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The 40th anniversary of X-Yachts - License agreement with Swedish yard

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Wednesday 6th November 2019

X-Yachts as a start-up company in 1979 – The final part #4

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of X-Yachts, a number of upcoming stories will give you an insight behind the scenes of the foundation of X-Yachts. These stories will take you through a journey of a company, which is built on passion, innovation and the hunger to create the eXtraordinary.

LICENSE AGREEMENT WITH SWEDISH YARD
After the success of the convincing Sjælland Rundt race victory, the three boat-builders from Haderslev were ready for the next step: Lars and Niels Jeppesen travelled to Sweden to enter an X-79 in Tjørn Rundt, Sweden’s largest sailing race at that time. They brought home another convincing victory, beating competition as the Swedish Albin Express and Maxi 80 Racer.

120 models in two years
The Swedish success motivated Delta Marin in Västervik to get in touch to enquire about the possibility of building the X-79 on a license.

The parties agreed that the Haderslev yard would re­ceive a five percent commission on the sales price of boats sold, and Swedish production commenced in the winter 1979/1980. Over the next two years, the Swedes produced 120 X-79 models!

In November 1979, there was a boat show in Bellacenter in Copenhagen. The cost of a stand was DKK 20,000. This was a large amount of money in 1979. The three founders agreed, however, that putting in an appearance was necessary. To save on accommodation costs, they slept in the displayed boat. The show resulted in an additionally 17 X-79’s being sold.

Over the next two years, the yard in Haderslev sold 160 boats, both to Denmark and the Northern European market.

Beneficial collaboration
As the Marstrup workshop did not have the capacity to series manufacture boats, agreements were concluded with a number of subcontractors. Bøges Glasfiberstøberi in Lunderskov would supply hulls, decks, and other fibre glass elements. Gesten Bådaptering would manufacture the accommodation and Buchwald og Madsens Bådebyggeri in Ferup was charged with the assembly of X-79’s sold as finished versions.

Thanks to the collaboration with subcontractors, the yard did not have to invest in production equipment but could concentrate on developing new boats.

Division of labour
Despite the busy times, Lars and Niels Jeppesen and Birger Hansen – thanks to the subcontractor agreements – remained the only employees at the yard. They soon came to finding a suitable division of labour. Niels was designing the new boats, Birger handled the accounts and paperwork and at the same time became the company’s moulding expert, while Lars was responsible for all the boatbuilding issues and other practical tasks.

LOOKING AFTER EVERY PENNY
Although work was plentiful, the same could not be said about funds. The yard worked with a DKK 150,000 overdraft facility, each party guaranteeing DKK 50,000. The two Jeppesen brothers had persuaded their father to co-sign while Birger Hansen used his house in Marstrup as collateral.

All possible savings were made. Salaries paid only just covered daily expenses. Due to the busy times, they often also had to work evenings. This does not, however, give the usual after-hours allowance. On the contrary, they decided to reduce the hourly rate by half. After all, when you have had a long day at work, you are tired and less efficient. For this reason, there was no payment at all for working past 11 p.m.!

They did not even spend money on a telephone connection. They used Birger Hansen’s existing private telephone connection.

As the two companies were named ”Nordsø Marine” and ”Nordsø Bådværft ved Jeppesen og Hansens Bådebyggeri” respectively, they could just answer the telephone with the word ’Nordsø’ and then ask if the caller wanted the workshop or the marine department.

X-Yachts founded
Not until 1983 – four years after start-up – did the yard officially change its name to X-Yachts, inspired by a Swedish dealer calling his company X-Yachts of Sweden.

Lars and Niels Jeppesen and Birger Hansen had agreed to clear the overdraft facility as soon as possible to make the yard self-financing…

The 40th Anniversary paper book is now for sale – Read all about the X-Yacht journey – 150 pages of history, models and pure X-moments.

Click to order