A bit of a shocker from Peter Johnstone and Gunboat….
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. It has been a perfect storm of adverse business circumstances, mistakes, and disputes. A brief summary from my viewpoint/opinion:
• The Chinese built Gunboat 60 series cost Gunboat a fortune to sort out. The Chinese builder has fought its contractual obligations to manage, support, pay and reimburse for the completion, rework and warranty costs. Gunboat felt an obligation to its customers and spent millions out of pocket, which proved to be a huge strain on our resources, focus and productivity.
• The G4 capsize in April, and the recent photo boat collision on a magazine boat test in Annapolis have thwarted sales of this series to date. The investment was made. The return is in the future.
• The abandonment of RAINMAKER by her owner and crew certainly was not helpful to a new series. The Gunboat 55 is a great boat, and it will take time for that word to get out.
• The ramp up of production in North Carolina took longer and cost more.
I am sure our situation will be dissected. As sole owner of the company, these issues are all mine…..I could have overcome maybe 1-2 of these challenges, but certainly not all of these in one short period of time. Today, Gunboat will file for Chapter 11 protection under the Federal Bankruptcy Code.
With the challenges above, there are also positive notes moving forward. The operations have shown a nice turn-around in the past few months. Boats are being built, and we are meeting our plan for operating the business and recovering through the Chapter 11 process.
Business has ups and downs. Success and failure. I have enjoyed 30 years of both results. While the past two years been the most stressful and difficult period of my life and business career, this period has also been one of enormous assessment and growth personally and professionally. I have learned far more from the failures than the accolades. We have a lot of good people, and we will see our way out of this period in the next two years.
To everyone who has been so supportive, I am forever grateful. To anyone adversely affected by Gunboat’s situation, I am deeply sorry. – Peter Johnstone.