A brief history....
LOCHIN MARINE (RYE) Ltd, originally based at Rye Harbour in East Sussex, was established in the early 1970’s by Frank Nichols, a well-known racing car entrepreneur (Elva Racing). His near
fatal experience travelling across the English Channel to France in a small boat was enough to encourage him to start a boat building enterprise. His extensive knowledge of
fibreglass manufacturing techniques from his racing car days was pivotal coupled with a determination to find a vessel to cope with the extreme sea conditions he had experienced.
The name LOCHIN is an anagram of the founder’s name - not, as many may think, through some Scottish connection.
In 1970/71 Frank met Robert Tucker M.R.I.N.A, a well-respected naval architect of fast seagoing craft at the time. He quickly became aware he was dealing with a man who understood the
vagaries of the sea and how best to cope with rough water. What followed was the introduction in 1972 of the LOCHIN 33 which became the ‘corner stone’ design of the range and
fundamentally the concept from which all future LOCHIN designs evolved – the characteristic shear, the deep and stabilising keel with smooth lines are trademark idiosyncrasies
Understanding the basic principles of weight distribution, propeller law and the harnessing of available power were pivotal to creating an efficient and functional hull design. These aspects
became fundamentals which are much replicated in many offshore vessels today including our modern R.N.L.I. lifeboats such as the Severn and Trent Class. The introduction of more
powerful marine engines and the thinking behind communicating that power effectively to the water was to transform the industry in the 1970’s and LOCHIN can boast a significant
contribution to that development.
In the 1980’s, the R.N.L.I. chose the Lochin 33 as the basis for the self-righting ‘Brede Class’ Lifeboat which served as intermediate offshore lifeboats around the country some remaining
in service for almost 20 years. Indeed, latterly some of them were purchased by the South African equivalent of the R.N.L.I. - The National Sea Rescue Institute (N.S.R.I.) and
6 ex ‘Bredes’ continue in service today as fully fledged ‘offshore’ lifeboats together with a purpose built Lochin 38 lifeboat. They say success breeds success and many
commercial derivatives were built as pilot launches, police patrol craft and passenger carriers as well as many leisure applications the world over. With the introduction
of the LOCHIN 38 in the 1980’s, the range firmly established LOCHIN in the commercial sector. Indeed, the Bahama’s Air Sea Rescue Agency (B.A.S.R.A). and other rescue organisations
ordered bespoke lifeboats which are still in service today in one form or another.
Since acquiring the Company in the 1990’s, Simon Thomas, in conjunction with nominated Naval Architects, Paul Graville and Ian Short, developed and refined all the designs to broaden their
appeal and embrace modern building philosophy. The resultant was the introduction of the LOCHIN 40 in 1995 as a development of the successful LOCHIN 38 and the LOCHIN 333 in
1996 together with a new 11m design - the LOCHIN 366 & 367 in 2000. The 366 & 367 commercial variants were an ideal opportunity to introduce a modern approach in building
methodology with four designs coming from one set of mould tooling. The development of ‘flexible’ tooling techniques was, we think, unique to the industry at the time and
enabled LOCHIN to bespoke build without exaggerated cost. The Company has however, never lost sight of the core values – uncompromising quality of construction and above all a
sea kindly hull design embracing those key features that sets them apart from the minimalist light displacement constructions associated with mass production today.
LOCHIN has managed to weather the storms of recession and continues to do what they do best – build high quality sea-going boats for the long term in the knowledge that more than 500 examples
are out there and continue to pacify the sea in all its moods! We have a saying –
“If you want to know how good a Lochin is, ask the owners of one – on their answer our reputation depends!”