1SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 The "SACHEM" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY makes her debut in this very first advertising postcard produced during her initial fishing season in 1932. The inset displays a very young Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin who was her proud owner and operator. In 1902, the Pusey and Jones Corporation built the steel-hulled vessel for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the luxury yacht "CELT". Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased the vessel and renamed her as the "SACHEM". The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" ("SP-192").
During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental communications work while on secret cruises to the Caribbean. She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919. Mr. Metcalf later sold the vessel to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor, and in 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin. She became one of many yachts purchased at low-cost during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.
2SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 The "SACHEM" is shown underway at 'full steam' in this spectacular photo. In the midst of the 'Great Depression', Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and several other savvy party boat captains capitalized on the poor economy. During this period, many beautiful private yachts once owned by the rich and famous were being sold for a fraction of their original cost, and would soon be operating as party fishing boats from several local ports.
During these hard financial times, fishing was still a recreation for some folks, but a absolute necessity for others. With a $2.00 fare and huge fishing pools aboard these vessels, an angler could feed his family (and even the neighbors) with fresh fish, and have a chance at winning a boat pool that was often well over $100. The fishing was very good and the party boat industry flourished while most other businesses suffered.
Besides offering daily local fishing trips, the "SACHEM" was one of the many steam yachts that often sailed from Sheepshead Bay to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ. The fare for these special trips was about $5.00; they departed at 12:00 midnight and returned late in the afternoon of the same day. Massive catches of Black Sea Bass and Porgies were the norm on these trips, which made spending the few extra bucks a very good investment. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
3BLACK GOLD, Cape May, NJ – 1933 Captain George Williams' "BLACK GOLD" from Cape May, NJ circa 1933. She was built in 1924 at West Norfolk, VA. Her advertising was as follows... "For a good Day's Fishing. Leaves Cape May daily for the fishing banks on the arrival of the Reading Railroad Excursion Train. Lines, Bait and Baskets on Boat."
4CAPT. JOE II, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 Captain Joseph 'Archie' Buckner's "CAPT. JOE II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1933. Built in 1899 at East Boothbay, ME as the sailing sloop "ALBION", she first sailed as a party fishing boat from Freeport, NY under the command of Captain Joseph Baynor who named her the "CAPT. JOE II".
Captain 'Archie' Buckner was a legendary party boat captain and one of the true 'Wreck Masters' of the era. Before coming to Sheepshead Bay, Captain Buckner worked aboard the deep sea fishing steamboat ‘TAURUS" as a Fishing Pilot. (A Fishing Pilot was not the Captain, but was responsible for directing the Captain how to navigate the vessel over prime (and often secret) fishing bottom and wrecks.)
In 1913, Captain Buckner left the "TAURUS" to join his good friend Captain Fred Wrege at Sheepshead Bay. Captain Buckner became the Captain and part owner of the "M.J.R. II" along with Captain Wrege during his first years at Sheepshead Bay. In 1919, he purchased the "CAPT. JOE II" from Captain Joseph Baynor and began his own party boat business. Captain 'Artie' Wickberg purchased the "CAPT. JOE II" from Captain Buckner in 1941 when he retired due to illness. She was later appropriated by the federal government and operated as a 'Scout Patrol' vessel, and then sank in 1943 off the Massachusetts coast. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
5COMANCHE, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 Captain Lou Dodge's COMANCHE from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1933. Built in 1914 at Bellmore, NY, she first sailed from the Brooklyn Piers for one season before relocating to Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Captain Joe Moravoc purchased the "COMANCHE" in 1922 and relocated her to Sheepshead Bay. When he built the "COMANCHE II" in 1931, Captain Moravoc sold the "COMANCHE" to Captain Lou Dodge, who continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay until the end of World War II. Afterwards, she became the commercial fishing boat "ELIZABETH III". The boat was dismantled in 1946. On a side note, Captain Lou Dodge‘s actual name was Louis Dethloff. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
6GLORY, Brooklyn, NY / Miami, FL – 1933 This 1933 advertising postcard shows the "GLORY" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY when she was sailing from Miami, Florida during the winter season. Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin was at the helm. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
