OMC, the manufacturer of the widely successful and popular Evinrude and Johnson outboard brands, had experienced a dramatic drop in sales world-wide as it struggled to overcome the problems associated with its recently developed Ficht two-stroke fuel injection system.
In Australia, OMC not only handled the distribution of the Evinrude and Johnson outboard brands, but also manufactured the award winning Haines Hunter range of fibreglass boats.
Ferrier Hodgson, a Sydney based accounting firm, has been appointed to administer the Australian side of the business, and has confirmed that the profitable divisions will be sold off. Early reports indicate that the founder of Haines Hunter, John Haines, may well be interested in buying the brand name back, but there are also a number of other interested parties beginning to circle the remains of OMC Australia as it now lies dead in the water.
As I write this, word has come through that with a combined bid of US$95 million, the huge Genmar Holdings and Bombardier Corporation, have successfully tended for the assets of OMC in the US. But this will not affect the Australian situation, which is still well up in the air.
From Club Marine's point of view, we are deeply concerned over the current value of existing motors and those that may well be dumped on the market, especially if warranties and spare parts are not going to be available.
At this stage we have not changed our underwriting attitude towards OMC products, but we are watching the OMC scenario closely, and will make changes should the situation take a turn for the worse.
On a brighter note, the 2001 Club Marine Southern 80 water ski race went off once again without a hitch with, for the first time, a sterndrive powered boat taking out the honours. Read on page 10 how The Sting thundered home for victory.
Continuing our Murray River theme, is a truly spectacular pictorial from Club Marine Magazine regular Bill Bachman. It has always been a pleasure being able to display images of the quality that Bill can provide, but this time I'm sure you will agree with me that Bill has surpassed himself. We are so impressed with this collection from Bill that we will be running a three-part feature in the magazine.
Once again you will find the latest winter catalogue of Club Marine merchandise enclosed in this issue. As usual it is a pleasure to bring you a quality range of items that are both fashionable and functional. My only suggestion is that you get in early as, even though this catalogue will be run over two issues, most items are limited in stock and delay in ordering could see your selection sold out.
Also in this issue we have the first of what will be regular articles on the Volvo Ocean Race Round the World which starts in September. Warren Steptoe has all the good info on how to fish Harvey Bay, and Chris Caswell and his family find an ideal cruising spot in the San Juan Islands in North America.
Enjoy the magazine and remember that your safety is our fist priority.