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Old 11-30-2014, 10:12 AM   #18
Senior Member
City: Gainesville, FL
Country: USA
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 243
First of all, let me make it clear that I am not employed by Mirage Manufacturing/Great Harbour Trawlers any longer. Ken Fickett and I are still very good friends, but I have moved on to become Director of Sales & Marketing for a worldwide truck accessories manufacturer in South Florida. So, I can’t really speak in any detail to the current situation at Mirage. However, I can give you a bit of explanation about what happened and why there has not been much apparent movement in the Great Harbour brand over the past few years.

As the recession deepened in about 2009, Americans were no longer able to pull HUGE chunks of equity out of their homes, cash-in their 401Ks and retire at 50 anymore. Consequently, Great Harbour's niche "retire-sell-everything-move-aboard-and-sail-into-the-sunset-on-our-new-displacement-trawler" market more or less completely dried up. Employees were laid off, buildings were idled, advertising was discontinued, and molds were put away. However, unlike a lot of boat manufacturers, who went broke during the recession, Mirage OWNED all their buildings, molds, boats, etc. outright and consequently, with no huge debt to service, were able to stay solvent. Plus, Ken is nothing if not a survivor - having been in business building boats in the same location for almost 45 years. So the core group of remaining employees continued by doing repairs and refits on Great Harbours, Mirages, and pretty much anything made of fiberglass. And all the while, Ken continued to design and build new sportfish boats, bay boats, and skiffs.

I spoke to the plant manager the other day and he told me that they had just begun laying up a brand new N37 for a new customer. And that is very good news indeed for the Great Harbour brand. So, in answer to your question about the future of the company, I will just say that, knowing what I know about Ken Fickett and Mirage Manufacturing, if I was in the market for a new displacement trawler, I would have NO hesitation ordering a new Great Harbour from them!

As far as dimensions, changes, etc., I am going to defer those questions to Ken. Give him a call. He'll be happy to supply you with those figures. I will say that I don't think anyone ever felt "trapped" in the big, airy saloon of a Great Harbour N-Series. Also, contrary to how it might appear to you, every N-Series boat made (21 N37s and 6 N47s) has EXACTLY the same dimensions of saloon and cockpit. I will also caution you that there are also some very real obstructions to simply "redesigning" the interior of the boat with "workout rooms", "offices" and the like. It is a boat - not an open warehouse. There are multiple considerations of mold dimensions, steps, placement of air conditioners, storage, deck support, etc. Ken builds a "semi-custom" boat, it's true; However, it isn't a blank canvas. Fair warning, okay?

If you are serious about a Great Harbour, I STRONGLY suggest you plan a trip down to Gainesville to visit with Ken, see the new boat in progress and discuss your wants and needs. It will definitely clear up any remaining questions you might have.

Cheers! ERIC
"Before you criticize someone, you should first walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes." Stephen Wright.
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