1SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1937 A 1937 postcard for Captain Jake Martin’s diesel yacht "SACHEM" from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. 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. This advertising postcard was produced shortly after 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 purportedly dismantled in 1984, but we know better.
2THISLDO, Wildwood Crest, NJ – 1937 The "THISLDO" was built 1935 at Croyton, PA and sailed from Wildwood Crest, NJ. In 1943, Captain Percy T. Blake purchased the boat and operated her as his "LOLETTA II" from Wildwood Crest, NJ.
3AGNES, Point Pleasant, NJ – 1938 The "AGNES" is shown entering Manasquan Inlet in 1938. Built in 1928 at Long Branch, NJ, she originally sailed from Beach Haven, NJ. Like many vessels from other ports, she relocated to Point Pleasant after the Manasquan Inlet re-opened in 1931. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
4ALBATROSS, Brielle, NJ – 1938 The "ALBATROSS" from Manasquan River Yacht Basin, Brielle, NJ circa 1938. She was a 'skipjack' style party boat built in 1936 by Ernest Fiedler at Bergen Beach Boat Works, Brooklyn, NY. She was owned by Captain Henry Hillmann and was operated by Captain Dick Wilson. Photo Courtesy of Captain Jack Bogan.
5AMERICA, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 Captain 'Jackie' Michaels' "AMERICA" is shown returning to Pier 4 at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1938. The "AMERICA" was built in 1914 at Brooklyn, New York and she sailed from Sheepshead Bay under the command of Captain Michaels until a larger vessel replaced her in 1948.
She was then sold to Captain Pete Saro Sr. who relocated the boat to Belmar, New Jersey as his "SPRAY II". In 1961, she was purchased by Captain “Freddie” Kern who continued to sail her from Belmar, New Jersey until he sold her in1968. The boat was then relocated to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Removed from documentation in 1979 for undisclosed reasons, her present fate is unknown.
6ATLANTIC, Freeport, NY – 1938 In 1938, the "ATLANTIC" sailed from Freeport, New York under the command of Captain Abraham 'Abe' Stenzel. This 56-foot boat was built in 1934 at Brookhaven, NY and was what boatmen at the time commonly referred to as a 'sailing hull' style party boat.
In 1952, Captain Stenzel sold the boat to Captain Carl Forsberg who continued to sail her under the "ATLANTIC" name from Montauk, NY. At the time, the "ATLANTIC" was the only vessel in the Viking Fleet not to bear a VIKING name (she was finally renamed as the "VIKING" in 1956.)
In 1962, the boat was sold and relocated to Portland, Maine and continued to sail as the "VIKING". Her present fate is unknown.
7CHAPPIE, Brielle, NJ – 1938 Captain George Chapman's "CHAPPIE" from Brielle, NJ circa 1938. Ernest Fiedler of Bergen Beach Boat Works of Brooklyn, NY built her in 1937. Captain Howard Dunkin later operated her as the "CHAPPIE" fleet added more vessels. She would later sail as the "MISS MANASQUAN" and her fate beyond that is unknown. Photo courtesy of Captain 'Jack' Bogan.
8CHAPPIE II, Brielle, NJ – 1938 Captain George Chapman's "CHAPPIE II" is shown returning to Brielle, NJ in 1938 after a day of fishing. The "CHAPPIE II" was built in 1938 by Ernest Fiedler at the Bergen Beach Boat Works, Brooklyn, NY. Sold in 1950 to Captain Walter Siegler, she became the "MARIE S II" from Avon, NJ. Sold again in 1955 to Walter Steiwald, she became the "CAPT. WALT" from Belmar, NJ. Her last move was to Virginia where she sailed as the "JOLLY ROGER". Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
9DOROTHY B and GRACE, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 Captain Joseph and Frank Bradshaw's "DOROTHY B" and Captain Walter Montague's "GRACE" 'skipjack' class party boats are shown fishing on the Elberon, NJ grounds in this 1938 photograph. You can see the stern of the "GLORY" in the background.
