End of an Era
END OF AN ERA AT WILLARD
Press Release, September 24, 2003:
Willard Marine, the oldest manufacturer of trawler yachts in the U.S., has ended production of its recreational vessels. The Anaheim, California, company will focus on military and commercial markets. Willard is the biggest producer of boats for the U.S. military--a business that is booming post 9/11.
"We have put the tooling for the Willard 30 Pilothouse and Flybridge Sedan and the Willard 40 Pilothouse and Flybridge Sedan for sale," said Patrick Gerety, whose involvement at Willard ended August 30 . "These are very capable open-ocean passagemakers. We expect to find someone who will purchase the tooling for these models and keep them in production."
There is no question Willards are capable passagemakers. The problem that afflicted the make in recent years was that the boats looked dated. Styling and finish were given a makeover, but new pricing found few takers among consumers.
Willard Marine was founded in 1957 to build custom fiberglass yachts. Its first trawler yacht, the Willard 36, was launched in 1961--three years before the first Grand Banks, 10 years before the first Marine Trader, and 28 years before the first Nordhavn.