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Westport Media Coverage

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Boats International, USA - August, 2002

Written by Staff

Westport hulls and designs are the result of the handiwork of such world-class names as William Garden, Jack Sarin, Greg Marshall and Donald Starkey. Using advance composite construction techniques allows Westport to deliver seaworthy, fully-stabilized vessels that are stronger but more lightweight, and thus faster, than other yachts in the same size range. The SOM is predicted to have a maximum speed of 24 knots with her engines generating in excess of 7,000hp, while the 130 has been proven at a 28 knot top speed.

Each Westport vessel is given a strict build time - in weeks versus months - and is overseen by phase managers and department heads who report to the plant manager of each facility. The company has building to spec down to a science. From the laminate shop, to the hull shop, to the state-of-the art paint facility, all systems function in harmony. Most impressive is the 40,000 sq ft cabinet & joinery shop, adjacent to the Port Angeles facility, which was created five years ago to audit the 130 series. This facility now services the entire fleet of Westport vessels and provides the designers with custom finishes from beautiful sapele pomele accents to Honduras mahogany veneers.

Prior to handover, each vessel is tested in the Pacific Ocean to provide the utmost in durability. Computer-generated tooling ensures that the superstructure is fitted with precision, and each vessel comes equipped with Westport's exclusive vessel information control (VIC) system that monitors all operations. The company specifies only high quality components and equipment - the main MTUs are from Mercedes Benz Daimler-Chrysler Group, and the 50Ms are outfitted with the computerized-lighting Lite Touch system.

"All you need is a toothbrush," is what most clients are told, as Westport yachts are delivered completely outfitted, down to the linens, china, and a full tank of fuel. Standard build time is approximately 60-65 weeks. Of course, there is always a degree of customization, and Westport works closely with their clients as they select the stone, granite, and upholstery. Like any good supplier, they stand behind their products. Captain Mike Catania is one of the build captains who stays onboard at the end of the build, training crew, advising owners, and managing the delivery. Westport has even been known to fly Mike or their own mechanics to meet up with a boat that has had some trouble. And, with the increase of repeat owners, the performance is surely satisfactory.

But it's not only Westport's immaculate operation and sound builds that are striking, it is also the 790 employees that make up 'Team Westport'. Throughout the yard their pride is evident - most of them sport T-shirts celebrating one or another of the company's 50 launches. Daryl Wakefield himself wears a Westport jacket and clearly enjoys running a lively operation - not only is he on a first-name basis with his employees, but, after touring the yard and the new 50M with him, it's obvious that he maintains a close connection with everyone on the team.

Westport is truly a community-based company. When the shipyard recently offered to hire up to 100 qualified Gulf Coast shipyard employees who had lost their jobs because of Hurricane Katrina and relocate them and their families to Westport, the community joined forces to create a relocation package that includes bank loans, temporary housing, and other assistance. It's the kind of community effort that makes Westport feel like a family - a big family that's been growing at a rate of 15 percent a year since 1998.

With Wakefield at the helm, Westport continues to provide its clients with the highest standards in design and construction, by investing in the best engineering and technologies the industry has to offer. With the order books full, and builds continuing at a record pace, the company is looking at yet another banner year; and it's certainly not only North American clients who are taking notice - the yard recently delivered two vessels, a 130 and a 112, to overseas buyers.

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