By Larry Pearson
Palmer Johnson, luxury yacht builder, has a new president and is introducing a new line of sport yachts. Mike Kelsey, Jr. was elected president of the Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. yacht builder in June 2004. Kelsey's grandfather, Patrick Haggerty, founder of Texas Instruments (TXN)
, purchased the yard in 1961. Kelsey's father Mike Kelsey, Sr. immediately went to work for Haggerty and passed the knowledge of fine yacht building down to his son.
While there have been tough financial times at Palmer Johnson during recent years, the younger Kelsey believes the company's new line of sport yachts is a winner.
At last year's Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Palmer Johnson introduced
Cover Drive, a very sleek 120-ft. sport yacht. Cover Drive is powered by a pair of MTU 2250 HP engines and has two 40 kW gensets for electrical needs.
Two other sport yachts are under construction at Palmer Johnson. A pair of 123-ft. raised pilothouse composite hull vessels are being built along with a 120-ft. aluminum yacht and a 96-ft. custom yacht. Construction of these new yachts is proceeding at both the Sturgeon Bay and Savannah, Ga. facilities.