Luxury catamaran builder, Gunboat, files for bankruptcy

Gunboat International, a builder of high performance luxury sailing catamarans says it has filed for bankruptcy protection in a “perfect storm” of difficult business circumstances.

Company owner Peter Johnstone posted a letter on the Gunboat International Facebook page saying that a legal dispute with a boat building company was central to his own company’s financial problems.

“The Chinese built Gunboat 60 series cost Gunboat a fortune to sort out,” Johnstone wrote. “Gunboat felt an obligation to its customers and spent millions out of pocket, which proved to be a huge strain on our resources, focus and productivity.”

Johnstone said the builder had fought payment and reimbursement of building, rework and warranty costs. Gunboat International eventually filed a lawsuit against China-based boat builder Hudson Yacht and Marine Industries, who filed a counterclaim for breach of contract and separately for defamation.

The owner listed a number of other issues faced by the company, which specialises in building carbon fibre catamarans. These included boat accidents and the costs of investing in increased production. Ultimately, however, he said the problems were his own responsibility as sole owner.

“Business has ups and downs,” Johnstone said. “I have enjoyed 30 years of both results … I have learned far more from the failures than the accolades. We have a lot of good people, and we will see our way out of this period in the next two years.”

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