1NAUTILUS 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.
2ROVER, 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.
3SYLPH, 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.
4VAGABOND, 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.)
5CAPT. JOHNSON, Cape May, NJ – 1940 The "CAPT. JOHNSON" from Cape May, NJ and skippered by Captain Ralph Johnson circa 1940. Captain Ralph is the son of Captain Thomas Johnson (he skippered the boat during the 1920's.) The boat fare was $2.00 and offered "Good accomodations for ladies and children. Lines, bait, baskets and refreshments on the boat."
6ELMAR III, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1940 Captain Gus Rau's "ELMAR III" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1940. The "ELMAR III" was a converted World War I US Navy Subchaser ("SC–186") built in 1917 at Upper Nyack, NY. She was one of four converted World War I Subchasers sailing as party fishing boats from Sheepshead Bay at the time.
7FLEUR DE LIS, Wildwood, NJ – 1940 Captain Harry Sinn's "FLEUR DE LIS" from Wildwood, NJ circa 1940. She was built in 1930 by the Kofoed Boat Works, Keyport, NJ and was used as a prohibition-era rumrunner boat. Rumrunner boats typically had a low profile so patrol vessels could not easily see their silhouette against the backdrop of shore lights. A few years after this photo was taken, her deck was raised and a cabin and wheelhouse were added.
8GIRALDA, Brooklyn, NY – 1940 Captain Dave Martin's coal–fired steam powered party boat "GIRALDA" returns to her pier at Sheepshead Bay on June 3, 1940. The "GIRALDA" originally was a luxury yacht that Captain Martin purchased in 1914 and converted into a party fishing boat. She was built by James A. Baylis & Sons, of Port Jefferson, NY and was launched in July 1896. Captain Dave Martin became the pioneer of offshore wreck fishing aboard the "GIRALDA" during the 1920s and 1930s.
9GLORY, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1940 A large crowd looks on shortly after the "GLORY" returned to Pier 5 at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1940. The "GLORY" was skippered by Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr. 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 began sailing from Brooklyn's west side. She relocated to Sheepshead Bay in 1915. In 1922, Captain Hansen sold the "INDOLENT" to his son-in-law, Jacob 'Jake' Martin Sr., who would rename 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.
10LILLIE R, Brielle, NJ – 1940 The "LILLIE R" from Brielle, NJ circa 1940. While registered at Seaside Park, NJ (as shown on her transom), she actually sailed from Brielle, NJ. Owned and operated by Captain Henry Titus, she specialized in bay flounder fishing. The boat was built in 1929 at Camden, NJ. Photo courtesy of Captain Jack Bogan.
11LUCKY STRIKE, Cape May, NJ – 1940 The "LUCKY STRIKE" from the Market Street Ferry, Cape May, NJ and skippered by Captain Charles Roseman circa 1940. She was another of the many Cape May boats that catered to fishermen arriving on the "Fisherman's Special" train from Philadelphia, PA. She was possibly a converted prohibition-era "rumrunner" boat. This 50 foot vessel was built in 1924 at Atlantic City, NJ for Captain George J. Roseman Jr.
12MISS KENSINGTON, Brielle, NJ – 1940 Captain William Showers charter boat "MISS KENSINGTON" from Brielle Yacht Basin, Brielle, NJ circa 1940. The “MISS KENSINGTON” was built in 1937 at Ruark, VA and originally sailed from Wildwood, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Captain Raymond Messemer.
13 Captain James 'Speedy Jim' Bogan Sr. bringing the "PARAMOUNT III" into Manasquan Inlet circa 1940. The Johnson Brothers Boat Works built the "PARAMOUNT III" in 1939 for the Bogan family and she sailed from the Manasquan River Yacht Basin, Brielle, NJ. Captain John Bogan Jr. operated the "PARAMOUNT III" until the end of World War II when Captain Charles Fuchs took over the helm. The "PARAMOUNT III" caught fire at her dock in 1948, but she was quickly repaired and her gasoline engine was replaced with a diesel engine. She returned to the Bogan fleet as the "FALCON" and Captain William Egerter Jr. took over the operation of this vessel. Later, Captain Al Wirth purchased the boat and sailed her as the "FALCON" from Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Photo courtesy of Captain Dave Bogan Sr.
