Skiff Manufacturer Hell's Bay's Difficulties

February 2, 2006 By: Marshall Cutchin

Folks who appreciate the craftsmanship and design skills required to build a truly technical poling skiff want nothing more than to see a company create a great product and make money building and selling it. When Flip Pallot and Hal Chittum put their heads together on the original company, Hell’s Bay was considered the best candidate to move skiff design forward.
But ultimately it was not to be. The company was sold to new buyers in 2002 and shortly thereafter ran into various troubles, including the loss of some of the key craftsmen responsible for ensuring the high degree of quality and finish the market expected. Most recently, the burden of debt became too much for Hell’s Bay to manage. “What is known for certain is that Hell’s Bay filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October after the company’s primary financier, Riverside National Bank, received a $2.6 million judgment against Hell’s Bay for unpaid loans. Sources familiar with the bankruptcy proceedings said talks are under way over the potential sale of the company to an owner who would keep the name and product line, while paying back creditors under a deal structured by the bankruptcy court.”
In a recent piece by Ben Iannotta on KeysNews.com, it becomes clear that there was more at play in Hell’s Bay’s demise than simple cash flow problems. (Thanks to reader David Dalu for sending this link.)