These are good times for boatbuilders...
These are good times for boatbuilders. Most of them are selling every boat they can push out of the factory door, and could sell more if only they could only make them faster. The days when your five-figure down payment would buy you a bucket of resin, a crate of components and the promise of a new boat sometime next year are long gone. These days, when you write that cheque, the resin hasn’t even been ordered, the components are so much unmined ore and the promise of a boat the year after next has to be taken increasingly on trust. In times like these, when the queue of buyers goes around the block and dealers start to worry more about getting stock in than about customer care, even the best of boatbuilders can fall prey to over-confidence.
This doesn’t necessarily mean production standards slip – in fact, it’s often the opposite as they invest in hi-tech equipment to enable them to build better, faster and cheaper. But it can mean a certain loss of focus. This often shows itself as a kind of corporate amnesia: when hard-won lessons suddenly get forgotten. A design team working on a helm position, for example (p48), might inexplicably forget that five years ago it learnt how to make them practically perfect. Gripped by the conviction that it can do no wrong, it starts with a blank sheet of paper and proceeds to make mistakes worthy of a first-year student project. The dealer’s response to this when we pointed it out was revealing too: can’t see over the bow? Doesn’t matter. Owners won’t mind standing up.
Welcome to our show preview issue. Keep an eye out for this sort of nonsense at London and Düsseldorf. The best example submitted gets a bottle of champagne.