14RALPH J, Cape May, NJ – 1940 The "RALPH J" from Schellenger's Landing, Cape May, NJ and skippered by Captain George Barcey circa 1940. The "RALPH J" was built 1912 at Holly Beach, NJ. She was one of the many party boats that waited for anglers arriving on the Fisherman's Special train from Philadelphia, PA. "A fine catch every trip. Sea Bass, Flounders, Porgies, Croakers and Weakfish."
15SEA PIGEON II, Brooklyn, NY – 1940 Captain Steve Onody's skipjack-style party boat "SEA PIGEON II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1940. The Scott McBurney Boat Yard at Brooklyn, NY built the boat for Captain Onody in 1934. In 1945, Captain Onody sold the "SEA PIGEON II" to Captain 'Willy' Sutherland, who later sold the boat to Captain 'Heckey' Sakstein. In 1967 Captain Sakstein sold her to Captain Irving Moss who renamed her "DIXIE" and continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay. Photo Courtesy of Captain Ron Moss.
16SHEEPSHEAD BAY MOSQUITO FLEET, Brooklyn, NY – 1940 This photo was taken at the east side of "The Bay" circa 1940 and illustrates just how many smaller vessels (the Mosquito Fleet) were moored at Sheepshead Bay at the time. Of course, this was in addition to the party and charter boat fleets.
17VAUD J II, Cape May, NJ – 1940 The "VAUD J. II" from Schellenger's Landing, Cape May, NJ and skippered by Captain Harry Mogok circa 1940. The back of the photo announced "Sea bass trips daily to the Old Grounds. Free lines and bait." "100% Organized – Member of the Fisherman's Local Union No. 20354, A. F. of L.". She waited for anglers taking the Fisherman's Special train from the Market Street Wharf, Philadelphia, PA. The "VAUD J II" was a converted World War I subchaser, built in 1918 at Annapolis, MD as the US Navy "SC-409".
18VENTURA, Bronx, NY – 1940 The "VENTURA" from the Bronx, NY circa 1940 and skippered by Captain Dick Meth. Their motto was "If its fishin' you're missin' or sun and fun. Don't wait until the season's done! Call Tivoli two, one four six one."
19WHITBY II, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1940 Captain Franklin Hammer's "WHITBY II" is seen here after returning to Sheepshead Bay after a day of fishing circa 1940. A green painted hull was a 'trademark' of the family's boats that started with the original "WHITBY", A.K.A. the 'Green Dragon', at Canarsie, Brooklyn in 1909.
The "WHITBY II" was built in 1918 at Brooklyn, NY as the US Navy World War I Subchaser "SC-168". She was one of four converted World War I Subchasers sailing from Sheepshead Bay at the time. Sold in 1947, the "WHITBY" was relocated to Gloucester, MA and sailed as the commercial fishing vessel "MADONNA". The vessel was abandoned and dismantled in 1959.
20YANKEE DOODLE II, Jersey City, NJ – 1940 Captain Russell Tonks' "YANKEE DOODLE II" circa 1940. Built in 1912 as the "M.J.R. II", she originally sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY under the command of Captain Fred Wrege. Sold in 1917 to Captain Charles Vreeland, she was renamed the as the "YANKEE DOODLE II" and continued to sail from Sheepshead Bay. Sold again in 1930, the "YANKEE DOODLE II" sailed for one season from the Long Branch Fishing Pier at Long Branch, NJ. In 1931, the vessel was moved to Jersey City, NJ and she operated for the next year as a ferry for construction workers who were building the Pulaski Skyway.
Captain Russell Tonks purchased the "YANKEE DOODLE II" in 1939 and returned her to party boat fishing, first from Jersey City, NJ and later from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ. Over the years, the Tonks family owned and operated many "YANK" named vessels and the "YANKEE DOODLE II" is the origin of that name. Photo courtesy of Skip Tonks.
21BETTY, Atlantic City, NJ – 1941 The "BETTY" sailed from Starn's Pier at Atlantic City under the command of Captain Ernest Miller. The "BETTY" was built in 1916 at Ventnor, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Don Nyce.
