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New 2011 Sutphen Boats


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  • About Sutphen Boats
  • In the archives of boating, the name Sutphen is as old as the weathered hull of early sailing ships. It�s a name that traces back at least five generations to origins in Holland. In this country, three generations ago Henry R. Sutphen gave the name real meaning. As vice president of Elco, America�s leading builder of cruise boats in Bayonne, NJ he was one of a select group of boat builders the British called upon for navel defense advice. The year was 1915. And it was apparent that the British were taking the brunt of the German�s submarine force. Sutphen suggested the British outfit themselves with a substantial number of armed, high-speed 80-ft. motor launches (Mls )The British liked the idea-so much that they ordered 50 such boats....provided Sutphen�s firm could deliver them all within the year. An order that size is enough to give pause to any shipbuilder, and especially so 90 years ago. Even today, large boat builders rarely turn out more than one boat per week.

    Just twenty days after signing a contract with Elco, the �Lusitania� was sunk and the British upped their order to 550 boats within 448 working days. Later, during World War II, Henry Sutphen was again called upon to design efficient high-speed torpedo boats and the Elco team turned them out by the hundreds. This time they were for the U.S. Navy, and one of them included John Kennedy�s PT 109.

    Among the shipbuilders at Elco at the time was another family member, Samuel Sutphen, a young married man and father of a young son, Richard. After the war ended, the ardent wish of almost everyone was a quick return to normalcy. People wanted to pickup their lives where they�d left off before the war, turned things upside down. For Sam Sutphen, the answer was in owning his own marina where he could build any kind of boat he wanted but at his own speed. There in Lake Hopatcong, NJ, he turned out fishing boats, sail boats, speed boats... even an occasional barge. And inevitably by his side was his son Rich, father and son, elder teaching younger like a sponge soaking up everything his dad showed him about how to be a master boat builder. That�s where the knowledge for plug and mold building became etched in his mind for use in later years



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