Building back in 'ancestral home' of cats

Broadblue Catamarans are back: saved from the scrapheap by Mark Elliot, the man who used cash from his furniture business to found the yard in 2001, and his new partner Mark Jarvis of Emsworth-based catamaran broker, Multihull World.

The pair spoke to the receivers last month who had taken over Broadblue and bought the intellectual property rights, the trade mark, the brand names and the tooling for the the 385 and 42.

Mark Jarvis admitted to YM that Broadblue had had a ‘chequered history’, but with careful organisation they could make a comeback. They are to build the boats back in the ‘ancestral home’ of UK multi-hull building: Canvey Island in Essex. Here the boatyard of TEC, already building the respected Mitchell work boats, have expertise in catamaran building which dates back to Prout.

‘Prout catamarans have 35 million miles under their keels, so they knew what they were doing,’ said Mark Jarvis, ‘I still sell loads of Prouts, but of course with their low bridge decks they are a very different beast to the modern Broadblue which points higher and is faster to windward and rarely slaps the sea with its mid-section unlike the old Prouts.’

Three 42s have already been built on Canvey and a fourth – unfinished hull – is still with the now failed Hillyard yard. Hillyard were brought in by Broadblue to produce the 42, but also to mastermind the planned Broadblue 500, which has so far remained a drawing board dream.

The 385 has always been produced in Poland and will continue to be built there, said Jarvis. The Broadblue sales office is now at the Multihull World base in Emsworth, and there is no office in Ipswich anymore.

‘The one thing being overlooked in the past is that people want smaller catamarans. Manufacturers like building bigger boats as it is more cash for the same effort, but they must listen to the customer,’ said Jarvis.