Jobs boom at Hoveton boatyard

Chief executive David Tydeman, centre, on an Oyster 625 being built at Oyster Yachts workshops at Hoveton. With him from left, Terry Day, workshop manager; Adrian Perrin, quality control manager; David Russell, engineering manager; and Kevin Webster, general manager. Picture: Denise Bradley

EDP Top 100 firm Oyster Yachts has doubled its workforce in Hoveton, adding 59 boatbuilders and six management jobs, since taking over the former Landamores site a year ago.

And chief executive David Tydeman predicts a further 50 jobs will be on the way during 2014 thanks to buoyant worldwide orders.

The economic downturn has not slowed interest in its luxury yachts, ranging in price from £600,000 to £6m, and the firm's order book is already worth £30m into 2015.

The Oyster progress results from its sale last year out of venture capital ownership to two private Dutch investors, who, says Mr Tydeman, promise a future 'for all the right reasons, not just financial return'.

He said: 'On our current capacity at the yard, we are 75pc sold for 2014. That is a nice position to be in but it stops me offering early deliveries on other boats we might sell.

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'That is why we are investing in extra capacity, putting up four extra bays for which we already have planning permission. That will allow us to create an extra 50 local jobs throughout the year.'

Oyster's Hoveton yard is focusing on yachts up to 80ft, while its Southampton yard builds bigger boats, including the 100 and 125 superyachts.

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Mr Tydeman said special owner events, including its world rally - a guided world cruise currently taking place to celebrate the company's 40th anniversary – helped to stimulate interest from buyers.

'We sold a number of new boats into the rally, which were built in 2011 and 2012, and our next world rally in 2016 is already well subscribed,' he said.

Their market was truly global with sales across Europe and as far afield as Australia and America.

When he took control of the Ipswich-based company four years ago the future was looking less than buoyant.

He said: 'There was a solid order book but it was declining. The year 2009 was a tough one for

incoming orders but in 2010 we started the recovery.'

Turnover on core business on Oyster yachts went from £27m in 2010 to £35m in 2012.

For a wider picture on the region's boatbuilding read this month's Anglia Afloat.

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