Monday, July 14, 2014

Hemingway's Pilar and Top Hat - Two Wheeler Playmates

image-fea pilar 525x312
Hemingway's Pilar - preserved in Cuba
At the foot of Cropsey Avenue in Brooklyn was Wheeler Shipbuilding.  They built pleasure boats and commercial boats.  During WWII they built 230 patrol craft and mine sweepers.  There was a line of pleasure boats called Playmates.  The most famous of them was Hemingway's Pilar, a Wheeler Playmate he commissioned.  A Pilar replica was built for `Hemingway & Fuentes'  an Andy Garcia movie (now filming)about Hemingway and his captain - Fuentes to whom Pilar was bequeathed.  Hemingway and Pilar did 40 days of submarine patrol duty in 1942 on the coast of Cuba, spotting only one sub.
Top Hat

Here at City Island Yacht Club George Ignatius Robinson had the same vision for his Wheeler Playmate Top Hat.  Robinson applied to the Coast Guard hoping to convert his sailboat - usually chartered for weekend cruises - into a patrol craft complete with foredeck mounted machine gun and depth charges.
Page 1 of George Robinson's application to the Coast Guard to convert
Top Hat from weekend cruiser to anti-submarine patrol craft.

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