Troubled firm's yard severely damaged

Hillyards boatyard in Littlehampton was severely damaged in a fire that began in the early hours of saturday morning.

Around half the buildings were badly damaged by the blaze, with the rest of the site suffering smoke and heat damage. The fire is believed to have started at around 2am this morning in a large workshop on the site.

Six fire engines attended the blaze, the cause of which is being investigated. Arson has not been ruled out.

Hillyards had ceased trading earlier in the year, leaving four part-finished Sadler yachts and 20 employees out of work.

Hillyards has a 100-year history of building wooden yachts but had expanded over the last 18 months into new premises in Gosport. It then acquired Broadblue catamarans and four unfinished Sadler 290 hulls after Southampton’s Rampart Yachts went under in June 2008.

For a closer look, see the April issue of PBO.