There’s a piece of multihull history that’s just begging to be told. I’ve been following this story from the sidelines for several years now. The story of this boat serves as an important lesson about the yachting industry, as well as a turning point in the history of Gunboat, but there are so many subplots and twists to this boat’s past, involving so many characters…and the best part is the story is still unfolding. A development this morning gave me a good laugh so I decided I had to share.
In the Gunboat South Africa era (2005/6?) a pair of brothers from Latin America approached PJ about buying a Gunboat 62/66. The brothers loved the design but felt the price tag was too steep. Pj assured them that they could never build a boat like a Gunboat for less money, anywhere, and his offering was the best deal going. To try and close the deal PJ (apparently) comped a week’s charter aboard Gb6202 Safari (IIRC). The two parties had gotten down to details in the contract but the $3.4m (or whatever the price was) was just too high. The brothers figured PJ was making heaps of money at that price and they wanted a deeper discount than Pj could offer. Despite the free charter, negotiations stalled.
Around that same time, PJ decided to stretch the 62 tooling to 66 feet (basically in order to accommodate more equipment and offer more luxury). Now…PJ and MM had had an agreement where MM would get royalties from every GB62 sold…but PJ argued that he was no longer selling 62’s, he was selling 66’s, so MM was no longer entitled to royalties. Pj told MM to go pound sand. That obviously wasn’t a popular decision with MM.
Back to the brothers…Frustrated with negotiations with PJ, the brothers approached MM asking if MM would sell a “likeness” of the GB62 design. The brothers wanted to have a GB62 built themselves (without all of the cream that they thought PJ was skimming). MM figured any sense of loyalty between PJ and MM was sorta out of the window so they happily helped. MM changed the bow profile, some corners were rounded, some construction details were changed…but it was a GB62v.2 in spirit if not in name. The brothers went to several builders before settling on Lyman Morse in Maine (back when JB Turner was still there, before JB left for Front Street).