Egg Harbor Owners' Assoc. carves a niche
By Ray Schweibert
For The Press of Atlantic City
Special bonds sometimes evolve among people with common interests, and for that reason the Egg Harbor Owners' Association was established eight years ago.
The group was created as a means for devoted enthusiasts of Egg Harbor Yachts to share experiences and information. It serves as a conduit for camaraderie that includes an annual get-together called the Egg Harbor Rendezvous.
The organization also publishes a quarterly newsletter for EHOA members called the "Egg Files," and has a Web site at www.eggharborowners.org.
Cindy Konney is the president and co-founder of the EHOA, along with vice president Claudia Brooks, a resident of Granby, Conn.
"The group began out of love for our boats and the camaraderie that goes with being an Egg Harbor Yacht owner," Brooks said. "We wanted to get a group together to meet with other Egg people and see what transpired.
"Initially, it included about 50 or 60 members gathered around local advertising, the Internet and contacts made by obtaining the boats' hull numbers. Since then, it has grown to include over 700 members, including members from Puerto Rico, Italy and other places abroad."
The EHOA Rendezvous expanded from about 30 Egg Harbor Yachts the first year to well over 100 in-water boats this June. The Rendezvous is always held on Father's Day weekend and includes seminars, tours, vendors, catered meals and various adult and children's events.
This year's Rendezvous also included a Poker Run and took place at the Essex Island Marina, located on the Connecticut River off Long Island Sound in Essex, Conn. In 2002, the Rendezvous was held in Montauk, N.Y.
"We also raised money through a raffle and membership donations to buy toys for a local children's hospital (in Connecticut), and donated money to the Connecticut River Museum for water-quality testing," Brooks said.
"And this year we also donated money to the Sea Scouts, which is a youth group that recently took a derelict Egg Harbor Yacht and restored it."
Egg Harbor Yachts have been manufactured in Egg Harbor City since 1946. According to Brooks, some of the boats that show up at the annual Rendezvous are classics from the 1960s and '70s, but many are also newer models.
The oldest boat owned by a member of the EHOA is a 1949, 28-foot Egg Harbor Yacht that is moored in Vermillion, Ohio, on Lake Erie.
The Egg Harbor Yacht Company, Inc. has a storied history. It was established by local boatbuilders Russel Post, Phil Boyd, Harold Care and C.P. Leek as the Egg Harbor Boat Company in 1946.
It merged with Pacemaker Yachts in 1950 and became the largest manufacturer of pleasure boats in the country in the '60s.
Throughout the '70s, and '80s, the company was subjected to several mergers and ownership changes. Due to factors such as an economic recession, a new luxury-goods tax and overbuilding by the yachting industry, Egg Harbor Yachts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990. In 1997, it ceased operations completely.
Ira Trocki, a plastic surgeon, real-estate developer and entrepreneur, purchased the assets of the company in 1999 and invested more than $10 million in its revival. It now operates debt-free. Egg Harbor Yacht models range in sizes of 35, 37, 42, and 52 feet, and plans are in the works for larger models.
Trocki also acquired Revenge Yachts, Predator Custom Yachts and most recently, Buddy Davis Yachts. He moved their manufacturing operations to Egg Harbor City. He also purchased Murray Brothers, a West Palm Beach, Fla., manufacturer of fishing accessories, and relocated that company to the Egg Harbor City plant.
"We feel the company's in good hands," Brooks said. "Dr. Trocki not only has deep pockets, he has a commitment to maintaining high quality."