10EFFORT III, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 Captain Fred Wrege's "EFFORT III" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1938. The "EFFORT III" was a converted World War I US Navy Subchaser ("SC-122") that was built in 1917 at Norfolk, VA. She joined the Sheepshead Bay fleet in 1927 when Captain Wrege purchased her and converted her for party boat fishing. She was sold in 1950 to Captain Jimmy Carves who sailed her from Perth Amboy, NJ as his "BELBOY III".
11FIDUS, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 Captain Philip Wright's "FIDUS" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1938. The Elco Boat Works, Bayonne, NJ built the boat in 1917 as the US Navy Subchaser "SC-101". She first sailed as a party fishing boat with Captain Steve Wischerth from Canarsie, Brooklyn before relocating to Sheepshead Bay. In 1944, Captain Lester Baletti purchased the boat and she became his "PALACE II" from Hoboken, NJ. The boat later returned to Sheepshead Bay as the "WHITBY III". She was eventually taken out of documentation and then dismantled in 1970.
An interesting note is that when Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato was running night bluefishing trips on the "WHITBY III", he found the boat's logbook and it contained entries dating back to when she was the "SC-101". According to the log, the "SC-101" sailed completely around the world three times!
12GLORY, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 The "GLORY" in 1938 as she returns to Pier 5 with a crowd of anglers. Captain 'Chubby' Martin watches from the wheelhouse as his customers disembark. Notice how narrow this vessel is (even after her widening in 1923.) Also, note the heavy anchor line and the fine mahogany woodwork.
13HELEN H, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 The original "HELEN H" skippered by Captain Alex Hansen circa 1938. She sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. She was built at Brooklyn, NY in 1930 and Harry Rigby (the owner/operator of the party boat "BROOKLYN") designed the boat. She later became the "FIDUS", the "ELLEN S", and then Captain Joe Burns' "MOHAWK" from Point Pleasant, NJ. Boats of this type were referred to as 'skipjack class' party boats.
14OPTIMIST, Shark River, NJ – 1938 Captain Charlie Dodd's original "OPTIMIST" from Belmar, NJ circa 1938. She was built in 1929 at Freeport, NY and was purchased by Captain Dodd in 1937. The "OPTIMIST" originally sailed from the Shark River at Belmar, NJ (just to the east of the Route 71 Bridge.) In 1939, Captain Dodd relocated the "OPTIMIST" and she became the first party boat to sail from the Belmar Marina. She was later sold and sailed as the "KAY-T" until she was dismantled in 1959. Photo courtesy of Ray Dodd.
15OPTIMIST, Belmar, NJ – 1938 Captain Charlie Dodd's original "OPTIMIST" enters Shark River Inlet with a crowd of fishermen in 1938. The forty foot long "OPTIMIST" was built in 1929 at Freeport, New York and purchased by Captain Dodd in 1937.
She originally sailed from the Shark River at Belmar, NJ (just to the east of the Route 71 bridge), but in 1939, Captain Dodd relocated the boat across the river and the "OPTIMIST" became the first party fishing boat to sail from the then new Belmar Marina. The OPTIMIST name would go on to be a fixture of the Belmar, New Jersey party fishing fleet for the next sixty years.
Years later, she was replaced by a larger vessel and was renamed the "KAY-T", and was finally dismantled in 1959. Photo courtesy of Ray Dodd.
16PARAMOUNT, Brielle, NJ – 1938 The "PARAMOUNT" returning to Brielle, NJ after a day of fishing circa 1938. Built at Brooklyn, NY in 1930, she was originally owned (indirectly) by the gangster 'Dutch' Shultz who operated her as a "rum-runner" during the prohibition era. The boat was "busted" on her very first smuggling run and sold at government auction to the Bogan Family in 1930. The "PARAMOUNT" began her fishing career sailing from Bayonne, NJ until 1931 when the Bogan family relocated to Brielle, New Jersey.
