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Coronet Yachts

Boat Builder , Faaborg, Region Syddanmark, Denmark

The groundwork for the Coronet era was laid in 1951, when Ole Botved founded Botved Boats. The small entrepreneurial company was situated at the Tuborg Havn quay in the northern part of Copenhagen Harbour.

In the beginning, the company produced Snipe dinghies made of plywood, but when fibre glass was introduced to the market, Ole Botved saw great possibilities in this material, in spite of general scepticism in the industry. Therefore, he started the production of fibre glass boats.

Botved presented his fibre glass boats for the first time at the Chicago Boat Show in the beginning of the fifties – without any particular success: The market was not ready for this ”exotic” material yet.

The first small crown
Ole Botved realised that it would take more than that: Design!

He hired the well-know, American designer Richard C. Cole, who designed a simple and smart little 18-foot motor boat, inspired by the Chevrolet Corvette 1956. At the same time, he thought of the name Coronet, which means little crown.

Coronet 18 Hardtop Sedan.Botved and Cole understood how to use the consumers’ quickly growing focus on design and speed, which had been started by the newly awakened American car industry after the end of the war – and the American public’s desire to experience financial freedom again. The Coronet 18 Hardtop Sedan was a great success at the presentation at the Chicago Boat Show in 1956.

Its many subtleties attracted attention: For example, it was possible to open the windscreen, which gave easy access to the foredeck, and the seats could be lowered and turned into berths.

The Coronet and Botved Boats were a success: Production grew in Vordingborg, an hour south of Copenhagen, and a sales office was opened in the US. Almost 95 pct. of the production was sold on the American market.

It caused quite a stir in Denmark as well as in other countries, and also created international attention, when Ole Botved and two of his employees crossed the Atlantic during the summer of 1958 in a Coronet 22 Explorer with two outboard motors of 50 HP each. The small Coronet was accompanied by the ship Clary Thordén, which supplied the Coronet with fuel through a 90-meter hose.

The golden years
Just like the Americans, Europe wanted to straighten up after the war: Everyone dreamt of ”The American Way of Life”, and the Coronet Coronet 22 Explorer.boats were part of the solution. Demand rose tremendously: Ole Botved expanded the assortment and in 1959, he moved the company to larger and more suitable production facilities.

In 1961, the assortment included a number of models: 16 Convertible, 16 Hardtop Convertible, 18 Sedan, 18 Runabout, 18 Viking, 22 Explorer and the sailing boat LA Cruiser.

In the beginning of the 60s, Ole Botved created a worldwide dealer network: From Greenland’s icy coast to the Amazon River in the Brazilian rain forest – there was no harbour without a Coronet.

The Coronet 21 Daycruiser was introduced in 1965 and became Botved Boats’ greatest success: When production was at its highest, one Coronet 21 Daycruiser was made every day.

In 1965, Ole Botved succeeded in setting the speed record around Zealand in a Coronet 21 Daycruiser, as he covered the distance in 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Today, the Coronet 21 Daycruiser has achieved cult status among Coronet enthusiasts in most of Europe.

A total of 680 boats were manufactured in 1965, and the assortment was continuously expanded during the 60s. The customers were not just private persons, but also public authorities, for example Swedish and German customs authorities, who used the popular and fast Coronets for patrolling for many years.

Inspired by the US, Ole Botved built Mullerup Harbour in 1969, which was Denmark’s first marina with holiday flats, restaurant, headquarters for Botved Boats and a new ultra-modern factory.

In the course of time, the new models became larger and larger, and at the grand opening of Mullerup Harbour, the largest boat was a Coronet 32 Oceanfarer, which quickly became one of the most popular boats of the Coronet range.

Ole Botved had a sense for international marketing. In 1971, when he wanted to introduce the new Coronet 17 Runabout, he decided to throw a private garden party: In the middle of the party, the boat was delivered by helicopter and lowered into Ole Botved’s swimming pool.

A normal delivery of boats from the shipyard to the port of shipment in Copenhagen was turned into a parade of Coronets on open trailers instead of the usual closed trucks.

1000 Coronets
The giant Chris Craft Inc. wanted to take over Coronet in the beginning of the 70’s.

Chris Craft offered USD 30 million for Botved Boats, but Ole Botved politely refused: The company remained in Danish hands, but under the daily management of Ole Botved’s friend Christian Hunderup, former manager of Scandinavian Airlines.

In 1972, when production was at its highest, Botved Boats produced 1000 boats per year and exported to approx. 100 countries.

The oil crisis brings Coronet off course
The great progress of Ole Botved and his Coronet shipyard was interrupted during the international oil crisis of 1973.

Denmark was a small country without its own energy sources: Times were difficult for the country and its industry, and Botved Boats was no exception.

Costs rose significantly, markets collapsed, but even though Ole Botved had to discharge 100 employees, Botved Boats continued its offensive course. You could still see and admire Coronet boats at boat shows all over the world, such as the latest addition, the elegant and spacious Coronet 44 Yacht.

However, the crisis left its mark with low dollar rates, and Botved had to close the branch in North America in 1974. At the same time, the company lost two of its most loyal and significant enthusiasts, export manager Ebbe Brahe Christiansen and confidential clerk Ellen Nielsen. They died shortly after each other.

Botved Boats was forced to change the organisation and hire new employees in key positions. It was difficult to maintain the special Coronet spirit, which had existed at Botved Boats since the very first years.

Loss and rescue
On the 13th of December 1977, Ole Botved’s long and hard struggle to save his life’s work culminated, when he had to file a petition in bankruptcy. Botved Boats had to be sold to the large Danish shipyard B&W. In 1980, the company changed hands again and its name was changed to Coronet Boats A/S.

After a turbulent period with changing owners, the industrial magnate Niels Barfred took over the production of Coronets in 1988. A comprehensive modernisation of the production ensured the continued development of the Coronet range until 1992.

Production has been at a standstill since then until 2006, when the new Coronet Yachts Denmark took over the rights and moulds for the Coronets.

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Coronet Yachts

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