American Marine Ltd boatyard, Junk Bay – great photographs
HF: Our article, Carolyn Quincy AKA Francis Marion – luxurious boat built at American Marine boatyard, Junk Bay, introduces a Hong Kong shipyard that I hadn’t come across before.
Many thanks to Thomas Sposato (TS) for sending a large amount of information about the shipyard and those who worked there.
The following powerpoint, linked below, The Legend of Grand Banks, was apparently put together by Shing Kong and Robert M Lane. Shing Kong’s father was a Mr Kong who worked at the shipyard. I wonder if this is “Joseph Kong, former General Manager of American Marine Company”, as mentioned in the Source 3 below?
The powerpoint includes numerous photographs of the yard including many of the skilled company craftsmen at work. The latter begin at page 31.
I would be delighted to hear from the authors of this fascinating insight into the yard both to further credit them, but also to ask see whether they have further information about Mr Kong and/or the shipyard which can then be posted on this website.
I can be contacted through an added comment below this article. Hugh Farmer.
The Legend of Grand Banks starts:
“More than 50 years ago, on Mok Cheong Street [Ma Tau Wai/To Kwa Wan] next to Eastern Cotton Mills, was a soft drink bottling plant managed by the founder of American Marine, Robert Newton.
In the 1950s, Robert Newton already in his late 50s, an age when many people start to think about retirement, …decided to start a boat building venture at his bottling plant’s parking lot…
“In 1962, Robert J. Newton and his sons, John and Whit, were running a custom boatyard on Junk Bay in Hong Kong called American Marine, Ltd. Father and sons built heavy sailboats and big motor yachts, to designs by the world’s top marine architects – Sparkman & Stevens, William Garden, Nat Herreshoff, Ray Hunt and others.
That year they commissioned Kenneth Smith, another well-known marine architect, to design a 36 foot, diesel-powered cruising boat. Spray was launched in 1963 and a year later the Newtons abandoned their custom yacht building to focus on producing the first of a line of boats that would be known as Grand Banks.
Even before Spray, however, there was the Chantyman that American Marine built of wood in its Hong Kong yard. Diesel-powered, the 34′ 6″ boat had a raised pilothouse, high bulwarks and softer hull lines (no hard chines). It was unlike Spray or the 36GBs that would follow, but Chantyman certainly was a design that introduced the concept of a production trawler-type yacht to the boating world.” (2)
“In the 1960s Harold’s son Harvey Halvorsen became the company designer, and in 1975 he formed a joint venture between Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty. Ltd. and Joseph Kong, former General Manager of American Marine Company, in Hong Kong to design, build and market a new range of pleasure boats worldwide. The company was called Kong & Halvorsen Marine & Engineering Company, Ltd.” (3)
“1961-1983 Tony Fleming served as the technical director of American Marine in Hong Kong, builder of the Grand Banks line of trawler yachts. He was largely responsible for the development of these well-known yachts and later organized the company’s new yard in Singapore, becoming its General Manager. While at American Marine, Tony also helped develop the highly respected Alaskan series of pilothouse yachts.” (4) TS
This article was first posted on 30th December 2015.
- The Legend of Grand Banks: How wooden GBs were built
- A Brief History of Grand Banks and American Marine, Robert M Lane
- Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty. Ltd – wikipedia
- Fleming Yachts website
- Yachting Magazine
Related Indhhk articles:
I own “Alnilam,” a Magellan 35, hull #3514 launched 1965 at the Newton yard. She is going strong. I think she’s one of the finest cruising designs ever launched. The slide show was a wonderful treat. I have all the log books since her launch but extra pix are always great to see. Thank you!
We had hull #1 of the series. She was christened Sea Fairy, An excellent sea kindly motor sailor, now moored in Morrow Bay, CA. We cruised and lived aboard in the 80s and 90s, and came across a few others in the SF Bay area. One is at St Francis YC, in pristine condition when we last saw her, and another Antares was in Vallejo. Am curious about your hull number, Was under the impression only 20+ were built.
I am currently trying to do some research n the Magellan 35. Specifically hull # 11 located here in BC, Canada.
I absolutely love the the boat and its amazing lines!
Is there anything specifically you could fill me in on that I should be looking for ? Problem spots, mechanical etc…??
Thanks for any assistance!
We purchased a 45 foot Harry Scheel designed motor sailer built by American Marine In 1964 and delivered to Honolulu.We sailed the boat to Australia in 2007.
