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Showboats International - January 2006 - Nine In Twelve

Written by Mark T. Masciarotte

Showboats

The launch of 130-foot Vita Bella highlights a banner year for Westport.

On August 31, Westport Shipyard christened Vita Bella, the latest of the company's popular 130-foot tri-deck motor yachts. What was remarkable about that launch was that the boat represents the ninth yacht over 100 feet to be delivered by Westport in the past 12 months.

Like her sisterships, Vita Bella is a prime example of the ethic that drives the Westport team: to provide a limited-production motor yacht that has conservative good looks, a relatively high level of finish, an attractive price and a short delivery time.

For several years, the scuttlebutt on the docks about Westport has revolved around whether or not the company would be able to market production boats in large sizes at a rate that would be profitable and, if so, could it find buyers for them? As it turns out, the doubters have been proved wrong.

"The reason," says Daryl Wakefield, Westport's president, "is that we view the market as having two types of customers: one that wants a project and one that wants to go boating. Ours wants to buy a boat and use it as soon as possible."

To manufacture a range of boats that for all intents and purposes begins at 112 feet, Westport has developed a production system that is notable on a number of levels. Several years ago, the company developed software that gave it the ability to track labor and materials in real time. Over the years, the software was improved to the point where, today, the company's system is accurate enough to enable the purchasing department to order on a just-in-time basis.

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