Wheeler History

The Wheeler Yacht Company was founded over 100 years ago by Howard E. Wheeler, an entrepreneur, in Brooklyn, New York. He had five sons who learned the family business and ran the company for over 50 years. During the period between 1910 and 1965, the family built over 3,500 boats of the finest quality of their time.


Most of the boats were crafted of wood. The hull frames and keel were oak; the hull planking and cabin sides were solid mahogany; and the decks were teak. The fittings were stainless or bronze, and the tanks and shafts made of monel.

The family shut down pleasure yacht building during both world wars. In the first, Wheeler produced sub chasers for the US Navy. During World War II, Wheeler built all 300 of the 83' US Coast Guard cutters, the US Navy ATR rescue tugs, US Army cargo FS/FP ships (The ship USS Reluctant in the movie "Mr. Roberts") and 136' Navy YMS minesweepers, etc.


The Wheelers earned eight Navy "E" pennants for distinguished service to the US military.

Probably the most famous of all Wheelers was Ernest Hemingway's “Pilar”. The Pilar was custom built for Hemingway and became the first of the Wheeler "Playmate" series. The 38' sport fisherman was built in 1934 and delivered to Hemingway in Miami. The yacht cost $7,455.00.  The yacht became an important part of Hemingway's life, and he would go on to reference the Pilar in his books and interviews.