South Jersey has a long history of boat building that even predates the founding of our Nation! Beautiful forests of white cedar, oak and pine provided the resources for boatbuilding legends like Carl Adams, who opened his first shop in 1905 at age 19, where he built garveys and sneakboxes for local baymen. In the 1920s Prohibition years, he built boats for both the rumrunners and government Coast Guard! While he was with Ventnor Boatworks, many young, aspiring boatbuilders that went on to build their own companies and brands worked and learned from him, John E. Leek and Russell Post among them. After the Repeal of Prohibition, Carl Adams opened a new shop with his son, Alvin—Modern Boat Works on the banks of the Nacote Creek in Port Republic, NJ for the growing demand for sportfishing boats as the market shifted after WWII to recreational boating, until he retired in 1964.

75' Classic Custom 1928 Yacht

The Leek family also has a long boatbuilding history, dating back to the early 1700s on the Mullica River in Atlantic County, NJ. Charley “CP” Leek and great-uncle Charley started a yard to build pleasure craft around early 1900s. CP’s son, John E. Leek, broadened his training by working for Carl Adams and John Trumpy (of Matthews Boats in Camden, NJ). It was while working at Carl Adams yard that John met Russell Post, who also worked for Carl at that time.

Classic Yacht Manufacturers

Egg Harbor

Started in 1946 by John E. Leek and Russell Post with designer Ted Haggas, building 14’ skiffs. Two other partners came aboard and soon after the team launched a 28’ boat designed by Haggas under the name of Egg Harbor Boat Company. But differences between Russell Post and John E. Leek, led to John leaving to form Pacemaker Yachts in 1948. Russell Post stayed on until 1957, when he sold his shares of the company to Harold “Pee Wee” Cares and started his own company, Post Marine. Egg Harbor struggled financially and eventually sold the stock to Pacemaker Yachts and became part of John E. Leeks’ organization, who kept the brands separate. Egg Harbor grew in 60s & 70s and transitioned to fiberglass material from traditional wood in early 70s. Lengths ranged from 35’ to 60’ Open and Convertible Yachts, built for fishermen to provide a smooth ride, comfortable amenities and serious fishing. The company found itself in and out of financial difficulties due to production issues during the 90s and finally folded in 1997.

Egg Harbor Township native, Dr Ira Trocki, who possessed an intuitive ability to resolve production issues, purchased Egg Harbor in 1999 and has since invested $10 million into Egg Harbor. He also acquired other brands, including Buddy Davis. Dr Trocki sees these boats as “works of art” and is gratified to allow the legendary Egg Harbor sportfish yachts to live on into the new century. Many consider Egg Harbor as the originator of the Jersey Style Sportfisherman.

Pacemaker Yachts

54' Rybovich 1963 Vintage Yacht

Started in 1948 by John E. Leek with his brother, Cecil Leek. They began with Ted Haggas 29’ design, then worked with designer David Martin. They were able to build Pacemaker Yachts into a large company until John E’s death in 1957. In 1966, sons Jack and Donald began working with fiberglass. They eventually sold the company to start Ocean yachts and the company faded away under poor management.

Ocean Yachts

Started in 1977. Jack Leek (John E. Leek’s son) and designer David Martin along with Jack’s son, John E. Leek III, built a highly efficient production yard, building yachts with designer interiors, layouts that maximum use of space and built with unmatched efficiency and speed. The first Ocean Yacht was a 40 ft. flybridge model launched in 1977. The company flourished in the 80s and 90s, building hundreds of boats ranging from 40 to 70 ft. with about 200 workers. The recession hit the company hard and by 2015, with less than a dozen employees, John E. Leek IV, Ocean Yachts owner, sold the Mullica production facility to Viking Yachts and the Ocean Yachts name was retired. Viking used the 80-acre boatyard to expand its operations, building some of the smaller yachts in the Mullica facility. John E. Leek IV went to Viking Yachts as General Manager of the Viking Mullica plant in 2016.

Post Marine

Started in 1957 by Russell Post when he left Egg Harbor. He began building 34 ft. wooden boats in Mays Landing on Great Egg Harbor River; the first was launched in 1958. Eventually transitioned his design—with a high brow, eliminated trunk cabin and a gentle sheer to transom. His philosophy that became the Post mantra, was to build quality, not quantity, with a build-to-order business. Russell stayed with the company 20 years, then sold Post Yachts to Bill Schell and Charlie Walters in 1975. The company succumbed to economic recessions and languished until John Patnovic, the new owner and president purchased the company and moved operations to Chestertown, Maryland. It will remain a build-to-order company of hulls ranging from 42 to 66 feet, utilizing the same bottoms that made Post Yachts famous and servicing the same primary customers—sport fishermen and cruisers.

38' Chris Craft 1958 Vintage Boat

Viking Yachts

Starting in early 1960s when Bob Healey and brother Bill approached Carl Peterson, of Peterson Viking Yachts a builder of 37’ wooden sportfishing boats in Egg Harbor, NJ. In 1960 the Healey brothers bought out the financially struggling company and set up shop on land behind the marina they had developed on the Bass River. In 1964 they renamed the operation to Viking Yacht Company. Early on the vessels they built were wooden, but in 1971 Viking transitioned to fiberglass. In the 70s and 80s, Viking Yachts continue to expand and in the mid-90s launched a highly successful new line of boats. Though hit hard, like the entire marine industry due to the double-whammy of the 1990 nationwide recession and the 1991 federal luxury tax, Bill Healey invested his own funds to keep Viking open and rallied the recreational boatbuilding industry to protest the ill-conceived luxury tax that nearly ruined the entire industry! It was finally repealed in 1993 and Viking decision to remain open allowed them to retool for new models and take the forefront market position. The 2000’s brought further innovation and growth to become an industry leader with global recognition. Viking’s success is largely due to its incredible consistency in building 60-70 very good boats a year with a seasoned team that apprenticed under some of the greatest boatbuilders!

Follow this link to browse all of our classic & vintage yachts for sale or to own a beautiful classic masterpiece of your own, contact Scott White, 609-780-0309 email: scott@unitedyacht.com