Windboats, originally based in Wroxham, Norfolk, is a boatyard with a rich and interesting history. It was established in 1920 by Graham Bunn – a master craftsman and yacht designer. Graham was the son of another master boatbuilder who built boats near Wroxham in the late 1800’s and from whom he learnt his skills.
Initially building small wooden yachts and larger power boats, the yard developed an early reputation for excellence in boatbuilding and produced one of the finest hire fleets in Broadland.
Changing times and demand for larger vessels meant a change of premises and the yard moved in 1932 to Wroxham. Whilst the site may retain some of its original features, the yard itself has changed considerably over the years.
The name Windboats was formally introduced in 1946 by the then owner Donald Hagenbach, but in fact dates back to 1933 when the hire fleet became known as the “Windboats” due to the inclusion of “wind” into all the hire boat class names, for example Finewind, Fairwind, Southwind,Merrywind and so on. Windboats ceased to operate its hire fleet in 1969, deciding to concentrate on building pleasure and commercial craft.
In 1974, the business changed hands for the third time when Donald Hagenback retired. Windboats’ own production director and naval architect, Trevor James, purchased the business.
The company continued building and fitting out Seacrete vessels for both pleasure and commercial use, including the well known range of Endurance yachts. In 1983 the company moved into GRP yacht production with the start of a long association with Oyster Marine, one of the worlds top marques in luxury yachts.
After 30 years of experience building Oysters, Windboats diversified into building quality yachts for GT Yachts and outfitting commercial vessels. In 2013 the company purchased the well known and respected power boat builder Hardy Marine. 2014 saw the fortieth year of ownership of the business by the James family and the start of a new partnership with luxury British yacht builder, Gunfleet Marine.
In 2018 the Wroxham yard was merged into the larger facility at North Walsham where the Hardy motor yachts are built, offering more space and more efficient production of the Hardy & Gunfleet range.