PT Boat Forum


Moderated by: Dick, Jeff D

The PT Boat Forum ª PT Boats of WWII ª  PT Boats - General

Next Page | Page: 1 of 3

Back to Topic Index Page 29 | Replies: 26 | Pages: [1] 2 3

 Author  Topic: PT 557 WILDWOOD NJ
  TED WALTHER

TOP BOSS
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 8:06am
All;
Over on Frank's Mosquito Fleet Exhibit facebook page, an interesting conversation has started, with photos that for me has brought NEW light to the tour boats in this area in the 1950s to 1970s.
I always thought PT 486 and an Ex- Air Sea Rescue boat(Big Flamingo owned by CAPT Sinn) were the tour boats in this area.
Gerry McGovern, who recently surveyed PT 486 (SIGHTSEER originally owned by Otto Stocker)in Kingston, has brought new information to us. As a young kid, he hung around these boats and has a valuable insight into these boats. There was also PT 728(also as PT 109 owned by CAPT Sinn) and second ELCO tour boat, PT 557.(as PT 109 owned by CAPT Sinn)!!
I must admit, I thought only PT 486 worked this area and they just repainted her and changed the name. This new evidence that PT 557 was owned by Roy Sinn too, to me is a bombshell.
Gerry, when did PT 557 stop touring? Do you know what happened to her?
Are you sure it was PT 557?
The reason I ask is because I know PT 558 was named PT Joe and worked out of Lewes, Delaware in the late 1960s and 70s. She sunk off Cape Henlopen at Hen and Chicken Shoals in a storm in 1979.
Over the years alot of misinformation has been put out there over the years.This eyewitness info is critical. Thanks for the info Gerry, this is the kind of stuff we need to trace the history of these boats in civilian ownership.
Take care,
TED


Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 9:19am
Well, a quick history on what I know from working on the Sightseer (PT-486) from 1979 through 1983 working with and knowing the owners Otto Stocker and Chuck Schumann and their families. The PT-486 was originally purchased by George Sinn with the PT-557.

PT-486 and PT-557 were 80-foot Elco boats. The 486 was placed in service on 2 December 1943. It was the first in the 486 series and was used in the training squadron (MTBRON)4 in Melville, Rhode Island. Recent revealed history also shows that it was used as part of a secret naval operation being converted to PT Drone boats. The operation was cancelled, but not before the boat was stripped of all of her engines, fuel tanks and all aux systems. All that remained was a hull with the original steering system, rudders and shaft logs. At some point, the boat was returned to Ron4. There are great pictures of both boats running up the Hudson River in 1945 for a War Bond drive.

The vessel was stricken from the active list 16 January 1946 with 7 other PT's They were stored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY.

In 1951, PT-557 along with the PT-486 was purchased as a set from BFM Industries (Brooklyn, NY) by Capt. George C. Sinn of Wildwood Crest, NJ on 9 October 1951 for $1,015.00.

The story, (as I heard it from the Stocker family) is the boats went up for sale as surplus. The sale was for both boats. The 486 was stripped down again prior to being sold. George Sinn had a neighbor directly across the street who was (as I heard it) a good friend and fellow mariner Otto Stocker.

George intended to use the 557 for a sightseeing boat ride. Further research has found that the 557 hull was cut back to less than 65'. This was common practice to keep the tonnage down and meet minimal USCG passenger vessel standards of the day.

PT-557:
Gziig.jpg

PT-486:
j7wuH.jpg

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 9:34am
The boats are taken to Wildwood Crest, New Jersey where both Sinn and Stocker reside. (Not sure how other than towing down the Jersey coast).

The way the story has been passed down, Sinn only wanted the 557 and was going to scrap the 486. Other than being a hull, there was't much there for the 486. Stocker convinces Sinn to sell him the hull and in 1952, Stocker acquires the 486, adds 3 diesel engines but does not install them in the aft engine room where the Packards were originally (even though the Packard engine frames were there and still exist today!)

For the purpose of easy installation and weight distribution, he installs two engines in the original gas tank compartment between frames 40 and 48. The 3rd engine was installed in the original frame rails in the center since it was already a direct installation. More on the 486 machinery later.

Again, the story is Sinn sells the 486 to Stocker with the agreement that Stocker will not use the vessel in competition with him. Stocker agrees to use the 486 as a party fishing vessel (big industry in Wildwood) as many boats were being converted and used for that purpose. Sinn uses the 557 for his sightseeing ride and Stocker goes 4 hour fishing.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 9:42am
There is an incident between them sometime in 1953. Again, the story goes like this, the 486 is a terrible party fishing boat because it has too much freeboard for fishing off New Jersey. Stocker is approached with an opportunity to run a charter that is not fishing, just bird watching (or similar). Sinn becomes aware that Stocker is taking people on a charter and feels their agreement is in breech since Stocker would not take people on sightseeing trips. Apparently, it is a pretty big deal. The two were at odds for many many years. Stocker, not going to let anyone tell him what he could or could not do decides to convert the 486 boat to a sightseeing cruiser. The Sightseer is born and sails as a sightseeing boat from that day forward until 2001.

