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LEGEND – The New Wheeler 38, A Modern Interpretation of Hemingway’s PILAR

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September 17, 2020

The Brooklin Boat Yard has teamed up with the newly reborn Wheeler Yacht Company to create a 21st century interpretation of one of this fabled builder's most iconic boats. The results are understandably impressive.

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The building of LEGEND took place at Brooklin Boat Yard, in Brooklin, Maine.

Earnest Hemingway's PILAR was a customized Wheeler Playmate 38. She was built in 1934 at the Wheeler Ship Yard in Brooklyn New York. which closed in 1965.Wes Wheeler has resurrected the family business as Wheeler Yachts.

The Wheeler 38 brochure.


Length Overall — 39'4"
Length on Design Waterline — 38'9"
Beam — 12'0"
Draft — 3'5"
Displacement — 20,600 lbs. (est.)
Vessel Type — 38' Cold-molded wooden motor yacht
Propulsion — Twin Yanmar 370 HP Diesel engines (8LV370)

Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

32 Responses So Far to “LEGEND – The New Wheeler 38, A Modern Interpretation of Hemingway’s PILAR”:

  1. Avatar Joel Schwalb says:

    Having been aboard a replica of the Pilar in the Bass Pro Shop, Islamorada, FL Keyes, I would much prefer “Legend”, beautifully done. I’m sure that Hemingway would love Wheeler’s new version too.

  2. Avatar Nick Grumbles says:

    In case anyone is curious and would like to see the PILAR as she sits today, or in 2018 rather. Check out the google photos link below:

    My girlfriend and I traveled to Cuba in 2018, and seeing PILAR was a top priority. She is housed at the Museo Hemmingway. The museum is his old estate (La Casona), and it is not close to Havana. After an interesting 45 min bus ride (metro P-7) and 35 cents later, we found PILAR grounded on what was once Hemmingway’s tennis court. The area was closed to visitors. Not to worry however, nothing some intrigue, a little Spanish to the security guard, and a quick hop over the fence couldn’t solve. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

  3. Avatar scott hitt says:

    it immediately conjured up memories of nites spent reading Hemingway…ahhhh such romance! the craftsmanship is incredible…amenities out the yang! simply brilliant!

  4. Patrick Alvey Patrick Alvey says:

    Where do you buy a Brooklin Boat Yard T shirt?

  5. Avatar Bliss Rufo says:

    This is why I want to work at BBY!

  6. Avatar Rick Clark says:

    Wow a beautiful breath taking masterpiece!!! Your woodworking is exceptional. Awesome how she skims through the water!!!! Happy sailing!!!!!

  7. Avatar John Knops says:

    What a brilliant boat. The video doesn’t mention the fuel usage. I imagine it would be more than 1gph at cruising speed.

  8. Avatar John Simlett says:

    Well wasn’t that something? A really interesting video and commentary – thanks

  9. Avatar Mike Virr says:

    Always loved Hemingway’s “Pilar”. I have the book from which I dream of fishing for big Marlin off Cuba in the Gulf Stream. And all the while I’m actually fishing for stripers in Long Island Sound from my wooden fishing skiff which I built myself. I’m surrounded by fiberglass bath tubs in the Ye Old Yacht Yard in Southport, Ct. Their are several nice Hinkley’s in Southport but a Wheeler built replica of “Pilar”, now that’s a dream come true.

  10. Avatar David Rawls says:

    Simply stunning!

  11. Avatar Harold Wheeler says:

    Thrilled beyond belief, been in love with Wheeler boats since I was a young man. Not sure why (LOL) but now I have a new dream.

  12. Avatar Wolfgang Doughty says:

    Brings back the 1970s. Was aboard a Wheeler owned by Mr Horace Glass. It was at home in Mandarin, FL at that period. I recall a solid long brass ”in & out” gear shift leverage device coming through the floor. It was new to me & said to be an original part of the boat.

    There was the usual talk about it being a ”rum runner” .

    Well Done to the builder of such a neat rebirth of history

  13. Avatar ron godwin says:

    I appreciated the boat very much,elegant ,fast and practical.
    The description by (Eric, I assume) was as above,carried out by a person who knew the boat inside out and with knowledge and expertise to emphasise the superb workmanship and respect put into this build.He was able to show tradition and the modern era without the latter being invasive but still there when needed.

    Ron Godwin AUS

  14. Avatar Harold Conover says:

    WOW,,That boat is a beauty,,,,I’d love to own one of them….Great craftmanship…Good Job Men..

  15. Avatar Dave Dickmeyer says:

    Simply lovely, lovingly simple!

  16. Avatar Richard Farland says:

    Brilliant boat – but surely 32 knots is uneccessary, wonder what she’d be like with just a single Yanmar?

  17. Avatar Larry Cheek says:

    beautiful, and brimming with ingenious features.

  18. Avatar Bob Pulse says:

    This article not only features a beautiful example of modern technology but carries forward part of the history of a famous American author and his boat of choice. I appreciate the balance of content put forth by Off Center Harbor and look forward to them sharing a variety of stories and topics.

  19. Avatar Bruce Lyle says:

    My wife asked why we don’t have a gyro on our ’76 C27.

    Lovely boat just lovely

  20. Avatar James1913 Davis says:

    Just a wonderful idea to completion. Great job

  21. Avatar John Carroll says:

    Dang! I wish she was staying in Maine–would love to see her out and about on the water. For more info on the Pilar, “Hemingway’s Boat” is a fascinating read.

  22. Avatar Frank Passalaqua says:

    I just watched a video of Louis Sauzedde, Tips from a Shipwright, and he announced that he’s going to build a replica of the Orca, from the movie jaws. My heart jumped with delight as I anticipated watching the build. I then thought to myself, someone should build a replica of the Pilar…and, here you are. Well done, guys, well done. You have made my…decade!

  23. Avatar john marks says:

    Hey they forgot the “flybridge” chair and chain driven steering up top? Hemingway would be pleased to have his boat replicated.Steve and Co would have enjoyed building Legend, a break from all that hi-tech stuff? Wow, TWO Yanmars! no wonder she flies.

    Congratulations to all involved. John Marks, Werribee, Australia.

  24. Avatar Pete Zizos says:

    Great job! I’d like two. One, fit out like shown and one, with a more open deck to haul lumber.

  25. Avatar John Swansey says:

    Nice! Perhaps need a mast long enough to hoist a dinghy onto foredeck or roof

  26. Avatar Philip Myer says:

    Wow – well done BBY! Curious what kind of budget this boat was built to?

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Hey Philip. Can you send us a couple good photos of your new “downeast” lobster boat built in Tasmania (to the support(at)offcenterharbor(dot)com email address? BBY respects the privacy of their clients and doesn’t discuss budgets publicly. You can contact the Wheeler Yacht Company to get a quote though.

    • Avatar Robert Baird says:

      Just looked it up. $1.5M Ouch. Amazing vessel though.

  27. Antonio (Tony) Osse Antonio (Tony) Osse says:

    Just perfect!

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