Luxury catamaran builder, Gunboat, files bankruptcy

Gunboat, the builder of multi-million dollar, high performance catamaran sailing vessels that located in Wanchese just over three years ago has filed for Chapter 11 protection under the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

“In a period of non-stop accolades and introduction of several terrific new models, Gunboat has been quietly struggling behind the scenes for nearly two years,” said founder Peter Johnstone in a statement issued Wednesday on the company’s Facebook page.

Gunboat

Gunboat set up shop in the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park in spring 2012, and was one of the few companies in northeastern North Carolina that met employment goals set out when it received a grant from the state’s “One North Carolina” economic incentives program.

Chief among them was the ramp up of production in Wanchese took longer and cost more than anticipated, and the highly-publicized abandonment by the owner and crew of the Gunboat 55 “Rainmaker” 200 miles of Cape Hatteras in Cape Hatteras.

Johnstone blamed a series of mistakes, disputes and adverse business conditions for the company’s struggles over the last two years.

He added other problems including sorting out issues between Gunboat and the Chinese builder of the Gunboat 60 Series.

Johnston said a G4 was involved in a recent collision with a photo boat during a magazine test in Annapolis, Md., and that both incidents had led to a slow down in sales of the model.

“I could have overcome maybe one or two of these challenges, but certainly not all of these in one short period of time,” Johnstone said. But he is optimistic that the company can recover.

“The operations have shown a nice turn-around in the past few months,” Johnstone said. “Boats are being built, and we are meeting our plan for operating the business and recovering through the Chapter 11 process.”

The status of the operations at the Wanchese production facility and its employees was not released by the company.

“We have a lot of good people, and we will see our way out of this period in the next two years,” Johnstone said.

 

source: Sam Walker, Outer Banks Voice

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