Few, if any, yacht designs have as long and interesting a timeline as the Westport 112 motoryacht. This model’s longevity is due entirely to its popularity with buyers, as evidenced by the 50 hulls built to date. Currently being delivered at the rate of three per year, there is no end in sight.
This level of long-term commercial success requires both new and repeat buyers. It’s not surprising that owners of smaller yachts, Westport and otherwise, would look to the 112 as their desires and resources grew. While that is the norm, one buyer taking delivery of a new 2012 model traded in his 1998 Westport 112.
Such an exchange indicates continuing satisfaction with the construction and functionality of the model; a cordial relationship with the builder and its after-sale support services; and a craving for the enhanced features available only on the newer version of the yacht. Among the most prominent of those elements is the newly optional arrangement featuring a main-deck master suite.
Phil Purcell, Westport’s longtime vice president of sales, says the new arrangement was proposed to reignite interest among buyers during the economic slump that first hit the marine industry in 2008. The layout was intended to appeal to Middle Eastern yachtsmen, and the first hull with an on-deck master was delivered to a client in Lebanon. Subsequent sales of the Westport 112, however, have been to North American buyers. Purcell is quick to point out that both of the arrangement plans are and will remain available, but he predicts that three out of four new builds will have the on-deck master stateroom.
Click here to see a full photo gallery of the Westport 112.
Purcell certainly knows his stuff when it comes to yachts and the buyers, but I’d bet his prediction will hold true only until Westport’s team of innovative designers, under the leadership of naval architect Taylor Olson and engineering coordinator Tom Fox, develops yet another incarnation of the venerable model. To understand just how Westport has arrived where it is today, let’s take a look at the origins and the journey of the yard and the Westport 112 from inception to the present.
Westport Shipyard was founded in 1964 in the southwestern Washington town of the same name. Initially, it focused on building vessels for the local commercial fishing industry, but word of the yard’s quality work soon spread and others came knocking. Brothers Rick and Randy Rust bought the shipyard in 1977. The Rusts brought a broader outlook to the company and soon added commercial passenger vessels to Westport’s portfolio.
An attractive pair of 92-foot passenger ferries serving California’s Catalina Island generated a ton of publicity for the yard, and their offshore performance brought inquiries for other applications. Having heavily invested in specialized equipment to speed the production and enhance the quality of fiberglass hulls, superstructures and other molded parts, Westport received orders from custom builders around the Pacific Northwest to supply their lamination needs.