In January 2013, Brunswick Corporation, owner of Hatteras and CABO brands of yachts and sportfishing boats announced it was seeking a buyer. It was a blow to the Eastern Carolina economy – particularly for about 105 employees that were laid off at the time from the New Bern plant (which at the end of November 2012 had employed 545). Brunswick stated that it wanted to concentrate its efforts on brands Sea Ray and Meridian and leave the sportfish convertible market. (Brunswick bought Hatteras in 2001 and CABO in 2006, consolidating their operations in 2010 in New Bern.)
So, anxious employees celebrated in August when it was announced that Navis HCY Acquisition, an affiliate of Philadelphia-based Versa Capital, had purchased Hatteras and CABO. Hatteras-CABO chief executive officer John Ward expressed excitement over the acquisition that had been negotiated for almost half a year. The intention is to keep all current employees and to continue to manufacture vessels in New Bern.
In fact, at the time of the announcement, production of hull number two of the 100-foot RPH was set to start. Ward also noted that it didn’t seem that Versa would begin selling off assets and that they would indeed continue their product development and investment in the company. It seems that Ward, a 24-year marine executive with former roles at Boston Whaler and Mercury, will continue in his current role as president and CEO. He took the opportunity of the sale to reinforce Hatteras-CABO’s commitment to American manufacturing.
At the time of the sale, Versa Capital CEO Gregory L. Segall noted how the economy had affected the luxury marine markets including legacy brands Hatteras and CABO, even though they have enjoyed great brand loyalty and recognition over the years as premier yacht and sportfishing boat builders. At one point, Hatteras Yachts which started in High Point, NC, in 1959 employed 1,500 in New Bern.
26 North Yachts doesn’t expect any drastic changes in the styling, type or quality of the builds coming out of Hatteras and CABO. Hatteras, in fact, made our Top 10 list of boat builds, and we don’t expect that to shift.
Since the new owners took over, Hatteras has delivered its first yacht, the redesigned Hatteras 80 MY motoryacht. The new design incorporates the successful features that have made this a popular model but improved the layout as well as standards and options. As a result, both the exterior and interior of the yacht have a new look and feel. Hatteras describes the new profile as ‘rakish and sporty’ thanks to a relocation of the arch on the flybridge. Changes to the interior have improved volume, functionality and comfort. Accommodations are set in a large, full-beam master aft, double VIP cabin in the bow, and two, twin cabins. Upgrades also include standard stone showers with frameless shower doors in the master and guest heads. More natural light floods most staterooms and master thanks to reconfigured portlights here as well.