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Sept 22, 2020

Limestone

“Limestone” is a heritage Canadian boat brand that has earned a loyal following over the past 35 years of production in Ontario and now, the brand has been re-launched with new ownership and ideals as The Limestone® Boat Company.

The original Limestone boats were developed by renowned designer Mark Ellis. Ellis designed the Limestone 24 for customer Fred Eaton and it was constructed by Hinterhoeller Yachts in St. Catharines, Ontario. His second Limestone powerboat was the Limestone 20 for Medeiros Boat Works, of Oakville, Ontario.

Limestones have been a fixture in Georgian Bay and the Great Lakes as well as through the Eastern United States since the mid 1980’s. Over time, Limestone models have undergone a series of enhancements and as the models evolved, customers took notice of the manufacturer’s dedication to quality, durability and functionality that ultimately created a cult like following.

Scott Hanson, a marine industry veteran, now serves as Limestone’s new chief executive officer. In mid-2019 Hanson stepped down as former head and lead designer at Rossiter Boats. Earlier this year, he and his partners acquired the global manufacturing and Limestone branding rights from Mark Ellis Design LLC, purchased the Limestone molds, and created the Limestone Boat Company. Hanson and his team have also engaged Ellis to be involved with the evolution of existing designs and new model creations.

Hanson holds an honors degree in Marine Design, Engineering and Boatbuilding from the Landing School in Kennebunk, Maine. He brings over 30 years of marketing and business management experience to Limestone having worked for, and with, many leading domestic and international consumer packaged goods, financial and automotive manufacturers throughout his career before taking the helm of Rossiter Boats in 2007.

At Rossiter, Hanson took the company from two part-time employees, to the international boat brand that it has become, in just over a decade. He brings a deep background in operations, product development, distribution, marketing, and sales expertise to Limestone.

“We recognized the history and future potential of the Limestone brand and decided to secure the global licensing rights,” said Limestone CEO Scott Hanson. “We’ve relocated the manufacturing operations across to Tennessee, and we’ve engaged Mark Ellis to assist us with guiding the new model designs of which he originally created. We have also grown our team with some elite sales professionals and staff including finance, branding and marketing with more than 100 years of combined experience that all share our passion for the Limestone brand.”  

Mark Ellis is an acclaimed yacht designer whose body of work includes an impressive number of highly successful power and sail designs for both series production and custom building.  While studying for a business degree in Boston he worked in the offices of C. Raymond Hunt Associates, the innovators of the deep vee hull configuration, leading to his being an experienced proponent of that hull form. Ellis went on to design work in the world class offices of naval architect Philip Rhodes in New York and sailmaker/designer Ted Hood in Marblehead, MA. His long interest as an ocean racing sailor and navigator was furthered when, in 1970, Ellis joined Canada’s leading-edge sailboat designer/builder C&C Yachts. Starting his own firm, Mark Ellis Design in 1975, Ellis has been active for 45 years designing and developing the iconic Limestone, Legacy, Pilot, BlueStar and Abaco powerboat brands as well as many well-known sailboats.

“I’m excited and pleased to be part of the Limestone rejuvenation and to be working with Scott and his assembled team,” said Ellis. “Limestone has had an enthusiastic following of experienced owners over the last 35 years. It’s great that Scott and the new Limestone Boat Company will bring this brand forward and introduce it to a wider audience. I’m truly looking forward to its rebirth and evolution.”

Initial product offerings over the current 2021 model year and following 2022 model year, will provide a nine model lineup ranging from 17’ to 29’, complete with runabouts, cuddies, center and dual consoles with classic day boat and fish arrangements. Models include the L-170DC & CC, L-200R & CC, L-250R, L-270CD, L-290CD, and soon to be launched L-270DC and L-290DC (set to debut in Q2 of 2021).

Limestone has partnered with a renowned, centrally-located U.S. manufacturer that has a 40+ year history in manufacturing quality boats that dealers and boaters have counted on for decades. They also offer substantial capacity for growth in their 145,000 sq. ft. facility, have a large skilled labor force and a management team that brings generations of experience with household boat brands in the saltwater and freshwater markets.

“Our focus in re-launching this heritage brand has encompassed a transformation of the models themselves,” added Hanson. “Limestone is best known for their timeless design, big water performance, quality, and functionality. Its recognizable, unique deep V hull and forward flair provide a forgiving ride and an unmatched assurance of safety. We are building upon this history, but with an eye to the future, as we currently bring modernity into the product line. Our team has evolved and expanded the product offerings by introducing technology enhancements, and deck arrangements that offer sociability, accessibility, functionality, and adaptability…all important features for today’s boater.”

Limestone models have primarily been sterndrive, with outboard configurations typically used commercially and in coastal New England, but the current and future designs move the models to outboard engine applications. The move to focus solely on outboards is a major evolution for the model line-up, enhancing their accessibility, usability, performance, safety and maintenance characteristics.

“We’re currently in discussions with dealers across the country as we look to expand the brand into additional markets, and we’re ramping up production and R&D at our partner’s 145,000 sq. ft. facility in Tennessee as we speak,” said Hanson. “We’re offering a level of modular flexibility in these timeless – yet contemporary - designs, and customization in upholstery, tops and electronics for our customers moving forward.”

For more information on the Limestone® Boat Company, visit www.limestoneboats.com