Cornish Crabbers appoints liquidator

Cornish Crabber boat in a yard being finished off Main image of a brand new Pilot Cutter 30 under construction courtesy of Cornish Crabbers Fans Facebook.

British boatbuilder Cornish Crabbers has been placed into liquidation following a creditors meeting.

The virtual meeting of creditors on 13 March was convened by Peter Thomas, MD, who joined the British boatbuilder in 2001 as an assistant salesman and has seen it through some troubled and successful times.

In its latest unaudited financial statements (31 December 2022), the company was looking at over £1m owed to creditors in a variety of forms (including bank loans and taxes).

The notice has been published in The London Gazette, one of the official journals of record or government gazettes of the Government of the United Kingdom. It shows that liquidator Michelle Anne Weir (IP No. 9107) of Lameys, One Courtenay Park, Newton Abbot, Devon, was appointed on Friday (15 March 2024).

Last week, an industry source told MIN in confidence that the current market is very tough for small boats. “No boats under eight metres are selling at the moment,” the source said. There are hundreds of boats sitting on forecourts that aren’t selling. The market is really flat. Cornish Crabbers doesn’t generally make big boats. The volume of boats for sale under eight metres could be the problem.”

A different anonymous source told MIN: “There are too many crabbers out there, loved by many people, for the company to disappear completely. Look at its history, it always comes back from the brink. There are always people who want crabbers. Someone will grab it at some point and it will be a profitable boatbuilding business once again, I’m sure. It’s a classic shape and design that people love.”

Cornish Crabbers was established in 1979 (building on the foundation of Westerly Boats), and became what it terms as ‘a nautical icon’ with the introduction of the Shrimper 19, a design by the acclaimed Roger Dongray.

In 2009, the brand was bought by previous customer and entrepreneur Philip Langsdale. Select Yachts, which then made the Cornish Crabber range, collapsed in November 2008. At the time, Thomas – who was by then sales manager – told the BBC that most of the £700,000 investment had “gone into buying the factory instead of renting the factory and just securing people’s jobs well into next year.

“The order book is covering that quite happily at the moment and next year we’re hoping to get near 30 people in total.”

By 2001 the company had established itself as the leading producer of gaff-rigged boats, and was producing 12 sailboat designs plus powerboats.

Main image of a brand new Pilot Cutter 30 under construction courtesy of Cornish Crabbers Fans Facebook.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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