The Niccolls Nesting Dinghy - Quick History

NestingLite Dinghies began as the NiccollsLite  in a garage in the Lower Mainland of BC, beginning in the 1980’s.  The original designer and builder, Barry Niccolls, produced several variations using one-off moulding techniques, including an 18 ft schooner that could be sailed as two individual 9 ft dinghies.  Finally, in the mid-90s he had a set of professional moulds made and began having the fibreglass dinghy itself manufactured by a succession of custom manufacturers around the Lower Mainland.  Production quantities varied from year to year, peaking at 25 plus units in  2005-2006.  We don’t have precise numbers but the total number produced was something like 120 dinghies, all finished by Barry himself, in his garage until about the mid 1990s and then up to  2009 in a converted farm store a few minutes drive from the Tsawassen Ferry Terminal,  in Delta, BC

In early 2009, Barry finished our NN10, Barquita, the last one built as the NiccollsLite Nesting NN10. Barry is now somewhat retired and living in The Philippines.

NestingLite Dinghies

 We purchased not only our own dinghy but the business from Barry in June, 2009 and for 2-1/2  years we built them as the NestingLite NN10 in the same location, which we came to know affectionately as the Veggie Shed.  In 2011 we packed the whole dinghy operation up in large crates and moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta and then in December of that year, to Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Partly due to the high cost of living in BC and partly due to family circumstances we decided to centralize in the country, on the Great Lakes.

Now, having been here for four years we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we will not be able to start NestingLite Dinghies back up ourselves.  Again, a combination of factors, partly financial and partly some significant health concerns for myself have made it clear that it is time to focus on other things.

Continuing inquiries via the website show that there is a market for the dinghy, it is still a fantastic little boat with surprisingly little competition out there.  I really don’t want to see it disappear.  We love our NN10 and others deserve the chance to enjoy them.  It just doesn’t look like it is going to be my retirement project, as I originally hoped.

I think the ideal situation,  to keep production staff busy when not busy with contract work for other clients, would be for an existing custom fibreglass manufacturer to use the NN10 as a fill-in product,.  The fibreglass parts could be produced in relatively small numbers for little cost in materials and simply stockpiled until orders are received.  The business is strongly seasonal in North America and marketing the boat is quite easy, targetting boat shows early every year.  Inquiries come from around the world but primarily from areas like the Great Lakes basin, the NE US coast, Florida, Southern California and the US Pacific NW.

I would be happy to work with the new owner to build as many NN10s as necessary to get the production details worked out and pass on our accumulated knowledge and thoughts on future development of the dinghy.  At this point I feel very good, my replacement knee is amazing and they have stented my dodgy coronary arteries that they can find and get to, so the sooner I can get working on this handover with someone, the better.  Give me a call.

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