, which closed more than a year ago, for a short period of time (but didn’t specify when the takeover will occur). The builder will then move into the former Vosper Thornycroft site in Woolston, which is expected to be ready next year. All told Palmer Johnson will reportedly create 800 new jobs.
Roland Staub, director of Palmer Johnson, was quoted as saying, “The new production facilities are integral to our overall growth strategy. Our UK expansion allows us to meet the global demand for our products. We are also keen to tap into the marine base of the region in terms of working with local suppliers and subcontractors.”
I contacted Mike Kelsey, Jr., president of Palmer Johnson, for further details on when construction of yachts (such as Waverunner, seen here courtesy of SuperyachtTimes.com) will begin. Unfortunately, he didn’t reply by the time of this posting, but I’ll write an update as soon as we speak.