Cookson, Lewmar and Reeds Casualties of Climate.

The effects of the economic climate are starting to bite. We try to put a positive spin on things and believe that the sport of yacht racing provides incredible value for money, yet in the real world, companies that rely on people buying boats are beginning to suffer. Here are a couple of stories that have come across the editor’s desk in the last few days.

Cookson Boats Lays off its entire workforce.

The build list, for the New Zealand yard, reads like a Who’s Who of famous yachts, some more recent builds being the late Steve Fossett’s Playstation, Roy Disney’s Pyewacket, Greg Elliott’s Maximus, Brian Thompson’s Pindar and a gaggle of TP 52s, including Bribon, whiwh is often campaigned by HM King Juan Carlos of Spain.

The yard has also built the Team New Zealand America’s Cup boats and has just delivered the TP52 that the team will campaign in the 2009 Audi Med Cup.

Lewmar Restructure with Job Cuts.

Marine equipment manufacturer Lewmar has announced up to 95 job cuts in a major company re-structure in response to tough global trading conditions. The majority of the job loses will come from its UK manufacturing base in Havant with some additional redundancies in USA, Australia, France and The Netherlands. This news comes on the back of important re-financing of the business by its bank and major shareholders to reorganise and secure the future of this long established yacht hardware manufacturer.

In a move to resize the business, Lewmar’s chairman and CEO Peter Tierney explains;

“Lewmar has seen equipment sales to volume boat builders decrease globally by over 30% in recent months, with no real indication of a recovery this year. We have been left with no alternative other than to re-structure the business to suit the market. Although it saddens me to announce these redundancies, it was the inevitable and necessary action that needed to take place in response to the tough trading conditions we face in 2009.”

Reeds Nautical Online Almanac Ltd Ceases Trading.

Reeds Nautical Online Almanac Ltd, the internet version of the Reeds Nautical Almanac, has announced it has ceased trading.

The company, which was launched at the Southampton Boat Show last September, cited: “the worsening economic conditions” as the reason for being unable to continue trading.

The Reeds Online website states:

“We sincerely apologise to all those who have purchased the product over the past few months as we will be unable to continue to deliver the online edition of the Almanac.”