World Cat, which has battled Glacier Bay Catamarans for market share for more than a decade, has purchased the assets of shuttered Glacier Bay in a deal sealed February 20. Nevertheless, the two brands will remain competitors.
Glacier Bay, based in Washington, has run into financial difficulties in recent years and shut down the factory this winter. World Cat, based in North Carolina, is backed by the financial strength and management smarts of its parent, Hornet Capital. The holding company also owns American Composites, a leader in outsourcing services for the FRP industry.
Andrew Brown (left) and his partner, Chris Brockway (right), are majority owners of the parent. Brown continues as president of World Cat while Brockway is the new president at Glacier Bay. Together, they dominate the small powercat market, even without the recent failure of Twin Vee.
In a statement, Brockway describes Glacier Bay as Mercedes-Benz and World Cat as BMW.
"They have very distinct brands and different customers," Brockway said. "Our goal to keep these brands separate and our challenge is to continue chipping away at the V-hull market. We need to continue to educate the marketplace as to the significant advantages of owning a power catamaran. The V-hulls are our competitors . . . they have historically owned the market share we seek.”
Indeed, monohulled boats own about 90 percent of the U.S. market for fishing boats and sports cruisers.
"World Cat has competed with Glacier Bay for over 10 years and this competition will continue in the future," Brockway said. "World Cat will focus on the performance of their semi-displacement hulls and Glacier Bay will continue developing full displacement cats.
"World Cat will stay a fishing boat that can cruise while Glacier Bay will continue being a cruising boat that can fish."
Brockway said he and Brown are “thrilled to be able to carry on the strong tradition of high-quality displacement cats as pioneered by Glacier Bay. The union of these two brands will provide incredible synergy and ability to serve our combined customers better. We are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity and look forward to meeting all of the customers and dealers.”
Brockway, six days after the deal closed, took charge of the Glacier Bay Online Forum to announce the acquisition and extend a welcome to existing Glacier Bay owners:
"Glacier Bay has thousands of satisfied owners, a huge global brand, and is the father of the power catamaran market in the United States. Glacier Bay owners are proud of their boats and the incredibly soft and stable ride in rough water. They are passionate about the brand, their dealer, and their fellow Glacier Bay owners. Along with our loyal Glacier Bay dealers, we intend to do the right thing for you all and continue taking care of your service issues. Our customers are our best sales people! We need to take care of the brand advocates and our most valuable asset . . . YOU!
Currently, Glacier Bay offers 14 models, from the 2240 Dual Console to the 3480 Hardtop. In the World Cat stable, there are 10 models, from the 230SF Center Console to the 320EC Express Cabin.
Glacier Bay was founded in 1990 by Larry Graf. He left in 2005 and has been developing and promoting a power proa under the Aspen Catamarans banner.