Luke Brown Yachts was founded by Luke Brown of Cleveland, Ohio, who gave up the corporate world in mid-life to pursue a dream of skippering a charter yacht in the Caribbean. As fate would have it, the trade winds brought Luke to Fort Lauderdale instead, where he established a yacht brokerage firm in 1969. In the early years, the firm was focused on the marketing and sale of offshore sailing yachts and trawlers. As the years went on, the firm grew in size and the sphere of business expanded to include power and sailing yachts of all sizes.
When Luke decided to retire, he sold his business to John Ake who had taken early retirement from the corporate world to pursue his own dream of becoming involved in the yacht brokerage industry in 1975, John sold his interest in Luke Brown Yachts to a friend and client, Don Smith of New Jersey, who owned and operated a chain of McDonald's franchises in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Don, like his two predecessors, was an avid yachtsman and had owned a series of motor yachts named SEA TIGER, each kept in the same slip at Bahia Mar for nearly 25 years. Don retained John Ake as president of the Company to handle the day-to-day operations.
In 1977, Andrew Cilla, the youngest broker in the firm at age 27, purchased the Company, and continues to own and operate Luke Brown Yachts. Regretfully, Luke Brown, John Ake and Don Smith have all since passed away. As time went on, the Company continued to expand. In 1992 Alan Bernard was brought aboard to represent Luke Brown Yachts in Newport, RI. The following year Derek Jarman became the European agent, based in Southampton, U.K.
Marc Thomas joined the Company in 2008 as the firm's agent in Annapolis, MD and the following year, Phil Annunziato joined as the Florida West coast agent. The firm maintains twelve full-time brokers along with a very committed support staff.
The firm has weathered four recessions, two fuel crisises, the luxury tax fiasco and president Carter's threat to ban weekend boating. Remarkably, the firm has always remained profitable and debt free. Luke Brown Yachts looks forward to continued success in helping boating enthusiasts to achieve their yachting dreams.