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Connor Bordelon: Stylish newcomer from purpose-built shipyard

Oct 24, 2013 03:07 PM
Bordelon Marine’s new Stingray 260 on sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico in September.

Bordelon Marine’s new Stingray 260 on sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico in September.

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Plenty of workboat operators dream of building their own boats. Wes Bordelon has done it – and he started his own shipyard to make it happen.

Bordelon Marine, founded by Wes’s father, Terry, in 1980, now has the first of a distinctive series of three 257-foot multipurpose supply vessels (MPSVs) from a yard in Houma, La., that was created specifically to build them. Connor Bordelon, named for Wes’s son, is the first Stingray 260 class DP-2 vessel to join the company’s existing fleet of 11 OSVs.

Wes Bordelon at the shipyard in Houma, La., that was created to build the Stingray 260s: “You spend so much time designing the fundamentals of a boat, why not put a little extra into it?”

The Stingray 260s are the tangible result of a company rebuilding program almost 15 years in the making. In 1999, when Wes Bordelon returned home to New Orleans from a career in the music business — an industry he didn’t expect to leave — the company’s fleet consisted of three 110-foot utility OSVs. By the end of the next year, he had decided he wanted to rebuild the company.

“I grew up in and around the industry working on boats in the summer and growing up in shipyards,” said Bordelon. “I understand the industry and the cycles because we lived them. By 2000 … I wanted to be home and stay home because I had rekindled my interest in the business.”

The soaring superstructure spanning the full width of the deck and the “chine wave” sweep to the bow distinguish the class from a typical OSV of the same length.

That year Bordelon Marine, which is based in Lockport, La., ordered three 150-foot DP-1 mini supply vessels from a hometown yard, Bollinger Shipyards. For the next few years, Bordelon concentrated on developing a solid company infrastructure and client base. “But we were still a tiny mom-and-pop company compared to what was out there,” he said.

In 2005, Bordelon Marine contracted with Bollinger to build two 170-foot DP-1 supply vessels. By 2007, after some acquisitions, its fleet consisted of 12 boats.

“From 2007 to 2010 I wanted us to take the company to the next level,” said Bordelon. The initial emphasis was on internal growth; Bordelon built new offices in Lockport. By 2010, the company had initiated design work on the Stingray class; it forged ahead and built the shipyard the following year, calling it Bordelon Marine Shipbuilders. Connor Bordelon joined the fleet this September.

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