In a statement announcing the yard’s acquisition, Westport’s president Daryl Wakefield said, “Gary Chouest has always been passionate about our industry, and we are honoured to count him as a customer and now our majority owner, as well.”
Westport LLC, the entity comprising Chouest and members of his family was formed to acquire a majority share of the company from Orin Edson, a lifelong yacht builder himself who invested in Westport in 1997.
So not only has Westport found itself new investment, it’s found it in the form of a passionate client of the yard’s products, and one who understands deeply the idea of shipbuilding and operations. Edison Chouest Offshore, based in Louisiana, with a recent audacious expansion into Brazil is a specialist in the offshore oil and gas shipbuilding industry. He also owns American Custom Yachts in Port St.Lucie, Florida, which builds custom sportfishers as well as offering refit and repair services for smaller boats.
With Westport, Chouest has added to his portfolio one of the most successful superyacht shipyards in the world. With 122 yachts over 30m delivered (their first in this range was in 1988) including ten in build today, Westport is a powerhouse of the superyacht industry and an iconic stalwart of American luxury manufacturing.
Since the announcement of the acquisition a few weeks ago, we’ve been unable to glean much more about the deal, Chouest’s relationship with the yard or much more about the man himself. A very private individual, Chouest can rightly be said to exercise remarkable discretion in his business affairs: Edison Chouest Offshore has never revealed any of its numbers, and Chouest himself has never made himself available for comment on any of his commercial operations.
Westport’s previous owner, Edson was much the same way. It’s not any surprise that Westport continues to enjoy the support of very private American businessmen who seem simply to support the yard’s business and ethos. It’s a fantastic 50th birthday present for Westport, and a wonderful example of how far an owner’s passion for the product can run.
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