In 1934, the "PARAMOUNT" responded to the Morro Castle disaster and rescued 67 passengers from the ill-fated passenger liner. The federal government seized her for coastal patrol use during World War II and she ended her most interesting fishing career in Bermuda. Photo courtesy of Captain 'Jack' Bogan.
17STROLLER, Wildwood, NJ – 1938 A 1938 advertising postcard for Captain Robert Pierpont’s fishing yacht "STROLLER" from Wildwood, NJ. She was built in 1906 at Patchogue, NY. In 1956, she was sold to Captain John Hall and continued to sail from Wildwood until she was dismantled in 1962.
18TWO BROTHERS, Brooklyn, NY – 1938 The "TWO BROTHERS" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1938. Captain 'Hecky' Vreeland operated the "TWO BROTHERS" at the time. Built in 1929 at Brooklyn, NY, she was a classic 55-footer of the era. Later sold to Captain Sparta 'Sparks' Telesca, the "TWO BROTHERS" continued to sail from Sheepshead Bay until commissioned for Patrol Duty during World War II. In September 1944, she ran into foul weather while on fire patrol along the New Jersey coast and sustained irreparable damage (and was later condemned and dismantled.)
19DIANA, Brielle, NJ – 1939 The "DIANA" sailed from Brielle, NJ and was owned and operated by Captain Bob Zeigler. Captain Zeigler built The "DIANA" in 1931 at New Brunswick, NJ and she was constructed with full-length hull planking that ran from the stem to the stern in one piece. The US Navy requisitioned her during World War II (starting July 1943) and used her as a coastal patrol boat (the "YP-323"). The US Navy returned her to Captain Zeigler at the conclusion of the war and he continued to sail the "DIANA" from Brielle until 1974. She was then sold and relocated to Captree, NY where she became the charter boat "ODIN". She was later converted to a privately owned yacht and sailed on Long Island Sound until she was dismantled in 2002. Photo courtesy of Captain Jack Bogan.
20EFFORT III, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 This photo of Captain Fred Wrege's "EFFORT III" shows her returning to Pier 6 at Sheepshead Bay in 1939. She is sporting black hull paint, which was applied to hide the rust streaks caused by the steel hull fasteners utilized in her original construction. In 1949, Captain Fred Wrege purchased a surplus World War II Subchaser and soon sold the "EFFORT III" to Captain Jimmy Carves who sailed her from Perth Amboy, NJ as his "BELBOY III". She was finally dismantled in 1957. Photo courtesy of the Captain Fred Wrege and Captain Charles VanDerVoort families.
21EMMA R., Wildwood, NJ – 1939 Captain Theodore Riedel's "EMMA R." from Cold Spring Harbor at Wildwood, NJ circa 1939. The "EMMA R." was built in 1923 at Dorchester, NJ. In 1949, she relocated to Atlantic City, NJ and sailed from there from until 1966 when she was dismantled.
22FLYING CLOUD II, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 The "FLYING CLOUD II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1939. Built in 1901 at Patchogue, New York as the "MILDRED", she sailed as the "FLYING CLOUD II" from Pier 2 at Sheepshead Bay under the command of Captain Henry Gunther Jr. She was powered by a four-cylinder Atlas diesel engine that produced a trademark 'chugging' sound.
In 1960, Captain Bill McNamara purchased the boat and moved her to the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, New York. She was then sold in 1963 to Captain Fred Bird who relocated her to Montauk, New York. In 1977, Captain Bird replaced the boat with a larger vessel and her present fate is unknown. The FLYING CLOUD is currently the oldest continuous name in party boat fishing.
23GEORGA-MAN, Cape May, NJ – 1939 This advertising postcard of Captain Dave Hart's "GEORGA-MAN" dates from 1939. The "GEORGA-MAN" was built in 1930 at Morris Heights, New York and she originally sailed as the "OYSINANISKAK". Later, she was sold to Captain Charlie Roseman, who continued to sail her from Cape May, NJ until 1960 when she was dropped from documentation and her fate is unknown.
