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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 4:16 pm    Post subject: Pacemaker History Reply with quote


History of Egg Harbor Yacht Company, Inc.
In 1946, a group of experienced boat builders, Russell Post, Phil Boyd, Harold Care and C.P. Leek, came together to found Egg Harbor Boat Company. Their original model, a 28 foot wooden sea skiff, was designed and built to the highest standards of the time, catering to the more affluent and experienced boaters.

During the 1950's, C.P. Leek purchased the remainder of the company's stock from his partners and merged Egg Harbor with Pacemaker Yachts. By the 1960's, this combined organization had become one of the largest manufacturers of pleasure boats in the country.

Despite being part of Pacemaker Yachts, Inc., Egg Harbor managed to maintain its own identity. While Pacemaker concentrated on manufacturing products for the mid-priced, high volume end of the market, Egg Harbor steadfastly maintained its focus as a limited quantity builder of high quality cruising and sportfishing yachts. Egg Harbor's reputation grew through the 1960's and 1970's, with offerings that ranged in size from 30 to 48 feet. Both companies converted from wood to fiberglass construction during the 1970's.

When it first became fashionable for conglomerates to acquire boat companies, Fuqua Industries purchased Pacemaker Yachts, Inc. (including Egg Harbor) in 1965. Both companies were subsequently sold to Mission Marine & Associates in 1976.

Both Egg Harbor and Pacemaker were profitable business units under their new ownership, however, Mission Marine was a highly leveraged min-conglomerate. The parent company experienced severe financial difficulties when the prime interest rate soared to 20% during 1979. As a result, Mission Marine was forced into Chapter 11 that year.

In 1980, the assets of Egg Harbor Boat Company were purchased by an investor group that included Phil Boyd, Jr. and Donald Leek (both sons of the original founders), Peter and Walt Johnson, Jr. (second generation owners of Johnson & Towers, Inc.) and Robert Traenkle (a Pennsylvania businessman and boating enthusiast).

Phil Boyd retired as President of Egg Harbor during 1983 and Rudy Lehnert, an Aeronautical Engineer and avid sportfisherman, purchased Boyd's stock and joined the company as Vice President of Engineering. At this time, Traenkle became President and James Mercanto, formerly Vice President of Marketing & Sales, became General Manager.

Through the 1980's, Egg Harbor invested heavily in new product development, refreshing and expanding the breadth of its line from 33 to 60 feet.

With steadily increasing sales and profitability, the owners prepared to sell shares in the company through an initial public offering. This plan, however, was aborted when the stock market experienced a severe adjustment on what became known as Black Monday, during mid-October, 1987. In reaction, Robert Traenkle agreed to purchase all shares of Egg Harbor Yacht Company through a structured transaction initiated in 1988.

Under now consolidated ownership, the company launched an aggressive new product development program. This culminated in the Golden Egg Series, introduced early in the 1990 model year, which featured four new cruising/sportfishing models as well as two new Aft Cabin cruising models.

While these products were well accepted by the market, the timing for this investment proved fatal. The market for new boat sales soon plunged as a result of a general economic recession, a new luxury goods tax and cumulative overbuilding by the entire industry.

In spite of Egg Harbor's successful performance during the 1980's, the company was unable to service the relatively high level of debt it had accumulated as a combined result of the stock purchase and its aggressive investment in new product development.

This situation prompted Traenkle's former partners to repossess the company and voluntarily file for protection under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code, during January 1990.

Egg Harbor Yacht Company, Inc.. emerged from its Chapter 11 proceedings in March, 1992, when the courts approved the company's re-organization plan. The ownership of Egg Harbor then consisted of Donald Leek, Peter and Walt Johnson, Jr. and Rudy Lehnert, who managed the company as president with the help of Robert Hazard the general manager during that transitional period.

In November 1997 Egg Harbor ceased operations. A group called Marine Acquisitions had acquired the company 18 months prior for all debt and no equity. The level of debt turned out to be so high the company couldn't continue operations -- even though it had orders for more than 18 boats.

Almost two years after the date of closure, a South Jersey plastic surgeon, real estate developer and entrepreneur, Dr. Ira M. Trocki, purchased the assets of Egg Harbor Yachts. Trocki, also a boater and fisherman in his spare time, bought a new 58 foot Egg Harbor and loved the boat so much he decided to buy the company. Dr. Trocki immediately went to work assembling a veteran team of yacht building professionals. Robert J. Weidhaas as Chief Operating Officer, William Walling as Production Manager and Robert A. Hazard as Director of Sales & Marketing. Trocki immediately revamped the factory, installing new heating and air conditioning, new roof, commercial garage doors, new manufacturing equipment and the list goes on and on spending over $10 million. The company operates debt free and with his hands on approach and ownership style, Trocki is committed to building the finest sportyachts in the industry. "I am used to creating fine lines and perfection in my practice, it is only natural for me to carry that perfection over to our yacht building techniques", Trocki continues. Within a year Dr. Trocki purchased other boat builders, Revenge Yachts and Predator Custom Yachts, and immediately moved the companies to Egg Harbor City, NJ for the ease of combined manufacturing.

