A FAMILY firm which is based at St. Angelo Airport, last week launched the first of ten £345,000 luxury cruisers it plans to manufacture this year.
The firm, ‘Westwood Marine Leisure Ltd’ is owned and operated by the Leonard family from Farnamullan, Lisbellaw, father, Tom, son, Mark (managing director) and daughter, Louise, the company’s project and operations manager.
The launch took place at Crawford’s Marina, near Lisnaskea where Tom Leonard has operated a large boat sales and maintenance business for the past 30 years.
This year, the family opened a new luxury marina at Belnaleck,
“Westwood” has been operating out of St Angelo since August 2012.
The firm employs five people but has plans to recruit another 5-10 people in the next 12 months.
Louise Leonard, said the target for the next 12 months was to gear the workforce up and move into full scale production, with the intention to build 10 boats this year, as well as develop the new C405 model.
She commented: “In addition to the A405 we have just launched, we are starting to develop our new C405 which is a coupe version.
“It offers all the same luxury and versatility as the A405 but on one flat level, which is great for older people and those with restricted mobility and, also, cruising on the Continent where there are height restrictions with bridges.
“We also plan to further develop our range over the coming year with plans to add a 360 and 460 to our range.”
The new craft is now heading for the prestigious Southampton Show where it will be the only boat from Northern Ireland of its size on show.
Ms Leonard said there was increasing positive sounding from the UK and European economy that the boating industry had recovered.
“British Marine Federation have predicted a 5% increase in attendees at this year’s Southampton Boat Show which is attended by around 120,000 over the 10 days.
“With this particular style of boat, there are only really two – three other main competitors, and we feel that Westwood can compete alongside these.”
“With our combination of skills and experience”, she added, “the three of us feel we can take the brand onto the next level and grow it to be a main competitor in the UK and European marine industry.”
The launch was attended by the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster.
She said: “It is encouraging to see the Leonard family investing in advanced manufacturing which is so important to our economic growth. The firm is a good example of the kind of innovative small company that will help regenerate the economy.”
Tom Leonard said his team had spent a lot of time refining the new boat to ensure it was one of the best in its class.
“The new model has been well received to date. We’ve secured a number of agents in Great Britain and have a number of people coming to view it at the Southampton Boat Show.”
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