Sunny Side Up

Posted: October 1, 2001

Thirty years later, the Egg Harbor 33 is still all it's cracked up to be

By: BoatingWorld Staff

Once upon a time, back in the 1970s, there was an East Coast boat that had a large West Coast following. This little sportfisher was endowed with a seakindly hull that could take its owners anywhere in relative comfort, regardless of the conditions. It was perfectly equipped for serious offshore sportfishing, despite its under-35-foot length. Perhaps the most surprising part of this story is, the boat remains popular today -- 30 years after its introduction and 12 years after the model was discontinued. That boat is the Egg Harbor 33. Egg Harbor's original series of 33s -- sold from 1971 to 1982 -- was built on a soft-chined hull with a reverse-step bottom. Post-1982 versions were built on a modified-V hull with hard chines, a flatter S-sheerline and more deadrise fore and aft. Both versions offer a classic convertible sportfisher profile -- with a long, high foredeck surrounded by stainless steel rails and a low cockpit -- topped with a flybridge with seating for two. The bow has a moderate degree of flare to knock aside spray. Egg Harbor built the first 33s on wood hulls, and added lots of varnished mahogany trim and joinerwork throughout. In 1977, the company began building fiberglass 33s -- however, Egg Harbor continued offering abundant expanses of rich wood joinery and trim throughout. Teak eventually replaced mahogany -- and post-1977 models featured wide teak coverboards on the cockpit coaming, solid teak ladders to the flybridge, teak trim around the boat's large windows and a teak cockpit sole. There's a lot of brightwork to maintain on an Egg Harbor 33 of any vintage. But if you keep it up properly, the results can be beautiful. Aside from its striking good looks, the Egg Harbor 33 is a very fishable boat. The cockpit offers 70 square feet of room for anglers to maneuver in, and the boat is small enough to make it a fast and nimble sport angling machine. While the 33 is small, its interior makes the most of the available space. In the first version of the 33, the galley is adjacent to a compact saloon. Belowdecks, there's a forward stateroom with a V-berth, a small guest stateroom with upper and lower berths, and an enclosed head with shower. On the post-1982 version, the galley was moved belowdecks to increase the size of the saloon. With this layout, there's no â guest stateroom,⠝ per se, although the saloon's settee converts to a double berth for overnighting. Most Egg Harbor 33s sold during the 1970s and 1980s came equipped with gasoline inboards -- including twin 225 hp Chrysler and 250 hp Marine Power engines. With 250 hp gasoline powerplants, the 33 cruises at 15 knots (at 3,000 rpm) and gets about .8 mpg. Optional twin 350 hp Crusader gasoline inboards improved the boat's performance significantly, giving it a top speed of more than 30 knots. Optional diesels were the preferred choice for West Coast boaters. Egg Harbor offered twin 375 hp Cummins diesels -- and several other diesel options were also available over the years. However, since about 90 percent of all Egg Harbor 33s were delivered with gasoline engines, you may want to repower with new fuel-efficient diesels. At press time, two diesel-equipped Egg Harbor 33's were available at West Coast brokerages, and both were twin-diesel-equipped 1982 models. The Crow's Nest in Newport Beach, California had one listed at $115,000 and Executive Yacht & Ship in Oxnard, California had another for sale at $125,000. Changing Tides for Egg Harbor The company that built the Egg Harbor 33 went through many changes over its 55 years. Founded in 1946, Egg Harbor Boat Co. first built its reputation with a 28 foot wooden skiff, then began building a line of well-respected sportfishing boats from 30 to 48 feet in length. In the 1950s, Egg Harbor merged with Pacemaker Yachts. This combined operation became quite successful: So successful, in fact, that the firm was bought by a big corporation -- Fuqua Industries -- in 1965. Fuqua later sold the boat company to Mission Marine & Associates in 1976. Unfortunately, bigger operations are not always better. Mission filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1979, and Egg Harbor Yachts' assets were sold to a group of investors that included sons of Egg Harbor's original founders. During the 1980s, Egg Harbor Yachts continued to refine and expand its boat line, producing models from 33 to 60 feet in length. Sales continued to increase, and the company was eventually sold to businessman Robert Traenkle. However, as the nation experienced a major recession and the boating industry was slapped with a luxury tax on boats priced over $100,000, Egg Harbor ran into financial problems. The firm once again declared bankruptcy in 1990, under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Egg Harbor reorganized in 1992 and continued building boats -- but more financial problems led the firm to file for bankruptcy again in 1997. The Egg Harbor 33 is no longer built; however, the company is back in business building new Egg Harbor boats. Under the new ownership of a plastic surgeon, Dr. Ira Trocki (who purchased the company in 1999), Egg Harbor now builds a line of 37 to 60 foot models. Trocki said he is dedicated to making high-quality boats, with great attention to detail throughout the construction process. An active Egg Harbor owner's club -- the Egg Harbor Owners' Association -- has been formed to answer questions about parts availability for older models, provide copies of old plans and brochures, and offer a forum for owners to contact each other for support and socializing. The group operates an active Web site -- www.eggharborowners.org -- with a lively forum section where owners discuss various topics of interest. Proud Egg Harbor owners have a lot of company -- and the venerable sportfishing yacht builder is making a name for itself all over again. Enduring Value If you had bought a brand-new Egg Harbor 33 in 1986, you would have paid about $120,000 for it. Today, depending on the condition of that boat and the equipment aboard, it might be worth even more. On the brokerage boat market, prices range from around $53,000 for a pre-1977 wood-hull Egg Harbor 33 to about $128,000 for a well-maintained newer fiberglass version. Considering the Egg Harbor 33's versatility, high-quality construction and seaworthiness, it's easy to understand why people still value this modern classic so highly. CONTACT: Egg Harbor Yachts; (609) 965-2300; www.eggharboryachts.com.
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