7GLORY and SYLPH, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 The converted yachts "GLORY" and "SYLPH" are captured in this photo while steaming back to Sheepshead Bay from an 'Atlantic City Special' fishing trip in 1933. The "GLORY" was operated by Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin, and was built in 1896 at Weymouth, MA as the yacht "INDOLENT". Captain John Nugent operated the "SYLPH" and John Roach & Co., Chester, PA, built her in 1898. The "SYLPH" originally served as a Presidential Yacht; the US Navy commissioned her on August 18, 1898 at the Norfolk Navy Yard. She served in this capacity for Presidents McKinley (1898-1901), Roosevelt (1901-1909), Taft (1909-1913) and Wilson (1913-1921). In 1921, the Navy re-designated her as Patrol Yacht "PY-5" and she sailed on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. She joined the Sheepshead Bay fishing fleet shortly after the Navy decommissioned her in April 1929. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
8HELEN, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 Judging by her design and speed, the "HELEN" appears to be a former 'rum runner'. Notice the low forward 'trunk cabin' wheelhouse. Many 'rum runners' were built with a low profile so they wouldn't be detected against the backdrop of the shoreline while operating in the dark. As her banner proclaims, the "HELEN" sailed from Brady's Dock at 8:00 AM and picked up additional fares in Sheepshead Bay at 9:00 AM. She was operated by Captain William Mertineit. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
9ONLEY, Atlantic City, NJ – 1933 A 1933 postcard for Captain Elwood Starn's fishing boat "ONLEY" from Atlantic City, NJ. Built in 1904 at Pocomoke City, MD, she first sailed (literally) as a party boat from Angelsea, NJ (later known as Wildwood, NJ). In 1930, Captain Starn purchased the boat and relocated her to Atlantic City.
10PALACE, Hoboken, NJ – 1933 The "PALACE" was a steel-hulled vessel originally built in 1899 as the luxury steam yacht "IDALIA". Under the command of Captain Edward Baletti, she sailed from the 15th Street Pier at Hoboken, NJ and then made a stop at Battery Park, NY to pick up additional anglers before heading to the fishing grounds. She was the fastest party boat in the fleet during this era. She often reached her top speed (said to have been 19 knots) during ad hoc boat races while on the way to the fishing grounds. After snapping propeller shafts on three separate occasions while racing, Captain Baletti decided to operate the "PALACE" at a more leisurely pace.
Acquired in 1942 by the US government for the war effort, the "PALACE" became the costal patrol vessel "PYC-33". Later that same year, she was reclassified and renamed the "YAG-13", and was assigned to the Commander-In-Chief Atlantic for duty with the Sound School at Key West, FL. She served the training command until transferred to Service Squadron 1 in October 1943 and operated out of Key West, FL as a miscellaneous auxiliary vessel until reassigned to the 5th Naval District.
In June 1944, the Navy decommissioned and returned the boat to Captain Baletti, but her deteriorated condition made her unsuitable for carrying passengers for hire. As compensation, the government provided Captain Baletti with a surplus World War II Sub Chaser. On September 9, 1944, the "PALACE" was towed to the Virginia coast for use as a practice target vessel. Once on station, the US Navy Light Cruiser "VICKSBURG" promptly sank her with cannon fire. Photo courtesy of Phil Castellano.
11ANGLER, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 The "ANGLER" was originally built in 1898 at the Crescent Shipyard, Elizabeth, NJ, as the luxury steam yacht "ELREBA". She began sailing as a party boat in 1926 when she was purchased by Captain H. J. Wheeler. He renamed her the "ANGLER" and she sailed daily from the Battery in Manhattan, NY. In 1928 Captain Wheeler sold her to Captain Fred Plage and she relocated to Sheepshead Bay (as depicted in this 1934 advertising postcard.) Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
12FIDUS II, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Steve Wischerth's "FIDUS II" from Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY was another converted luxury steam yacht to join the party boat fleet during the Great Depression. This 140 foot steel-hulled yacht was built in 1906 as the "ALONDRA". She was owned by millionaire radio manufacturer A. Atwater Kent before Captain Wischerth purchased her in the spring of 1932. The boat underwent her conversion to a party fishing boat at Petersen's Boatyard at Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, NY, where her wine cellar, safe, grand piano, and chandeliers were removed to prepare her for her new fishing duties. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
13FLYING D II, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Frank Knuth's "FLYING D II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY was built in 1934 by Bergen Beach Boat Works, located in the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, NY. Ernest Fiedler was the proprietor of Bergen Beach Boat Works and he built many of the 45-foot party boats that sailed from New York and New Jersey during the 1930s and 1940s. Photo courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
14GIRALDA, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Dave Martin's "GIRALDA" from Pier 6, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. The "GIRALDA" was built in 1896 by James M. Baylis & Son at Port Jefferson, NY as a luxury yacht. Captain Martin purchased her in 1914 and converted into a party fishing boat. As noted on this advertising postcard, Captain Dave Martin indeed was a pioneer of offshore wreck fishing.
