NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - The Wheeler Yacht Co. has signed a definitive agreement to build its first hull at Bennett Brothers Yachts in Wilmington, N.C., as the design for the first Wheeler yacht in 40 years nears completion and the company prepares to resume yacht construction in the U.S., Wheeler Yacht Co., said in a release yesterday.
Wheeler Yacht Co., was incorporated in California in September 2004 after being out of the business for the past 40 years. Before the company dissolved in 1965, it had built over 3,500 hulls in a 50-year time span.
Wheeler says it has re-emerged with a single design as an entry into the growing field of upscale convertible yachts. The company's first hull will be a 55-foot 'Legacy Sedan', which is modeled after the original Wheeler 52' Sportfisherman.
The new yacht will bear a close resemblance to the original design. Wheeler chose yacht designer, Tom Fexas, to prepare the detailed plans for the 55' Legacy Sedan.
"We are excited to be reviving the family business after so many years", said Wes Wheeler, president of Wheeler Yacht Co. "My great grandfather and his sons started the business in 1910 and built a great reputation for quality and distinguished service to the US military.
Wheeler Yacht Co., said it chose Bennett Brothers Yachts based on its reputation for quality yacht building and convenient location in North Carolina.
The company will be present at the 32nd Annual Newport Boat Show in Newport Beach in April, and subsequent shows in the coming months. The first hull is scheduled for sea trials in May, 2006.
“The family has wanted to do this for a very long time and we feel the market is ready for a new generation of Wheelers," Jim Scandura, Wheeler's partner and chief operating officer, said. “The combination of classic Wheeler architecture, Fexas' design genius and a commitment to beating today's performance standards will make us unique in the marketplace."
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