Credit crunch victim

Sunsail, which has had a base at Largs Yacht Haven since the early nineties, is to close its Scottish operation on 31st October. The fleet of 15 Jeanneau Sun Fast 37s will be put on the market and local manager Ian Macdonald will be made redundant. Three seasonal jobs will also be lost.

Sunsail has cited declining turnover for the decision, which the company blames on the current economic climate and slackening demand for bareboat, corporate and training chartering, as well as fear of the effect of increasing diesel prices.

However the decision to close Largs base was taken after a strategic review of the Sailing Schools and Events operation of Sunsail and whilst the profitability of Largs was one of the elements of the review, this was not the main reason for closure.

For Sunsail to continue to operate from Largs, we would have required considerable investment in the fleet as the current range of yachts were getting older. Therefore it was decided that investing in other parts of the business was more commercially viable.

This does not seem to be a general charter business downturn, as another company based at Largs reports increasing business and is planning two new boats for its bareboat fleet for 2009.

Largs Yacht Haven MD Carolyn Elder told Boating Business: ‘Fortunately, other operators are considering taking over the Sunsail fleet with a view to concentrating on the corporate events market, which hopefully will retain related business in catering, boat maintenance and marina berthing.’