I owned a fisher Island 44 built by American Marine for Stonington Boat yard worst decision of my life was to sell that beautiful motorsailer, i would love to buy another one simple yet practical aloha from Kona
i strongly suspect that i have a sister ship. kept in madisonville, la. i understand that another exists in st. petersburg fla. if you’re interested in the boat or more info,call/or text reply to email@example.com.
I am the owner of a 1972 model, 49ft, Grand Banks Alaskan, allegedly Build no. 4 from American Marine, Hong Kong. She is now being refurbished in Stavanger, Norway. I would highly appreciate historic documentation related to the construction and/or subsequent sailing history of the boat. She is named “Baltic Queen”.
Do you still have Baltic Queen” I own GBA49 #72 and have been trying to piece together a Register of them I have posted on the GB facebook page…. if you have not joined it I think you would find it interesting. Anyway perhaps you wont even see this.
Where did Robert Newton live before he moved to Hong Kong?
Robert Newton was American, and lived largely in Hawaii before moving to Hong Kong (I’m his great granddaughter).
Nicola, this is Jon Wilson at WoodenBoat magazine in Maine. Could we correspond, a little? I’m interested in your great-grandfather and his work. Jon Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you find any record of him building a boat for donn Beach? Or, do you have and plaques that he used in the boats?
Hi Trey – I’ll see what I can find out. Any idea what year ish?
Nicola, I have met your great-grandfather in 1967 at the Junk Bay boatyard when my father and I traveled to Hong Kong right after my father ordered a Grand Banks Classic. My father asked for some custom made on his new Grand Banks. Could we correspond, a little? my email is email@example.com
Thank you in advance,
Nicola, how are you related to John Newton?
I have been the caretaker of wandrian ,chantyman trawler hull #9 for 3 years. She has been my home for the last year and I absolutely love her. If you have any information on these fine boats I would love to hear from you. She is in wonderful shape and very original except for the john deere powerplant.
In 1962 American Marine Limited in Hong Kong built The Fishers Island 44 motorsailer entirely from teakwood; I bought and had one in 1984; it was a fantastic motorsailer. It was heavily built, seaworthy and safe in any sea conditions. Supposedly, the yard, Robert Newhouse and Sons, that sold this new boat was out of Stonnington, Conneticon, USA. There were not may 44 ft models made and I had one with the brass plaque inscribed with “Tin Hua” as I remember.
I want to have this boat rebuilt from steel and sail it again.
Can you, will you provide the drawing/scantling for the boat so I made once again sail her.
Bill, Greetings , we purchased a 45 foot Fishers Island Motor sailor called Alegria in Hawaii in 2007 and sailed her to Brisbane Australia. She was at least 45 feet and entirely constructed of teak. In 2018 we obtained a number of drawings from the Museum at Mystic seaport which we visited . They hold the Harry Scheel archive..
between Fiji and Noumea we had winds of thrity knots, the boat handled it very well . The bronze centre board was ideal when coming into Taburean atoll on thin the Line islands.
Best of luck. We last saw Alegria in 2015 in Townsville, looking great.
Many thanks for your comment. I am afraid I don’t have access to American Marine boat drawings, however these were very popular boats and I am sure there must be websites out there that can provide the information you are looking for.
Good luck with your search.
I have four pictures of my boat being built if I can send you
I have an Angleman Seawitch Named Southern Cross, built in 1961 by American Marine, I will soon be sailing her back to Hong Kong from New Zealand, she is beautiful
On 07.08.2021 a film was uploaded to Youtube about “Surviving Typhoon Wanda” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys6n4G1ifcg). Main part is about American Marine Ltd. boatyard.
I own Sea Quest 1961 Angleman Sea Witch hope one day someone will share pictures when the witches were being built sometime between 1955 -1962 her current home San Francisco California
I was pleased to stumble across this page because a cousin and I, fresh out of university, crewed on Drayton Cochran’s schooner Westward out of American Marine Ltd back in December of 1963, heading west for the Mediterranean. If interested, you’d be welcome to my handful of photos from that time showing American Marine’s waterfront, and the general environs of Junk Bay and Hang Hau. For contrast, you’d be welcome as well to pics my wife and I took 8 years ago when revisiting “high-rise Hang Hau” and the wholly-re-sculpted Junk Bay.
Many thanks for leaving your comment. I would be very interested in your kind offer of sending me the photos you mention. If you don’t mind I will email you in the next couple of days.