Berthon set to celebrate their centenary in 2018

The May family is celebrating 100 years of Berthon Boat Company and Lymington shipyard ownership.

Frank Aubrey May brought Berthon from Edward Berthon in 1917. He partnered with his brother Harry, who bought the lease for the Lymington shipyard in 1918 from Courtenay & Sons, closing the Romsey premises of Berthon and moving it to Lymington.

In 1925, with the financial support of third brother George May, the shipyard was also purchased by the Mays.

Diverse business
Harry May subsequently developed a diverse business in dinghies, racing yachts, commercial work and admiralty contracts. Over 30 West Solent One Design yachts were built, including an export order of five to Yacht Club Argentino. The company’s Gauntlet class was designed in 1934 and won fame after winning a race with a competitor brand. 33 models were built in total.

Brokerage beginnings
In 1932, the AGM of the Yacht Brokers Association in London marked the beginnings of what is now the Berthon International yacht brokerage business. The first brokerage advertisement appeared in 1935 under the heading ‘Lymington Shipyard – Motor and Steam Yachts’.

World War II saw the yard turned over to Admiralty work with 215 boats built, including MTBs, fast motor launches and minesweepers.

Harry’s grandson, David May, took over the Lymington shipyard business in the 1950s and was an active yacht racer who built numerous winners.

Modern guise
In 1967, David May updated Lymington by dredging the shipyard foreshore and building the marina. Berthon’s Lymington Marina was officially opened in 1968.

David’s sons, Brian and Dominic May took over in 1990 and still own and run Berthon today.

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