After a half century of building the iconic Contessa range of yachts, one of the UK's best known boat builders, Jeremy Rogers, is handing the management of the business over to his son Kit. But he will remain very much part of the team and on hand to offer advice and vision earned from a life time of boat building and racing.
Having apprenticed as a boat builder under the watchful eye of Jack Chippendale, Jeremy set up the business in 1961, and within ten years had one of the most successful boat manufacturing companies in Britain.
By the late 70s and early 80s the company included five purpose-built factories in central Lymington and a workforce of nearly 200 employees. Production included Contessas ranging in size from the traditional Contessa 26' to the Doug Peterson designed grand prix 35s, 39s and 43s, many of which were exported to a worldwide market eager for his innovative and beautifully finished yachts.
Jeremy has had an illustrious sailing career to match - named Yachtsman of the Year in 1974, winning Admiral's Cup and One Ton Cup campaigns and, more recently, being three times winner of the Gold Roman Bowl in the Round The Island Race. Last year he was honoured with the Ocean Cruising Club's Award of Merit.
"I'm delighted that Kit is coming on board. He was a skipper himself for many years and can relate to the technical issues our customers have. He has great integrity and is also a pleasure to deal with. I know the customers will like him - he'll do a great job" said Jeremy
Today the Jeremy Rogers' boat yard is at Lymington Yacht Haven, where the team carries out boat repairs and maintenance and bespoke refurbishments. The company also builds new Contessa 32s to order and manufactures the award winning Atlas Carbon Davit.
"It's a really exciting time" said Kit Rogers. "I'm working on expanding the composites side of the business and want to take better advantage of our waterside location to offer all aspects of boat repair and maintenance to our customers. I want people to know that we are competitive and that we deal with all boats, not just Contessas - and not just sailing boats."