Megayacht Builder Palmer Johnson Relocating to the Netherlands: American shipbuilder Palmer Johnson have announced that they will close their Sturgeon Bay, WI, facilities and relocate their operations to the Netherlands. Founded in 1918, the manufacturer will close following completion of hull number three of he PJ170 yacht currently under construction. That vessel is expected to be finished by the end of October.
Some of the yard’s current employees will make the transition to the Netherlands to continue the brand’s quality reputation and to make the relocation as seamless as possible. Reports from Wisconsin media indicated that Timur Mohammed the yard’s owner stated in a press release the operations and employment levels, along with sales levels have continued to diminish while offshore competitive pressures have increased, making relocation necessary.
The relocation is part of Palmer Johnson’s strategic plan to continue and increase production of the new carbon SuperSport series. The second hull of the PJ48 carbon SuperSport series, currently in Norway, will move to the Netherlands for completion. Hull number three will follow in April 2016, while construction of molds for the first 42m yacht in the series already having started. The SuperSport series yachts are made of carbon composite and feature hulls fitted with sponsons for more efficiency, stability and space.
Palmer Johnson officials have not disclosed the city where new operations will begin, but have indicated that work will begin there in November. In addition to the SuperSport series, the SportYacht series will continue to be in the mix.
The move out of the United States is significant as Palmer Johnson was one of the first shipyards to switch to all aluminum construction in 1961. Within five years, the manufacturer had delivered the world’s largest aluminum sailing yacht at the time, the 84-foot ketch Firebird. Palmer Johnson also constructed the 100-foot Fortuna for King Juan Carlos of Spain in 1979. With a speed of 68 knots, she remained the fastest yacht in the world for more than a decade. In 1998, Palmer Johnson launched La Baronessa, the largest all-aluminum yacht built in the United States with an LOA of 195 feet.
Introduced in 2004, the SportYacht series was highly controversial for its time as the styling was a marked departure from traditional look motoryachts that Palmer Johnson had previously built. To date, more than 20 SportYachts have been commissioned in this semi-custom series.
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