Willard 7.30's are Zodiac 733's mr pratt
Good day Mr Pratt. You can buy a Willard Marine 7.3 metre hull in confidence that it is one of the best hulls in the world as to design.
The design was instituted by the US Navy in the mid 1980's and the first contract for the contract was won by the old Zodiac Marine of Victoria British Columbia, CANADA on Esquimalt road.
Zodiac Marine was the winner of the contract and consequently their subcontractor Oceanus Plastics designed the molds for all associated products, hulls, decks, consols, hatches etc.
Tubes were made by Zodiac Europe shipped to Victoria where the boats were completed at the Esquimalt road assembly builting.
Unfortunately at the time the Navy wanted the six cylinder Volvo inboard outboard units nice units after the bugs were ironed out like the early engines had aluminum heads that warped and blew head gaskets and also had disintegrating water pump impellers cooling the units their failure overheated engines to the point the Volvo corporation in Europe flew four or five engineers from Sweden I think immediately to rebuild products and make the Admiral (US NAVY) in the Pacific Northwest happy.
These boats went onto serve with great distinction in the US Navy Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan had their big summit on one of the WW2 battleships in the meditereanean back in 1987 or so and in the storm that hit how did Gorbachev get to the battelship --you guessed right if you guessed in a Zodiac 733.
That video went all around the world.
Made us all proud.
Now for the Willard Marine portion of the story.
At some point the US Navy required that the vessels be manufactured in the states so Zodaic sold the design, molds etc to Willard Marine and that was Willard Marine's first real RIB that alowed them to go on and win the following US Navy contracts.
And they build a great product I would imagine because to meet some of the US Navy's laminate tests to certify hulls through a contract is fairly rigid.
I know of no other design purchases from Zodiac by Willard but some designs look close to other manufacturers designs a fairly common result you only have so many limited options when designing a RIB hull.
Please do not read into this post any derogatory feelings as to Willard Marine buying a Zodiac design. Zodiac was building here in Canada and to win a contract had to build in the USA, Willard on the other hand wanted to get into Government RIB work and to expedite that both parties decided to collaborate on the sale of the design to Willard.
Actually it was a genius deal for Willard and on the other hand Zodiac recovered some of their tooling costs or more.
Lots of other Zodiac stories for another day if anyone is interested "someday"
Regards from an old boatbuilder