Willards - the first production trawler yachts!
Willard Marine was founded in 1957 to build custom fiberglass yachts. Its first trawler yacht, the Willard 36, was launched in 1961--three years before the first Grand Banks, 10 years before the first Marine Trader, and 28 years before the first Nordhavn.
The William Garden designed Vega 36 was sold primarily as a sedan flybridge cruiser, but also as a motorsailer and a pilothouse North Sea Trawler style. Until 1977 the term "Vega" was used to denote the hull style. It does not identify a model. (More about William Garden and the Vega 36.)
A wide range of 30 and 40-foot models were added to the line in the 70's and 80's. Although never intended as luxury yachts, it is a testament to the line that so many of them are still around, and are highly sought after by knowledgeable boaters looking for tough, comfortable, dependable boats.
Willard ceased pleasure boat manufacturing around 2003, to focus on military and commercial vessel sales. ["End of an Era" Press Release]
The following descriptions were provided by Patrick Gerety of Willard Marine in 2000.
Willard 30: From WBO #211:
Vega 30The Willard Vega 30 was produced from 1972 to 1975. During those 4 short years, an incredible 110 Vega 30's were pulled form Willard molds. Willard Marine produced more of this model than any other. This model was built in 4 different versions, - Nomad, Voyager, Horizon, and Searcher. Today, a Vega 30 in good condition is worth 2 times what it cost new.
The Nomad version is a 'sedan' style with flybridge above on the boat deck. 29 of this version were built.
The Voyager is a raised 'pilothouse' style with a full width saloon aft of the pilothouse. There were 29 of this version built.The Horizon is a 'motorsailer' with low profile superstructure. There were 28 Horizon versions and 2 Horizon II versions built.
The Searcher is a 'fishboat' style with pilothouse and flybridge directly above the pilothouse. A total of 20 hulls were built. At the time, it was the least requested version. But today, the fishboat, retro look has enjoyed a resurgence of interest and this version is particularly in demand.
In addition, 2 hulls were produced and sold as 'hull only'.
Willard 8 ton Cutter
Willard began producing a cutter-rigged sailboat on the Vega 30 hull in response to the energy crisis. Production began in 1975 and ended in 1976. A total of 30 Cutters were produced in that two-year period.
In 1976 Willard Marine began production of the "new" Willard 30, often called the Mark II or 30/4. This new model had an all fiberglass superstructure, unlike the earlier Vega 30. This model has been produced in three different versions and production continues today. A total of 28 boats were built.
The W30FS is a flybridge sedan version. This version is a derivative of the Vega 30 Nomad design.
The W30PH is a raised pilothouse design. It is somewhat similar to the Vega 30 Voyager design. The first W30PH was built in 1999. Two more were built in 2001.
The W30LA is a unique adaptation of the W30 design to make a 30-foot boat functional as a 'liveaboard'. This version cannot be compared to anything. There is nothing quite like it on the market today. One W30LA was built in 1999.
Willard 36: From WBO #218:
Willard 40: From WBO #218:
- The Willard Register page contains a complete list of all of the hulls built.
- Summary Page of Willard Models (pdf)