15GLORY, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 This 1934 advertising postcard depicts a young Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr. as the master of the "GLORY" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. In 1932, soon after Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin Sr. purchased the "SACHEM", he turned the helm of the "GLORY" over to his son. She was one of the last old-time boats with direct reverse gearing, meaning you had to stop and restart the engine so it spins in the other direction to get reverse thrust. When they reversed the engine, she would blow perfect smoke rings out of the exhaust funnel. In 1971, Captain Martin sold the "GLORY" to Captain John O'Leary. She ran aground at Sea Bright, NJ in June 1975 and was destroyed.
16ILSE III, New Rochelle, NY – 1934 A 1934 postcard for Captain Charles Simpson’s "ILSE III". She sailed from Hudson Park, New Rochelle, NY and was built in 1905 at Baltimore, MD.
17NANCY B, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 The "NANCY B" was built in 1910 at Stratford, CT and was originally owned by Captain Charles Burton who sailed her from the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, NY. Captain Axel Lyons later purchased the "NANCY B" and continued to operate her from Canarsie. In 1922, Captain Lyons relocated the "NANCY B" to Manhattan, and in 1925, he moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Captain Lyons was a member of the Sheepshead Bay Boat Owners Association (S.B.B.O.A.) and you can see the Association's pennant proudly flown on the jack staff. Photo courtesy of Phil Nuss.
18NAUTILUS II, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Frank Stefano's "NAUTILUS II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. At the time, the boat departed daily from Pier 4. The "NAUTILUS II" was built in 1929 at Gerritsen Beach, NY and originally sailed under the command of Captain Joe Stefano until he died in 1933 and his son Frank took over the helm. Later, she was sold to Captain Tom De Fina who continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay.
In 1969, she was sold to Captain Franklin Hammer who renamed her "WHITBY". Subsequently, she was the last vessel to sail under the "WHITBY" name from Sheepshead Bay until 1975 when she relocated to Chicago and operated on the Great Lakes. In 1980 she was again sold to a private owner who relocated her to Key West, Florida. Alas she was dropped from documentation in 2007 and her fate is unknown.
19SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Jake Martin’s steam powered party boat "SACHEM" from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT". Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased her and renamed her as the "SACHEM". The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192). During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental ocean communications work during secret cruises to the Caribbean. She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919. Mr. Metcalf later sold her to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor.
In 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and she would become one of many yachts purchased during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat. She made regular trips to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ. Their advertisements ask you to "See the NY Daily News and NY American newspapers for daily sailings or telephone Sheepshead 3-3985". In 1936, Captain Martin replaced her coal-fired boiler with a 750 HP Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine. While the new diesel was more convenient to operate, her speed dropped to 12 knots (she could make 15 knots when she was steam powered.)
The "SACHEM" sailed as a party boat until the start of World War II when the federal government appropriated her (a second time) for the then tidy sum of $65,000. The US Navy again converted her to an armed yacht and used her to patrol the waters off the Florida Keys under the name "PHENAKITE". At the end of the war, the US Navy returned the "SACHEM" to Captain Martin, who promptly sold her to the Circle Line in New York City. She was modified to carry 492 passengers on two decks and renamed the "SIGHTSEER" (she later became the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and "CIRCLE LINE V"); and ran sightseeing trips around Manhattan. She was the flagship of the Circle Line fleet and their fastest vessel. At the end of her life, she was stripped of all of her fine mahogany millwork and brass fittings; and was dismantled in 1984.
20SEA PIGEON II, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain 'Lucky' Steve Onody's brand new 47-foot "SEA PIGEON II" sailing from Pier 2 at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. She was built in 1934 at the Scott McBurney Boat Yard in Brooklyn, NY. In 1945, Captain Onody sold the "SEA PIGEON II" to Captain 'Willy' Sutherland, who later sold the boat to Captain 'Heckey' Sackstein. In 1967, Captain Sackstein sold her to Captain Irving Moss who renamed her "DIXIE" and continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay.
