Gracious Lady

In Festival Boats 2018

The Wheeler Shipyard Corporation was founded in 1910 by Howard E. Wheeler Sr. in Brooklyn, New York. The rest, as they say, is history. Wheeler thrived by building beautiful, highly-regarded yachts with inherent value. As their reputation grew so did their line of quality yachts, the largest design stretching to 85 feet. By 1921 Wheeler Shipyard needed more room, so in 1941 the company purchased an additional 21 acres at Whitestone, Long Island. From here Wheeler produced a fleet of ships for the Navy and Coast Guard to help defend America during World War II.

At the height of the company’s production more than 6,000 employees worked at the yard, including Mr. Wheeler and his five sons. The shipyard was even equipped with a stage and grandstand with space for several thousand people for entertainment and boat launches. Wheeler built over 3,500 hulls during the 50 years that Wheeler Shipyard Corporation was in production. Among many of these were sea-skiffs, motor cruisers and custom yachts. Wheeler built what is considered to be the most famous fishing boat of all time, Ernest Hemingway’s 38-foot ‘Pilar’, in 1934. This is the boat from which he wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream.”

The Gracious Lady was christened the Gallant Lady when she was first built. As she has aged, we believe that she is more gracious that gallant. She was built in the main factory in New York and has sailed the Southern Route around to her current home in Port Angeles, Washington. The Gracious lady has a grand salon, 2 state rooms, 2 bathrooms, galley and crew quarters. Although she has been modernized, she still retains the dignity and elegance of the period in which she was built.”