MJM Yachts was founded in 2002 by Bob Johnstone, who, in 1977 co-founded J/ Boats, Inc., the world’s leading brand of performance sailboats. J/Boats currently has 14,000 boats sailing worldwide and 20+ Boat of the Year awards to its credit. Bob is a member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame and recipient of the prestigious Mystic Seaport America and the Sea honor.
Asked why the move to power, Bob, age 84, replied, “we got older, so our boats had to reverse roles. I can enjoy a daysail on the latest J/, but quality cruising time is on a motorboat.” And, not just any motorboat. Mary Johnstone’s Motorboat
The boat that could easily be docked single-handed, seat three couples comfortably in an all-weather pilothouse and cruise at 25+ knots to outrun waves offshore didn’t exist in ‘02. So, as he did at J/Boats, Bob created a new boat feeling confident that others would be like-minded in wanting a more practical, fun, easier-to-own boat. Bob’s wife Mary was the inspiration. The brand became MJM- Mary Johnstone’s Motorboat.
Priority one was to find a yacht designer with the best eye in the business to draw a pretty boat combining the features of Bob’s favorite powerboats: the powder-horn sheer of a WW II Elco PT Boat, the bow flare of a Carolina sportfish, the sexy tumblehome of an Adirondack runabout, the 360°sightlines of a 1950’s Matthews cruiser and the open pilothouse and flush deck of a Maine lobsterboat. Brainstorming with son Peter (x-CEO of Sunfish Laser & founder of Gunboat), Doug Zurn got the nod based on the Shelter Island 38 he’d drawn for singer Billy Joel. A month later the signature MJM look was born.
No powerboat builder could be found with the hi-tech experience required to build a boat that met Bob’s marketing goal of “best performing brand.” So, it was back to sailboat roots and master builder Mark Lindsay of Boston BoatWorks, who’d been building America’s Cup and world championship winning sailboats for 35 years. BBW became MJM’s licensed builder.
The collaboration between the Johnstones, Doug Zurn and Boston BoatWorks continues to this day with the family actively engaged in bringing each new model to fruition and running it exhaustively to be sure it meets their personal standard: Best performing brand.