24GLORY, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 The "GLORY" skippered by Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr. circa 1939. She was built in 1896 at Weymouth, MA as the steam yacht "INDOLENT". She began her fishing career in 1914 when she was purchased by Captain Harold 'Harry' Hansen and sailed from Brooklyn's west side. She was relocated to Sheepshead Bay in 1915.
In 1922, Captain Hansen sold the "INDOLENT" to his son-in-law, Jacob 'Jake' Martin Sr., who renamed her as the "GLORY". In 1932, Captain Martin went on to own and operate the larger steam yacht "SACHEM" and passed the helm of the "GLORY" to his son, Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr.
25WHITBY II and EFFORT III, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 Captain Franklin Hammer's "WHITBY II" and Captain Fred Wrege's "EFFORT III" circa 1939. Both boats were converted World War I Subchasers; the "WHITBY II" was built in 1918 at Brooklyn, NY as the "SC-168" and the "EFFORT III" was built in 1917 at Norfolk, VA as the "SC-122". In this 1939 photograph, they are shown porgy fishing side-by-side and both boats are crowded with anglers. If you consider that these two boats sailed from adjacent piers and that there were eight other piers, you can get an idea of the huge number of anglers that went fishing from Sheepshead Bay. (In 1939, about 55 party boats, plus a similar amount in the 'mosquito fleet', sailed from Sheepshead Bay.) Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
26NAUTILUS, Wildwood, NJ – 1939 Built in 1912 at Pocomoke City, MD, the "NAUTILUS" was owned and operated by Captain Joshua Shivers and sailed from Wildwood, NJ.
27NAUTILUS II, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 The "NAUTILUS II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1939. She sailed from Pier 7 under the command of Captain Frank Stefano. The "NAUTILUS II" was built in 1929 at Gerritsen Beach, NY. She 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 the "WHITBY". Subsequently, she would be the last vessel to sail under the "WHITBY" name from Sheepshead Bay. Photo courtesy of Captain Andrew Nazzaruolo.
28ROVER, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 Captain Ed Clair's "ROVER" from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1939. The "ROVER" was another small charter boat that sailed from the piers of Sheepshead Bay. These types of smaller vessels 'filled in the gaps' and during the heyday of Sheepshead Bay, every foot of pier space was occupied by a successful fishing business. Captain Ed's father Frank Clair was responsible for bringing the "SYLPH" to Sheepshead Bay and later went on to be a partner in New York City's famous "CIRCLE-LINE" sightseeing fleet. Captain Ed later graduated to the rank of party boat operator when he purchased the "VICTORY" in the late 1940s, which was one of four converted subchasers sailing from 'The Bay' at the time.
29SYLPH, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 The "SYLPH" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1939. Originally purchased by the US Navy in June 1898 from her builder, John Roach & Co., Chester, PA, she was commissioned as a presidential yacht 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. In 1925, the Navy permanently moored her at the Washington Navy Yard, where she remained until her decommissioning in April 1929.
Frank B. Clair of Brooklyn, New York purchased her in November 1929 (Mr. Clair was reportedly an ex-bootlegger.) Mr. Clair and his partner Captain John Nugent converted her into a party fishing boat and operated her from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. In 1935, her boiler failed and she was re-powered with a 400 HP Worthington diesel engine. This picture was taken soon after her party boat fishing career ended; she began operating as a ferry and sight seeing vessel in April of 1939.
30VAGABOND, Brooklyn, NY – 1939 Although most of the attention in Sheepshead Bay focused on the party boat fleet, there were several small charter boats available for hire on a daily basis. This 1939 advertising postcard for the "VAGABOND" is a good example of one of these charter boats. Built in 1927 at Noank, CT, she was operated by Captains Dan Quinn and John Engelbrecht. Notice the harpoon nested in her bow pulpit. (Back then you never knew when you were going to spot a basking Swordfish or Sturgeon in the local waters.)