Power & Motoryacht: How does your passion both for boating and business feed innovation?
Morgan Huntley: I am my target customer. From the tiem I was 14 skiing behind the 13-foot Boston Whaler my parents bought me to the time I was a year-round New England liveaboard on my 43 Trawler I have spent countless hours enjoying time aboard. Here at Vanquish we are boaters building boats for boaters. I know what features I want to see in a boat and I know what is just fluff. Twenty-four hours a day I’m thinking about the next big thing for Vanquish Boats. Every time I see a feature I like in anything that moves, I look at how we can incorporate that into our boats. The head door on the 26 DC was inspired by the side door on an excavator that was diging a trench in front of the factory one day. During the design process I’m constantly asking myself “How do I lay out this section of the boat to maximize enjoyment and functionally.” Because I know I will be on board enjoying what my team and I have built.
Power & Motoryacht: What lesson from your past has helped move your business forward?
Morgan Huntley: I learned a lot about building semi-custom boats from the late Mike Fiore at Outer Limits. I was just a factory worker back then but I would watch the way Mike would take potential customers through a current build when discussing the owner’s new build. Mike was a master of steering the owner in the right direction with out squashing their dreams of ordering a boat with their unique signature on it.
Power & Motoryacht: How will your products change to meet the needs of the evolving marketplace?
Morgan Huntley: The boat buyer is becoming more and more educated on composite construction and we intend to double down on our philosophy of only using the best possible materials on each and every one of our boats. Most of the key members of the company are trained as traditional boatbuilders. The classic foundation is there, which is what makes the boats beautiful but we constantly push our selves to stay on innovations and pick the best ones that can maximize value for the customer.
For example, we went from patterning each boat for the cushions to having the whole boat digitized and now each cushion set is CNC cut. Besides the obvious price advantage here, now a customer can order replacement cushions for the life of their boat Just by sending us their HIN. We have just finished reworking our digital presence so everything is mobile friendly. Every employee, regardless of their position, has a company e-mail address that they can access from their smartphone so drawings, and technical data can be sent to them no matter where everyone is.
Finally, look for new outboard models from us. The outboard market is strong right now and our first foray into outboards has been successful and is now a substantial part of our businss. While we started as an inboard boat manufacturer and will never lose sight of our roots, the new outboard technology and customer demand is impossible to ignore.
This article originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.