What’s in a name?
down arrow

What’s in a name?

Gunfleet Marine is named after a well known sandbank in the Thames Estuary which runs east to west about 5 miles off the Essex coast adjacent to Clacton and Frinton. The Gunfleet lighthouse on the northern end of the Gunfleet sands was built in 1850 and is still standing. In 1964 when pirate radio started in the UK Radio Caroline moored inside the Gunfleet taking shelter from the North Sea, but just outside the UK 3 mile territorial limit. In 2010 the Gunfleet wind farm came on line with over 50 large wind turbines mounted on the sands. Today the Gunfleet name is becoming widely recognised in quality yacht building.

Our Mission

Gunfleet’s mission is simple - to efficiently build comfortable, fast, seaworthy cruising yachts of exquisite quality and support them with an after sales service that is second to none. Built with pride in Great Britain, Gunfleet yachts combine innovative and stylish design with the latest technology and are rich in practical, seamanlike features because, while design moves forward, the sea never changes.

Before creating Gunfleet, Founder, Richard Matthews, spent over 35 years building up one of the UK’s most successful yacht companies, Oyster, which he sold in 2008. Looking for a new challenge, the idea of utilising all these years of experience to form a new yacht building brand proved irresistible and the Gunfleet range of performance, variable draft cruising yachts was launched. The Gunfleet brand is operated by Windboats Marine. Moulding and fitting out is carried out at their two sites in Norfolk, then the yachts are launched and commissioned at Fox’s Marina in Ipswich, where the Sales Office is located.

Windboats is one of the oldest yacht yards in the country, now approaching it centenary. It has a rich history, which includes thirty years of fitting out nearly 300 Oyster yachts up to 72ft.

Better by Design

This much used slogan first appeared in publicity material from Westland Aircraft almost 100 years ago and in the context of Gunfleet yachts is just as relevant today.

Technologically empowered using 3 -D design tools, our team combine a flair for innovation with a down to earth approach on things that really matter. Gunfleet yachts are built on a semi-custom basis and our design team is on hand to translate buyers's requirements and wishes into yachts that surpass their expectations.

We believe Gunfleet yachts really are Better by Design.

The Quality Alternative

A moulding team of perfectionists, plus Finite Element Analysis of Gunfleets' composite construction designs by SP-High Modulus ensures laminates of immense strength and structural integrity.

Not just laminating, but the engineering, advances electrical systems and superb joinery and cosmetic finishing are all combined with innovative design.

The result really does make Gunfleet the quality alternative.

production facility

Our Production Facilities

The long established Windboats yard in Wroxham is now approaching its centenary and has built thousands of vessels. In recent years these have included nearly three hundred Oyster yachts up to 72ft, and this is now the fitting-out base for Gunfleet. In 2013, Windboats acquired Hardy Marine www.hardymarine.co.uk of North Walsham, the highly regarded motor yacht builder, where Gunfleets are moulded to exacting standards in climate controlled conditions.

With Windboats vast experience, and Richard Matthew's facility at Fox's Marina and Boatyard in Ipswich, where Gunfleet yachts are rigged, commissioned and handed over, we have an unrivalled team of professionals and all the resources to meet our exacting quality standards and to ensure that Gunfleet owners get exemplary on-going service throughout their ownership.



The Flightdeck steering pedestal is a good example of the creative thinking that goes into every Gunfleet yacht. It has been designed and developed by the Castro/Gunfleet team in conjunction with Lewmar exclusively for Gunfleet yachts. No more playing Russian Roulette with the wheel spokes while trying to operate an autopilot, chart plotter or other pedestal mounted equipment.

The Flightdeck pedestal is sized to accommodate the very latest chart plotters such as the 12” Garmin system which gives a range of sailing and navigational information presented in an ideal position for the helmsman. With the C-Zone digital control system fitted to the Gunfleets, the helmsman also in effect has the main switch-panel at his or her finger tips, as well as full monitoring of the batteries, tanks and other systems.

Customer Support

Great customer support comes as standard with Gunfleet. Our owners are our best ambassadors and we are committed to giving them everything they expect and more. Wherever their yacht is located, our highly experienced and knowledgeable team provides efficient and personal service.

The concept of service starts at the build stage, during which our experienced Gunfleet Project Managers support each owner throughout the build of their yacht, managing every detail of construction and providing owners with support and any advice they need in configuring the vessel to best match their intended sailing.

Our extensive handover procedure usually takes place over several days, during which the yacht is thoroughly demonstrated and the operation of all its systems and equipment is explained in detail.

We can arrange preferred terms for Gunfleet owners with our associated company Fox’s Marine and Country Store at Fox’s Marina where Gunfleet yachts are commissioned. They operate one of the largest stores of its kind in the UK, making them an ideal source for outfitting a new yacht with everything from clothing, safety gear, charts, books, tenders and outboards, in fact everything that any vessel may need for blue water cruising.

When it comes to sailing away, our team frequently accompany our owners on their first passage to ensure those first days on board are an enjoyable and stress-free experience. If required, we can often help introduce crew for our owners from our extensive network of contacts.

With comprehensive build records, schematics and inventory lists on file, we are able to provide a fast-response service to any request received. Whether a spare or replacement part, advice on a technical issue or a specific problem requiring immediate attention, Gunfleet owners are never expected to have to worry about trying to find local support in some far-off destination. A call or an email to our Customer Support team will enable us to evaluate the issue and respond quickly. This response may be coordinating a visit from one of our own craftsmen or our key equipment suppliers, the attendance by a trusted local partner, or simply the dispatch of an urgently required part.

The service we provide to Gunfleet owners is second to none.


Richard Matthews


The Gunfleet brand was established in 2011 by Richard Matthews. Richard is an active yachtsman who has cruised tens of thousands of miles throughout the world on a series of his own cruising yachts, as well winning numerous international racing events. In 1973 he started Oyster, building it into one of the world’s most successful yacht companies, before selling the company in 2008. His vast experience figured heavily in the development of the Gunfleet designs. Since 2014, Gunfleet has been operated under license by Windboats Marine Ltd.

The Team

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge to offer you advice and support your yacht purchase.


Oliver James

Managing Director

Oliver joined Windboats Marine in September 1995 having gained an Honours degree from Plymouth University. He became part of the family firm following in the footsteps of his late Father, who joined Windboats in the '60s, and his Mother Yvonne who still retains a position on the board. During his 20+ years in the company, Oliver has overseen the production of numerous new yachts and designs whilst building for Oyster, as well as the introduction of the new Hardy and Trusty range of motor boats under the Windboats banner.

Nick Creed

Commercial Manager

With over 35 years experience in the yachting industry, Nick’s experience ranges from dealing with the technical and commercial aspects of custom yacht construction, to spars and sail making. A qualified yacht and boat builder, Nick is also a highly experienced offshore yachtsman having taken part in several international regattas and World Championships.

Julian Weatherill

Julian Weatherill

Head of Sales & Marketing

Julian has a wealth of sailing knowledge with over 80,000 miles under his belt - so you are in good hands! His early career started out in banking but he soon moved into the yachting industry, initially skippering 60-100ft luxury yachts world-wide for 8 years cruising far away destinations such as Alaska and South Pacific, before moving ashore to Suffolk as Client Project Manager for Oyster, delivering 11 years of first hand advice to owners for the specification of their new yacht.

Marine websites by Nu Image