Lord Nelson Ltd. and Ocean Eagle Yachts went out of business in 1989. U.S. based Pearson Yachts, the largest recreational boat maker up to that time--at their peak they had nine production lines and sold one new boat per day--went bankrupt in 1991. Their deeper pockets allowed them to hold on a little longer than Lord Nelson but they too were done in by the same tidal wave of events. According to Daniel Spurr's Heart of Glass those events included the institution of the 10% luxury tax on new boats, anxiety over the Persian Gulf War, high oil prices, fear of recession, and the flood of good used boats on the market. William Shaw, Pearson's CEO, reflecting on why his company, along with much of the boat building industry had recently gone under, succinctly said, "No one really needs a boat."
Pearson is where Jim Backus got his start designing boats. In fact, in 1982 he'd just left Pearson to hang up his own shingle when he won the 37 Victory Tug commission.
Dave Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63
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