Egg Harbor Yachts is producing 35,37,42 and 52 foot sportyachts with 49 and 65 foot models in the near future.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:00 am    Post subject: More History Reply with quote

Found more history of our beloved Pacemaker boats on the Egg Harbor Boat site. Interesting to find that Pacemaker/Egg Harbor/Post Boats are cousins!

Mike -


Tracing the rich history of this venerable New Jersey boatbuilder
By Mike Smith

Ten years ago the boating press was preparing Egg Harbor Yachts' obituary. From one of Americas most esteemed boatbuilders in the 1950s and 60s, by the mid-90s Egg was nearly poached by repeated buy-outs and ownership changes, high interest rates, the luxury tax and economic recession. In 1997 the company almost went down for the third time. Then the doctor arrived, plastic surgeon Ira M. Trocki-and now Egg Harbor looks thirty years younger. Dr. Trocki invested $10 million in capital improvements, modernizing and doubling the size of the factory and hiring 200 skilled craftspeople. In 2006, at 60 years old, Egg Harbor Yachts is healthy again.

Dave Martin thinks he saw Egg Harbor being born. Today Martin, one of Americas most respected yacht designers, lives in Brigantine, N.J., but in 1946 he was still in high school, living two doors down from Russell Post in Egg Harbor, N.J. "We knew something was up when we saw Russell, John Leek and Ted Haggas walking together on the sidewalk in front of our house," said Martin. At the time, Leek and Post were building 14-foot rowboats in a rented building on Boston Avenue; Haggas was a yacht designer, and one of the men who originated the Jersey Sea Skiff. Not long after, the Egg Harbor Boat Company launched its first boat, a 28- foot skiff designed by Haggas. "It was a nice running boat," said Martin, round-bilged and fast: It would do more than 20 mph with modest power

Soon Egg Harbor was hiring more and more men, recalled Martin. "Most of the early employees came from my neighborhood. In 1948 I went to work for them at 60 cents an hour." But the partnership between Leek and Post would last only a couple of years.

In 1948 Post and Leek quarreled over Leeks two-a-day coffee breaks; Leek sold his half of the company to Phil Boyd, Sr., "for $8,500," according to Martin, and, with his brother as his new partner, started Pacemaker. Russell Post stayed with Egg Harbor until the mid-50s, when he sold his shares to Harold "Peewee" Care and left to start his own company, Post Yachts. Care performed at Atlantic City, recalled Martin, as a trick water skier, but also owned the yard ("the old Ventnor Boat Works") where Egg Harbor used to launch its boats. "He sold that and bought into Egg Harbor."

From the late 1950s through the 60s, Egg Harbor was at the top of its game. In 1957 Boyd asked Martin to design a 30-footer, but the fee he offered was too low; he asked the same of Phil Bolger, who apparently worked cheaper. Today, Bolger is better known as the designer of innovative sailboats, but early in his career he worked with both Lindsay Lord and John Hacker. Bolgers design became the Egg Harbor 31; the first one, with a black hull, cream house tops and bright coamings, was launched in May, 1957. In the Spring, 1983, issue of Nautical Quarterly, Joseph Gribbins quoted Bolger on the 31: "My boast is that it was about two years before any of them came on the used boat market, and then they sold for more than they had originally." Egg Harbor eventually built more than 100 of Bolgers 31-footers.

Some people thought the Egg Harbor 31 less than ideal, though. "The boat had a very fine entrance, and a wide stern," said Martin, not a good design for the obstreperous New Jersey inlets. When the time came for a bigger boat, the company turned not to Bolger, but to an old-timer who created a classic. George Stadel, Jr., designed lots of boats in the 1930s, 40s and 50s- commercial boats, sailboats, all kinds of boats, according to his sons Bill and George III. In the late 1950s he was designing for Norwalk Boat Works, near his home in Stamford, Conn.; they were also an Egg Harbor dealer. Peewee Care, still a partner in Egg, met Stadel and asked him to design a 36-footer; after a year of production, the 36 became the now-famous Egg Harbor 37 shown on this cover. "My father designed lots of lobsterboats" said Bill Stadel. "The Egg Harbor 37 is essentially a beamy lobsterboat. It was my fathers most successful powerboat." George III remembers his father designing the 37 in four long days, modifying the 36 to make it a bit finer in the bow and take the tumblehome out of the sides, which added beam at the deck line. "Its the only boat my father designed that he didnt keep the plans," he said.

There was a sedan and a sportfisherman, with a longer cockpit; both were popular. Standard power was twin 210 Chrysler gas engines, with 250 Crusader gas and Perkins or GM diesels optional. Egg Harbor started building 50 37s per year, then increased to 100 per year; the final production was somewhere between 800 and 850 hulls over about 10 years. "That was a real good boat," agreed Dave Martin.

