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Seattle Yachts acquires Tartan Legacy

Published on April 2nd, 2020

Fairport Harbor, OH (April 2, 2020) – Seattle Yachts International has acquired the 60-year-old boat manufacturing operation, Tartan Legacy Yachts.

Seattle Yachts has formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, Marine Manufacturing Group LLC (MMG), to purchase the assets of Tartan Legacy Yachts, a manufacturing operation that produces Tartan Sailing Yachts, Legacy Downeast Yachts, and AMP® brand carbon fiber masts and spars.

Seattle Yachts has been a dealer for both Tartan and Legacy yachts for several years and had a number of boats in the Tartan Legacy production pipeline when it became evident the Ohio-based manufacturer was experiencing financial difficulties.

“It’s no secret that Tartan-Legacy had fallen onto some hard times of late and was struggling despite having a healthy order book and some nineteen boats in process on the production floor,” noted Peter Whiting, Seattle Yachts Managing Partner. “We could see that, with some needed recapitalization and the infusion of some heavy-duty boat building management talent, we could restore the brands to their historically strong positions in the market.

“We also felt that would ultimately be to the benefit of everyone, including current and future customers, other Tartan-Legacy dealers, and, of course, ourselves, who had significant investments at stake, not to mention the 45 some people who work in the operation.”

Whiting explained further that when the urgency of the situation became clear, he retained well-known marine industry consultant and former president and CEO of Palmer Johnson Yachts, Phil Friedman, to help evaluate what might be done and, later, to consult in the acquisition.

“To an outsider with little experience in the recreational marine industry, the speed at which this process moved might seem astounding,” noted Friedman. “But in situations like this, accelerated decisions are the norm, not the exception.

“The fact is, buying and owning a boat manufacturing operation is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it something for gentlemen hobbyists or bean-counters in pinstriped suits. It takes talent, hands-on experience in the industry, guts, and a fair measure of tolerance for risk.”

Friedman will remain available to help with the reorganization and relaunch of the Tartan Legacy operation, with Bill Macnab also joining the MMG management team. Macnab, a long-time yacht production pro, has spent a couple of decades building boats and yachts in Asia, at firms like McConaghy, Prout, Tri-Con, and Allegro — and who, before that, worked for many years at Westbay Sonship in British Columbia, Canada.

“Our main goal at Tartan-Legacy is, in the short term, to improve processes and through-put of the operation, while maintaining the high quality of construction, fit, and finish for which these brands have been known,” shared Macnab.

Tim Jackett, Tartan-Legacy’s perennial in-house designer and product development manager, will round out the team going forward.

Tartan-Legacy manufacturing operation is being moved to a new 52,000 square feet facility in Painesville, OH, about five miles from its current location. The new facility will be slightly larger and more efficient for boat building.

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