Our Story so far ...
Orkney was first established in 1973 with the design of our first model based on early beach launched fishing boats from the Orkney Isles - hence the name. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength as the range has evolved and grown to deliver extended capability as well as to cater for a growing customer base as Orkneys became popular with fisherman, commercial audiences as well as cruisers and families alike. Here's our story of how Orkney came to be the brand it is today.
First Longliner 16 rolls off production line
In 1973 the first ever Longliner 16, Orkneys founding model rolled off the production line. Developed from the design of a traditional Orkney open long keel fishing boat this model was destined to become Orkneys most successful model ever, with more than 3,500 boats being built during the 40 years that pursued, many of which are still in use today and a common sight in many harbours and estuaries around the UK and beyond.
The iconic Dory
Orkney soon introduced a sportier model into the range, the stable and fast Dory with a planing Cathedral hull became an instant success. Today Orkney still produce the Dory 424 model and more than 2,500 boats have been built to date, a number which continues to steadily increase year upon year.
It's show time
Orkney chose the Southampton Boat show in Mayflower park to showcase their new range of boats for the first time and have attended every Southampton Boatshow since. Today Orkney attend various regional and International shows throughout the year, why not check where you can next visit us to view our range.
The Spinner & Skua
Our next model launched with an equally impressive reaction to the Longliner as not only a recreational small fishing boat but also with commercial operators and hire boat fleets. Even today if you were to row around either Battersea or Hyde Park then you have most probably been onboard an Orkney Spinner. Later on a sailing version of the Spinner was introduced as the Orkney Skua.
Fastliner 16 ready for take off
With Longliner no. 1850 rolling off the production line, customers wanted to go further afield from their normal fishing grounds and in order to achieve this they required faster boats. The Fastliner 16 incorporated improved performance with the option of having an enclosed cuddy whilst retaining many key features that made the Longliner so popular. By the end of its production run in 1987 Orkney had manufactured in excess of 6,250 boats in total and had paved the way for generations of boats to come.
Smallest Boat in range
Aimed primarily at the rowing club and small tender market you will find the Angler 11 working alongside the Spinner in the Royal Parks of London as well as many being used to ferry owners to and from their moorings. Although no longer in our main line up this model is still produced by special order for clubs with around 500 boats still in use today.
Next leap in Design & innovation
The introduction of the Fastliner 19, closely followed by the Strikeliner 16+ really was a quantum leap from the Orkneys of old and included many of the latest ideas and requests that previous Orkney owners had suggested. This included the first real introduction of wheel steering as standard on models, something of a rarity at the time and reflecting Orkneys forward thinking approach to continued development of the range.
The Coastliner 14 started to roll off the production line and created a name for itself as a boat that you could take home and keep on your drive or in your garage as well as go out to sea in and remain confident in its capabilities. Proof of this timeless design is that it has continued in production to this day, largely unchanged with over 1200 built so far.
TT Boat designs and Orkney form new partnership
The newly formed collaboration between Orkney and naval architect Arthur Mursell of TT boat designs was formed in the early 1990's which bought Orkney designs into the 21st century. An extremely successful partnership which continues to this day. TT Boat designs is renowned for many of the Nelson designs that you see, often used as Pilot craft, work boats and launches around the world.
Larger models introduced
The Day Angler 21 & 23 were created for use by commercial beach boat fishermen who found the Fastliner 19 a little too small. Although originally intended as an open workboat it was soon adapted to allow for a wheelhouse, proving popular with operators such as HM Coastguard and Harbour Authorities and the German Police Service. Orkney still produce the open boat version of the 21 for commercial operators.
The Day Angler
The Day Angler 19+, designed by Arthur Mursell, was launched in 1994 and was a natural progression for this range as it was easily trailed and moved around the country to explore new fishing grounds. The success of this model was hugely underestimated and at it's launch at the London International Boat Show, 17 boats were ordered at the show followed by another 15 at a subsequent demonstration weekend. We were soon building two of these models a week and this continued for most of its production run.
The Orkadian 20 & 23 were for the customer who wished to go boating in more luxury and was offered with a more refined fit out and finish. That said, HM Coastguard ordered 2 Orkadian 23's as patrol boats which remained in service for over 10 years in Scotland and on the South Coast. This models popularity even extended as far as the Falkland Islands.
New Performance Range
The new 590TT & 520 were faster, easier to launch and incorporated many new features in design and finish and were also able to get the best from the latest four stroke engine technology. These models were very much the precursor to our current Series II range
The new Pilothouse
1998 and 2002 saw the launch of the Pilothouse 24 and her smaller sister the Pilothouse 20, developed from the Day Angler 19+. Both models were a great success with recreational anglers and day boaters alike.
Leading the way
Combining optimum performance and luxurious styling, the Vanguard marque was built alongside the Series II range as a motor launch day boat. Offered in two versions, the Vanguard 190 & Vanguard 170, they soon became popular as a harbour launch and family day sport boat as well as tenders on Superyachts were a semi bespoke option was often required. The Vanguard is nowadays available as a sport package upgrade on our Series II range.
Innovative new design
2007 saw the launch of the Series II range, developed between Orkney Boats and TT Boat Designs. Starting with the 592 model in 2007, the 522 and 452 models followed in 2008 and 2009. The range incorporated everything learnt over 30 years of boat building whilst retaining the classic styling and combining the latest materials and design ideas.
A new motor cruiser
The success of the longstanding Pilothouse 24 and Orkneys desire to offer a more luxurious weekend motor cruiser in their range led to the launch of the Pilothouse 27, a long wheelhouse version of the Pilothouse 24 offering a raised dinette and galley with improved accommodation forward. With the successful launch of the new 27, Orkney quickly took the decision to discontinue building the 24 and in its place developed a shorter wheel house version of the 27 which would become the 25.
It's come a long way ...
40 years on and 3,500 boats later, it was finally time to say goodbye to the original Longliner 16 - our founding model. The challenge was set to find a worthy succesor to this iconic design. With the market still in full spin after the 2008 Global financial crisis, we went back to our roots to develop an affordable boat, one that would offer improved performance with a small, lightweight engine for good fuel economy and to fit an unbraked trailer.
The Pilothouse evolves
Orkney wanted to refresh and update the look of the Pilothouse design without compromising it's long standing principles of quality, design and seaworthiness.The first of a new generation of Pilothouse models with a sleeker and more modern style to be launched was the Pilothouse 25. This new sleeker design offered the perfect balance between a new modern sharper look and traditional lines.
2017 has seen a further two new models introduced to the Traditional range, the evolution of the Coastliner 14 and Fastliner 19 designs. Both models are built in a similar way to the Longliner 16 and follow the same principle a standard open boat layout which can be easily adapted with several different seating and steering configuration to suit all requirements, including tiller steer, side steering console and on the Fastliner 19 a Centre console option.
With well over 13,000 boats built, Orkneys forward thinking approach to a continuous development programme keeps them at the forefront of design and innovation to this day. All the time looking to build on their enviable reputation for build quality, seaworthiness and a timeless design. Why not become part of our history and contact us now to find which model Orkney would best meet your requirements.