Some analysts believe the national economy is headed toward a recession. If it is, it's not preventing people from purchasing big ticket items such as luxury yachts. Trinity Yachts in Gulfport has contracts to build 24 new yachts. Some of the vessels built at the Gulfport shipyard cost as much as $50 million.
One final touch of wax added a glossy shine to Ron Joyce's latest purchase. Joyce got his first look at his 161 foot superyacht just before it was dropped into Gulfport's industrial seaway. "I think that is so beautiful," he boasted. Joyce is the proud owner of Destination Fox Harb'r Too, a superyacht built at Trinity Yachts in Gulfport. "Wow," he told Trinity president John Dane. "You've done a great job."
Joyce is from Canada. Yet when it was time to build his superyacht, he contacted Dane and signed a contract to have his pleasure yacht built in Gulfport. Dane was thrilled with the deal he negotiated. "We're real proud of obviously what we build here," he said.
When it was time to christen the 161 foot luxury yacht, Joyce had family and friends from Canada alongside him, and several Trinity workers on board as well. "You've done a great job," the Canadian told a Trinity employee.
The worker smiled and said, "Thank you sir."
Mr. Joyce's superyacht is the latest example of what Trinity Yachts has built in Gulfport. In the two years since Katrina forced Trinity to relocate the bulk of its shipyard business from New Orleans to Gulfport, Trinity has become the nation's largest superyacht manufacturer. "It just says we've got great skilled workers here," Dane pointed out.
Close to 800 people currently work at Trinity Yachts. Dane said the company could use another 200 employees to meet its current construction demand.
After a bottle of champagne was smashed against the bow of the superyacht, the moment came to launch the nearly $40 million vessel. Mr. Joyce grabbed a camera to record the proceedings. "I think it's a dream come true for me, sir," he said.
The initial destination of Destination Fox Harb'r Too is the coastal waters of south Mississippi for sea trials. Where it goes from there is up to Ron Joyce. And his itinerary is wide open. "I'm a senior citizen," Joyce said. "I've worked hard all my life. And this is one of my rewards."