Re: Historical Willard 40 sales publication

Peter P

Thanks for posting this. I see the original engine spec'd was an 85hp, probably a Beta. I doubt any were delivered with the Beta since the 120hp Deere 4045T was only a $1900 upgrade. Wonder if there are specs for the prop matched to the 85hp? Or if Willard even made a change when going to the upgraded engine? Zimmerman Marine in Virginia was the east coast dealer at the time - might be able to ping them (I forget the name of the the owner - he's a frequent contributor to Passagemaker Magazine so should be fairly easy to find). 

In the 2000 timeframe, I was actively delivering boats, and a standard presenter at all TrawlerFests. The Nordhavn 40, a direct competitor to the Willard 40, carried a list price of about the same as the W40's $420k. N40 production moved from the Pacific Seacraft yard in southern California to China where the first 10-hulls carried a base-price of $399k. It was impossible for Willard to compete with the N40 given the N40 had recently completed their round-the-world stunt, plus the Willard's fit/finish and layout were not perceived as positively as the Nordhavn. 

There are two things Willard could have done that may have altered their trajectory:
  1. Stretch the boat to 42-feet. This would of course add more space and volume, but perhaps more importantly, would differentiate it from the dozens of used W40's on the market that sold for $150k at the time. Note, the W36 hull was originally drawn as a 34-footer and was stretched to 36-feet by Wm Garden at the request of Willard Marine. If you look closely at the W36 midship, it's a bit slab-sided as a result of the stretch. This would have been relatively inexpensive since the expense in re-launching the W40 was in the tooling and deck-molds. 
  2. "Voyager Model." Eliminate the side-decks. The W40 is a relatively narrow boat which, when coupled with the double-ended stern, makes for cramped quarters which is really exacerbated by narrow saloon due to walk-around decks on both sides. Nordhavn had an assymetric layout - side-deck to starboard only. They have recently gone to full-width saloon with their W41. Helmsman 38 and North Pacific 45 are somewhat recent entrants into the trawler market and have sold a ton of boats - both with full-width saloons. 
I miss Willard in the trawler market.



M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Hull #40

Ensenada, MX

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