James River Ventures, a New England investment consortium, today announced the acquisition of Ocean Marine in Portsmouth, Va. from Marine Hydraulics International (MHI). The new owners simultaneously reported a collaborative effort with Colonna Yachts to further expand the capabilities and opportunities in the repair and refit of megayachts.
Originally the home of a Hampton Roads Coast Guard station, MHI acquired the 19.5-acre site from the City of Portsmouth in 2001. At that time, MHI installed a 1250-ton NAVSEA-certified Synchrolift capable of hauling yachts up to 240 feet in length. In addition, MHI constructed twin 275-foot climate-controlled buildings to accommodate year-round repairs, refits and paint work. These buildings have an OSHA-approved ventilation system that pressurizes the interior to eliminate dust and assure consistent quality work.
“Ocean Marine is the best facility of its kind on the East Coast,” said Johnson. “I’ve been in the yacht yard business for 45 years, and this facility is the finest I have ever experienced. The marina has deep water access located at mile marker 0.5 on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). Our association with Colonna Yachts will allow us to become a major player in refits, repairs and paint application for the megayacht market.”
Colonna Yachts, a division of Colonna’s Shipyard, specializes in hull and machinery refits, main engine and generator re-power, engineering, class surveys, shafts and bearings, and repair and installation of all ship board systems. The company’s workforce consists of machinists, welders, shipfitters, pipefitters, electricians, riggers and project managers.
“By marrying Ocean Marine’s modern facility with Colonna, a five-generation family-owned shipyard, our skilled workforce will give rise to one of the largest full-service megayacht facilities in North America,” said Tom Godfrey, president of Colonna’s Shipyard.
“The existing workforce is critical to the success of Ocean Marine,” stated new owners, John S. Johnson and Jim Mattingly, James River Ventures. “The present employees are highly skilled and have had incredible loyalty to Ocean Marine since its inception in 2001.”
“We owe a debt of thanks to our financial advisors, The Westbury Group of Southport, Conn., and to our bankers at BB&T in Chesapeake, Va. who have both made the extra effort to realize our goal and close this deal,” said Mattingly.
About Ocean Marine
Ocean Marine Yacht Center, a 19.5 acre site in Portsmouth, Va., is located just a half-mile south of mile-marker zero on the ICW. The new complex features a modern marina with all amenities, an indoor dry storage building, a complete parts department and an unparalleled service and repair facility for boats of all sizes.
About Colonna’s Shipyard
Founded in 1875, Colonna’s Shipyard is the oldest family-owned, full-service private shipyard in the United States. The company’s reputation is built on a long tradition of quality workmanship, on-time deliveries, cost-effectiveness and solid business management. Colonna’s dry docks over 225 vessels a year on average and is one of the leading propulsion conversion yards on the East Coast. Colonna Yachts began service to the megayacht industry in 1992, and soon after established a distinct yacht yard facility for servicing yachts up to 58 meters. In 2003, Colonna’s also established a service designed for the special needs of large sailing yachts. Colonna’s full service team includes Colonna’s Shipyard, Colonna Yachts, Steel America, Colonna Down River, Norfolk Barge and Trade Team.
About James River Ventures
James River Ventures is an investment group headed by John S. Johnson and Jim Mattingly. Johnson has been active in the marine and maritime industries since 1964. He is a founding partner of Brewer Yacht Yards in New England and has extensive experience in property development and management. Johnson holds seats on several civic-based organizations. He is the past chairman and co-founder of the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, R.I., the Coast Guard Foundation, Connecticut Marine Trades Association and the New London Development Corporation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Tufts University.
Mattingly has over 40 years of experience in the marine industry and has held key positions with Palmer Johnson and Derecktor Shipyard. A University of Wisconsin graduate, Mattingly currently serves as president of Reflex Advance Marine (RAM) USA, Inc. A recognized world class racer, Mattingly was part of Ted Turner’s victorious effort in the 1977 America’s Cup. He also served as the crew boss and watch captain for Tenacious and other sailing yachts owned by Turner.