It also, in a roundabout way, caused the end of Egg Harbor as an independent company. Because the 37 was so popular, the company asked Stadel to design a 47 in the same style. The boat debuted at the New York Boat Show, where six or seven were sold. But Egg Harbor bean counters set the price way too low, and they lost money on each one they delivered. The 47 hull developed a chine in the aft sections, a difficult transition in the days of plank-on-frame wooden boatbuilding. "My father worked at Sparkman & Stephens during World War II, designing subchasers with the same kind of hull," said George Stadel III. "It was very expensive to build." "My father worked out the costs of the 37 himself," added Bill Stadel, but Egg Harbor insisted on doing it themselves for the 47. "It put them out of business."

"They built a new building [for producing the 47]," said Martin, "which put them in financial trouble" when they couldnt sell many, and lost money on those they did sell. That opened the door for Jack Leek to buy Egg Harbor and merge it with Pacemaker "in 1966 or 67," according to Martin. The first Egg Harbor under the new ownership would be a Dave Martin-designed 43, created in an all night session by cutting four feet off the stern of Martins Pacemaker 47, changing the window styling and the shape of the stem. The Pacemaker 47 came as both a motor yacht and sportfisherman, and was very efficient. "The motor yacht did 30 mph with twin 370 Cummins," recalled Martin. "We changed some cosmetics, but [the Egg Harbor 43] was really the same boat. We also added a foot to the Pacemaker and made a 48 Egg Harbor. The next morning we had Egg Harbor 43 and 48 Motor Yachts and Sportfishermen all ready. It knocked Phil Boyd off his feet."The merger took place the same day. "A few days later, Jack Leek and I walked through the [Egg Harbor plant] and found some of the same people whod been there when we were apprentices."

Heres where the story loses some of its personality. In the late 1960s and early 70s, boating was booming. Fiberglass caused an explosion in the number of boats built, and at reasonable prices. (Pacemaker and Egg Harbor built their first all-fiberglass boats in the very early 70s, and during the decade the two companies shared many glass hulls.) Enter big business: Many independent boatbuilders were bought out by conglomerates at this time, companies that knew zilch about boats, but thought there was money to be made. Fuqua bought Pacemaker/Egg Harbor, then sold them to Mission Marine & Associates in the mid-1970s. Mission had lots of debt and sank under the load of high interest rates in 1979, taking Pacemaker down with the ship.

But Egg Harbor escaped: The company was bought by a group that included Phil Boyd, Jr., Donald Leek (sons of two of the earlier owners), Pete and Walt Johnson, Jr., owners of Johnson & Towers Marine Diesel, and Robert Traenkle, a businessman and boating enthusiast. Boyd sold out to Rudy Lehnert, an aeronautical engineer, in 1983. During the early 1980s, Egg Harbor built boats and earned money. Then came the economic recession of the late 1980s, hand in hand with the 10 percent luxury tax. In 1990, Egg Harbor filed for bankruptcy, came out briefly in 92, then shut down completely in 1997. Two years later, Dr. Ira Trocki arrived to resurrect Egg Harbor.

Dr.Trocki grew up two miles from the old Egg Harbor plant, on the same street.When he was 18, for a summer job his family put him in charge of one of its factories. "I hired folks who had worked at Egg Harbor," he said. "They spoke of the place like it was Rolls-Royce." After medical school, Dr. Trocki owned many boats, including an Egg Harbor 58. "I fell in love with the lines and shape," he said. "I hired an engineer, Bob Seidelman, to rebuild and improve the boat. He suggested I buy the company. I did; I bought it over the phone." The American convertible is a beautiful boat, he said, a good combination of function, art and practicability. "I wanted to build not only a great boat, but a beautiful boat in American style, built in America by Americans. We built all new molds and brought out new boats." (The newest Egg Harbor, a 50 Sport Yacht, will be reviewed in the next issue.)

Today, Egg Harbor Yachts is only one of several marine-related companies Dr. Trocki operates under the aegis of E.H. Yachts; he also owns "lots of businesses" outside the marine field. In the past five years, hes bought Predator, Revenge and Buddy Davis Yachts, moving all the tooling to the Egg Harbor facility. In October, 2005, he added Topaz to his holdings, which also include Murray Brothers towers and fishing accessories. So far hes making it work: Egg Harbor has a nice lineup of boats that have been well-received by both the boating press and the folks who really matter, boat buyers. If the past six years of Dr. Trockis regime indicate anything, it's that Egg Harbor will be around for a long time-maybe even another 60 years.
"Best part of Boating -- is the people you meet"
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


This is really interesting. If I am not mistaken, Seildeman bought Pacemaker and now his company (I believe that he is deceased) is building Silverhawk. A lot of ideas from the Wahoo.

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