Ernest Hemingway aboard his fishing boat Pilar, circa 1950. A replica of the boat is now under construction at Brooklin Boat Yard. JOHN F. KENNEDY LIBRARY PHOTO

Boatyard building a replica of Hemingway’s fishing boat

BROOKLIN — For lovers of the writer Ernest Hemingway, there are few images more iconic than photographs of the mustachioed “Papa” aboard his beloved 38-foot Wheeler Yacht fishing boat Pilar.

Hemingway frequently fished off the boat in the waters of Key West and the Gulf Stream off the Cuban coast. His time aboard reportedly influenced his books “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream.” The Humphrey Bogart gun-running character Harry Morgan in the film “To Have and Have Not” (“You know how to whistle, don’t you?” Lauren Bacall’s character asks him. “You just put your lips together and blow.”) was said to be loosely based on the author and his boat.

Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961, and the original Pilar is now a museum exhibit in Cuba but the spirit of the boat is still alive at the Brooklin Boat Yard.

Last year, the Wheeler Yacht Company commissioned BBY to build a modern replica of Hemingway’s beloved Pilar. This month, the crew turned the cold-molded wooden hull right side up and began installing her interior systems, fixtures and furniture.

The boat is a synthesis of boat-building history and modern technology. Like her famous predecessor she is built from wood, but using completely modern epoxy cold-molded construction techniques that make her mahogany hull and cabin immensely strong and still beautiful.

The new Wheeler 38 bristles with high technology, including iPad and iPhone control of most onboard systems and modern twin diesel engines.

The new Pilar is scheduled for launching in the spring of 2020.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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