22BINGO, Brielle, NJ – 1941 The "BINGO" sailed from Brielle, NJ and was operated by Captain Knute Lovgren. Built in 1919 at Harrison, NJ, she originally sailed from Brielle, NJ as Captain Bill Hummel's "PIRATE". In 1946, she was sold and sailed as Captain Bill Clevenger's "JIGGER" from Montauk, NY. Captain Clevenger later sold her to Captain Howie Carroll. She finished her party boat career sailing as the "FLYING CLOUD". Photo courtesy of Tom Olsen.
23EDNA L., Wildwood Crest, NJ – 1941 The "EDNA L." from Wildwood Crest, NJ circa 1941. Built in 1930 by Kofoed Boat Works at Keyport, NJ as the prohibition rumrunner "LILY OF THE VALLEY", her lapstrake construction consisted of one inch thick cedar planking, and was originally powered by a pair of surplus World War I Liberty aircraft engines. These engines were very practical for rumrunner boats as they were readily available at a low cost, were very lightweight, required only the addition of a marine clutch during outfitting. Such boats were able to produce a speed of 35 knots with a full load of 500 cases of bootleg liquor. When her rum-running days were over, she was sold to Captain Bill Little who installed more conventional engines and renamed her the "EDNA L.". She then sailed daily to the fishing grounds from Wildwood Crest, NJ.
24EFFORT III, Brooklyn, NY – 1941 Fishing aboard the "EFFORT III" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1941. This photo shows just how narrow these converted WW I Sub Chasers were. Although they were 105 feet in length, they had a beam of less than 15 feet.
25ELAINE, Brooklyn, NY – 1941 The "ELAINE" charter sport fishing boat from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY and skippered by Captain Golah Hellstrom circa 1941. Along with deep sea trolling, she also harpooned Swordfish and Tuna (check out the bow pulpit.)
26ELAINE B, Brooklyn, NY – 1941 The original party boat "ELAINE B" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1941. Captain Izzie Bauman was at the helm. Ernest Fiedler built the 45’ "ELAINE B" in 1940 at Brooklyn, NY. Captain Stan Zagleski Sr. later purchased the "ELAINE B" and operated her from Highlands, NJ. Captains Stan and Stan Jr. now sail the "ELAINE-B II" from Highlands, NJ.
27GLORY, Brooklyn, NY – 1941 The "GLORY" skippered by Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr. circa 1941. 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 Harry Hansen and began sailing from Brooklyn's west side. In 1922, Captain Hansen sold the "INDOLENT" to his son-in-law, Jacob 'Jake' Martin, who later renamed her "GLORY". She was the benchmark for party fishing boats for the next decade. In 1932, Captain Jacob Martin went on to own the steam yacht "SACHEM" and passed the helm of the "GLORY" to his son, Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr.
28JACKIE B II, Cape May, NJ –1941 Captain Jack Buhalo's "JACKIE B II" from Schellenger's Landing, Cape May, NJ circa 1941. Built in 1929 by the Kofoed Boat Works, Keyport, NJ, she had three motors (with a whopping total of 230 HP) and triple screws. The advertising for the "JACKIE B II" included the following... "Leaves Cape May daily for the fishing banks and the bay upon arrival of the Fisherman's train from Market Street Wharf, Philadelphia, PA. Boat fare $2.00. Free trip to person catching the largest fish."
29MINERVA, Tuckerton, NJ – 1941 Built in 1949, the "MINERVA" was operated by Captain Ellis Cramer. In 1946, she sailed as the "CAPT. KIDD". Her fate after 1946 is unknown. However, the Cramer family would go on to own and operate several party fishing boats from Sea Isle City, NJ over the next forty years.
30YANKEE DOODLE II, Jersey City, NJ – 1941 The "YANKEE DOODLE II" from Jersey City, NJ circa 1941. The boat was built 1912 at Brooklyn, NY as Captain Fred Wrege's "MJR II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. It then sailed as Captain Charlie Vreeland's "YANKEE DOODLE II" from Long Branch, NJ. After that, the boat sailed as Captain Russel Tonks "YANKEE DOODLE II" from Jersey City, NJ. It was later relocated to Brooklyn as a launch and then dismantled in 1956. The photo is courtesy of Skip Tonks.