It comes just 13 months after the brand was ‘rescued' from an earlier receivership

One

of the biggest sailboat names in British boat building, Southerly Yachts, has

folded again, writes Barry Pickthall.

This

latest debacle comes just 13 months after the brand had been ‘rescued’ from an

earlier receivership with debts of £1,972,520.

The

builder, which once employed 165 people at Itchenor Shipyard and its moulding

operation in Havant, went down with the loss of 50 jobs.

A

creditors meeting held at the Gatwick Hilton Hotel on 22 August was told that

efforts to refloat the building arm of the business had failed and that once

three yachts currently under construction for customers were completed,

production of the Southerly brand would cease.

Chris

Stephens from FRP Advisory was once again appointed receiver but, like last

year, when the assets available to offset debts amounted to little more than

the office furniture and a database of potential clients, there are precious

few pickings.

A

spokesman for FRP Advisory refused to divulge the list of outstanding creditors

for Southerly Yachts Ltd or its level of indebtedness to Boating Business,

stating that this will eventually be published by Companies House.

The

land and buildings at Itchenor are owned by Sunchalk Ltd and the mouldings,

intellectual property rights to the Southerly, Fisher and Vancouver yacht

brands together with equipment and machinery, all remain outside the grasp of

the receiver.

Northshore

Yachts was formed in 1971, and purchased by Lester Abbott from founder Bryan

Moffatt for a reputed £4.5m in 2003. Mr Abbott invested heavily in expanding

the Southerly range, building two new factory buildings – the latest of which

was opened by Princess Anne in 2010.

After

this crash, Mr Abbott also faced criticism from within the marine industry for

leaving key suppliers high and dry. Their reluctance to supply the new

Southerly Yachts business with vital parts forced Mr Abbott to pay off past

debts, and companies like Iron Brothers which manufactured Southerly’s unique

swing keels, and was owed £59,000, is owed just £38.00 this time.

Spokesmen

from Tek Tanks, Houdini Windows, Holman Rigging and IPC Media, which all took

considerable hits in the 2013 bankruptcy, also reported that they have been

paid off.

The

first sign of problems came at the beginning of August with the removal of

mould tools that had littered the Itchenor foreshore ever since Northshore’s

moulding facilities in Havant were wound up and moved suddenly to a field

behind the Northshore production facility.

A

week later, staff arriving for work found the yard locked and a note posted on

the door telling them to return home.

A

small team of builders was later recalled to complete the three remaining

yachts in construction.

Even

before the creditors meeting, the Itchenor facility had re-opened for business

under the name of Northshore Shipyard Ltd. A

new sign on the gate proclaimed ‘repairs, storage, moorings and all types of

work carried out – at competitive rates.’

Pictures credited to: Barry Pickthall/PPL