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Wheeler set for a comeback

JUNE 13 - The long-defunct Wheeler Yacht Company, known for its rugged, seaworthy sportfishing yachts, is poised to introduce its first new boat in more than 40 years.

The Tom Fexas-designed 55-foot Legacy Sedan is scheduled for its first sea trial next summer. Wes P. Wheeler, the great grandson of company founder Howard E. Wheeler, says the Legacy Sedan — modeled after Wheeler’s 1952 48-foot Sportfisherman — will exceed today’s standards of construction, performance and luxury. “This is all very exciting,” Wheeler says. “I can’t wait to see the first one splashed.” The 55-footer has a beam of 17 feet, 11 inches and draws 4 feet, 6 inches at half-load. The


standard package includes twin 1,015-hp Caterpillar C-18s for a cruising speed of around 32 mph. Optional twin 1,652-hp Caterpillar C-32s will be available, for a top speed of around 48 mph. Wheeler estimates the base price will be $2.5 million.

Founded in 1910 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Wheeler perhaps was best known for its “Playmate” line of wooden yachts, the first of which was Ernest Hemingway’s 38-footer, Pilar. The company dissolved in 1965.

For the complete article, see the August issue of Soundings.

Jason Fell