21BRIELLE FLEET, Brielle, NJ – 1935 This 1935 photo shows how the Brielle party boat fleet and docks appeared a few years after the opening of the Manasquan Inlet in 1931 and the Brielle fishing fleet was established. Visible in the center of the photo is the "DIANA". Off her stern, from right to left, are the "PARAMOUNT", "LOUNGER" and "DOLPHIN". Note the vintage automobiles in the parking lot and the dirt road running along the bulkhead.
22CACHALOT, Point Pleasant, NJ – 1935 The "CACHALOT" from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ circa 1935. Built in 1932 by Johnson Brothers Boat Works at Bay Head, NJ, she was operated by Captain Bill Hulse. A $2 fare was typical for a day's fishing during the Great Depression.
23EFFORT II, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 Captain Sid Wilsey’s "EFFORT II" from Pier 5, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1935. Built in 1923 at Brooklyn, NY, she was originally owned by Fred Wrege. In 1930, after purchasing a World War I subchaser and converting her for fishing as his "EFFORT III", Captain Wrege sold the "EFFORT II" to Captain Charlie Freiberger. Captain Sid Wilsey purchased her in 1935 and later sold her to Captain 'Sparks' Telesca who renamed the boat the "ATOMIC". Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
24EFFORT II, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 A 1935 postcard for Captain Sid Wilsey’s "EFFORT II" from Pier 5, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Built in 1923 at Brooklyn, NY, she was originally owned by Captain Fred Wrege. In 1930, after purchasing a World War I subchaser and converting her for fishing as his "EFFORT III", Captain Wrege sold the "EFFORT II" to Captain Charlie Freiberger. Captain Sid Wilsey purchased her in 1935 and later sold her to Captain 'Sparks' Telesca who renamed the boat the "ATOMIC". Postcard courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
25EFFORT III Postcard, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 Captain Frederick B. Wrege's "EFFORT III" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1935. The "EFFORT III" was a converted World War I US Navy subchaser (the "SC-122") that was built in 1917 at Norfolk, VA. Captain Wrege purchased the boat in 1927 and converted her for party boat fishing. Photo courtesy of the Captain Fred Wrege and Captain Charles VanDerVoort families.
26ELMAR III, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 The "ELMAR III" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY with Captain Gus Rau circa 1935. The "ELMAR III" was a converted World War I US Navy Subchaser (SC–186). She was built in 1917 at Upper Nyack, NY.
27FISHER, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 The "FISHER" sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY under the command of Captain Frank Schwarzbach. She was built specifically for party boat fishing in 1927 at Brooklyn, NY. In 1949, she was sold to Captain Jackie Michaels and she continued to sail from Sheepshead Bay as his "AMERICA". She later sailed for one season as Captain Walter Zirkle's "BROOKLYN" and later as Captains 'Red' Tanfield and Gerry Nappi's "CAPT. RED". Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
28FLYING D II, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 The "FLYING D II" from Pier 2, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1935. Captain Frank 'Lupo' Knuth operated the "FLYING D II". Many years later, she became Captain Gary Fagan's "BLUEFIN" from Belmar, NJ. Ernest Fiedler built the "FLYING D II" in 1934 at Brooklyn, NY and she is a good example of the 45-foot party boats he made. Fiedler also built the "PILOT II", the "MARGARET", the "WHITE EAGLE", the "ELAINE-B" and the "JOVIAL" (Fiedler built all of these boats in Brooklyn and all of them sailed from Sheepshead Bay.)
29GIRALDA, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 Captain Dave Martin's "GIRALDA" from Pier 8, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1935. The "GIRALDA" originally was a luxury yacht that Captain Martin purchased in 1914 and converted into a party fishing boat.
Captain Martin billed himself as the "Pioneer of Off Shores Wrecks" and the marketing shtick was as follows... "Do you want a real good deep sea fishing and a healthful sail? Then try a trip with us now. More fish caught than in years. Ladies are also having wonderful catches and Thrills Galore. Fare including bait is $2.50. Sails daily at 7:45 AM and 4:30 AM Sunday." Hmm, makes you wonder what sort of thrills the ladies got.
30MIRAMAR, Brooklyn, NY – 1935 Captain Joe Ecock’s "MIRAMAR" from Pier 1, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1935. Built in 1910, she was a 100-foot, steel hulled, converted steam yacht.