Approved - 13 November 2009


A world-renowned North Tyneside boatbuilder is set to see its boats competing on the waters at the 2012 Olympics – and is already reaping the commercial rewards of the run-up to the London games.

Ovington Boats is recognised as a world leader in the manufacture in high performance dinghies and yachts, and its boats have consistently achieved success at Olympic, World, European and UK sailing events.

The management team of managing director Chris Turner, sales and marketing director Dave Hall, and finance director Veronica Brown conducted an MBO of the company in 2006 with the help of a £250,000 investment from Evolve Finance, the debt and mezzanine finance division of regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.

And despite the difficulties caused by the global recession, it has managed to record a 20 per cent increase in turnover over the last 12 months, a trend which has been also been reflected in the company’s profitability.

Ovington Boats specialises in designing and producing small, hand made high performance dinghies, including the renowned Olympic 49er class, as well as the 29er, Flying 15, Musto Skiff and B14 dinghy.

As well as growing its core boat-building operations since the MBO, Ovington has also increased production space by adding a mezzanine floor to its building on the North Shields Fish Quay.

It has also undertaken more contract building on behalf of other firms, and has diversified its product range to maximise sales opportunities.

Veronica Brown says: “The years leading up to an Olympic games are when the competitors are trying to both secure their places on their respective countries’ teams, and find the boat that will give them the best chance of success when they get out on the water.

“For us, this means a real boost in trade, and as we’re one of only a few specialist boatbuilders in the world that make the Olympic class 49er dinghy, we’re getting enquiries and orders from right across Europe and elsewhere.

“In addition to this, a significant proportion of our turnover still comes from private sales to people who sail for enjoyment alone, and turnover in this market, which covers the whole of the UK, has remained strong despite the recession.

“Creating more workspace has helped both the speed and efficiency of our production process, and gives us the capacity to take advantage of the increased demand that we are confident we will continue to see in the run-up to the London Olympics, and hopefully beyond.

“NEL’s involvement with the MBO was crucial in making it happen, and they have stayed close to the business over the last two years, providing very useful support along the way.”

Simon Johnson, senior investment executive at Evolve Finance, adds: “Ovington Boats has retained and enhanced its worldwide reputation under its new management team, and with the commercial openings presented by the run-up to London 2012, it has every opportunity to develop this even further.”

For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit or contact Barrie Hensby on 0845 111 1850.
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Notes to Editors

Evolve Finance is the specialist debt and mezzanine finance division of NEL Fund Managers Ltd, which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Services Authority, and which is a member of the British Venture Capital Association.