PT-486 as the "Sightseer" 1954:
GzFQk.jpg

Gzkx6.jpg

Sightseer 1960's with "Doo Wop" creatures added:
j7G03.jpg

One of Stockers employees of many years, Chuck Schumann, buys the boat and business from Stocker in 1978. I started working on the boat in June 1979. I had the great pleasure of working with Chuck and getting to know Otto Stocker.

Me working on deck my first summer out of high school 1979:
Gz2fS.jpg

Sightseer 1980 - Me standing at the gate port forward with the blue jacket on:
j7p3T.jpg

More on the 486 later. this thread is about the 557.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 10:07am
I would like to add a disclaimer to this information. I was born in 1961 and was not an eyewitness to any of these events or boats prior to 1972, which was the first time I rode a Sinn's PT-109.

Ron Sinn, son of George Sinn also owned and operated these boats and Ron is still around today. If possible, I would love to get his input for all of this. Perhaps if he reads this forum he may provide input.

Much more to follow as time permits.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

  TED WALTHER

TOP BOSS
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 12:25pm
Gerry;
THANKS!!! keep going when you can, what happened to PT 557?
Take care,
TED


Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am | IP Logged

Drew Cook

TOP BOSS
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 5:26pm

I'm not sure, but is this the boat discussed. I believe the photo is a postcard, don't know what time period.

SinnsDockPTboat.jpg

Drew



Total Posts: 1306 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 6:03pm
Quote:


I'm not sure, but is this the boat discussed. I believe the photo is a postcard, don't know what time period.

SinnsDockPTboat.jpg

Drew





That boat is the exPT-728.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 6:51pm
A note to mention; the Sinn family buys, sells and trades boats quite a bit. For example, we know that there were 3 different vessels used for the PT-109 sightseeing/speed ride.

Sometime in the early sixties, the Sinn's acquired the PT-728. I am not sure what she was being used for prior to acquisition. The picture (above) and others show the 728 in service as the 109.

It is likely that somewhere around 1954-55, the Sinn's acquired an WWII Air Sea Rescue boat P-444. Their first use of the P-444 was great! All they did was add a canopy over the top, added seats and painted her bright pink to become the first, "Big Flamingo". It would appear from history that the exPT-557 was converted to the original sightseeing boat, "Flamingo".

GzDvy.jpg

(It is such a hard thing knowing these old wartime vessels ended up going pink and precaution blue with seahorses and King Neptune on top!)


Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

mcgovern61

New Member
  

    
Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 7:29pm
Sometime in the early seventies, the Sinn's took the 109 (728) south to Florida.

PT-109 ride (Boat is the ex PT-728) sailing along the New Jersey shore in Wildwood, NJ
Gzsyn.jpg

Ex-Pt-728 sailing as PT-109 circa 1965
GzdC8.jpg

George and Ronnie Sinn on the ex-Pt-728 sailing as PT-109 circa 1969
Gzgti.jpg

By 1974, they had another Big Flamingo and the P-444/Big Flamingo became the new PT-109 ride.

Ex-P-444 as "Big Flamingo"
Gz9f4.jpg

ex-P-444 sailing as PT-109 circa 1974
Gz1xO.jpg

It was a much bigger boat than the 728, longer and more freeboard. It was pretty quick, but not as fast as when they used the 728. Plus, with the higher freeboard and better canvas railing protection, fewer people were getting soaked!

Now, having the wind in your face and the salt spray washing over is real cool about midsummer. But, in late spring and early summer, the water temp in the mid-atlantic at the Jersey shore runs 75-80 degrees. That might sound warm, but with a strong breeze and boat traveling into the wind at 28 knots average speed and you get downright chilled to the bone. The evening trips were at 7 PM and out on the ocean by 8 PM. That night air and cold water would freeze people and make them quite uncomfortable.

The P-444 sails as the 109 for a few years until about 1978. The Sinn's then convert the boat to the party fishing vessel "Buccaneer".

Ex-P-444 as "Buccaneer " circa 1978
GzA6M.jpg

Later on the Buccaneer is sold and goes North to become the "Peconic Star II" which it still is today.

Ex-P-444 sailing as "Peconic Star II"
GzLzJ.jpg

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered | IP Logged

Next Page

Pages: [1] 2 3


Lock Topic

 

Forum Legend

New Member

Reply to topic

More than 25 posts | Full Member

Reply to topic with quoted message

More than 50 posts | Advanced Member

Edit Message

More than 150 posts | MASTER

View profile

More than 300 posts | TOP BOSS

Email member