Key Largo yacht - RC Groups
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Aug 25, 2010, 02:57 PM
Retired for now

Key Largo yacht

In the movie "Key Largo" before the hurricane hits,Bogey and Bacall go out to the wharf to tie up their boat and there is a large yacht maybe 60 feet long or so sitting out in the water. Maybe a Consolidated. Anybody have any info on this yacht? Pete
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Aug 25, 2010, 05:30 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
I love these kinds of questions, I suppose because I am a bit of a sleuth.

Anyway, I found it for you. In fact, you can go see the actual boat if you wish at the Islamorada bass Pro store.

The boat was built at Weeks Shipyard in Brooklyn in 1933. Here is what I found:

If you are ever in Islamorada, Fla., Stop in at the World Wide Sportsman to see the Pilar replica. Go here and scroll down to the bottom-most, left-hand photo. toreID=21#gallery

The boat is still there and you can visit it and see the Hemingway memorabilia on it. This is the blurb about the boat and it verifies something I always thought when I watched the film Key Largo.


Dry-berthed at WorldWide Sportsman is the vessel which has been called the sister ship to Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Pilar’.

Our ‘Pilar’ was built at Weeks Shipyard in Brooklyn in 1933, a year before Hemingway’s boat was built by the Wheeler Boat Yard around the corner. Legend has it that Hemingway fished from this boat in 1933 and decided he must own one just like it if he were to satisfy his yearning to hunt the big game fish of the Gulf Stream waters, all the way to Bimini. He took a Wheeler brochure with him on his African safari in the fall of 1933 and, when he returned through New York in April of 1934, he placed his order for the Wheeler Playmate Cabin Cruiser for a price of $7500, monies raised from advances against future articles and royalties for Esquire magazine and Scribners, his publisher. He christened her ‘Pilar’ in honor of the shrine of Zaragoza and also of his wife, Pauline, who had used it as her secret nickname during their courtship.

The two ships are very much alike, except that Hemingway customized his ‘Pilar’. It was four feet shorter at 38-feet and the transom was lowered by one foot. Otherwise, they shared the same home at the Port of Key West and fished the same waters throughout the 30’s. Both boats also took part in World War II, WorldWide’s ‘Pilar’ being called to duty with the Navy in Key West, while Hemingway armed his ‘Pilar’ to the hilt and chased German submarines in the waters off Cuba, having changed his home port to Havana.

When Hemingway left Cuba in 1959, he entrusted his ‘Pilar’ to long-time captain and friend, Gregorio Fuentes. Two years later Fuentes received a letter giving him ownership of the ‘Pilar’, about one month after Hemingway shot himself, but he never went out on her again. Thus the boat sat idle throughout the 60’s, until the Cuban government moved her to the present location at Finca Viga where she is on display at Hemingway’s old homestead on the island.

Our ‘Pilar’ has less documented but nevertheless colorful tales to tell. In 1948 she co-starred with Bogart and Bacall in the movie “Key Largo”, bearing the name ‘Santana’ on her stern. And in the 50’s she showed up in the Bahamas as ‘The Blue Heron’ in the movie of the same name. Years thereafter she was left to deteriorate on shore at Stock Island until someone calling himself Blue Heron Don moved aboard and commenced restoration. Her new fiberglass bottom allowed the old vessel to float once again, but, after nine years, Blue Heron Don died, his job unfinished.

In 1978 Tex Perkins moved to Key West from Fort Worth and went into the charter boat business. As a Hemingway aficionado, he’d had his eye on the boat for some ten years, with ideas of restoring her as a ‘Pilar’ replica. He bought her from attorney, Mark Quinn, who had had her moored in the mangroves on the other side of Stock Island, and towed her over to Steadman’s Boat Yard where, with the help of Cheryl Clark and Kurt Blum, he set about rebuilding her from the waterline up. Within a year she had newly rebuilt twin diesel engines, new electronics, a modern steering system, and gleaming mahogany and accessories. With satisfaction, they proclaimed her to be the sister ship, ‘Pilar’. Tex put her to work in his charter business as a veritable floating museum of Hemingway memorabilia, catching the attention of Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops, who in 1993 expressed an interest in acquiring her as a centerpiece for his saltwater emporium. Tex agreed and on January 15, 1994, Captain Don Van Esselstine sailed her up to Islamorada. Johnny Morris had the boat transported to his home town in Springfield, MO, where she was totally refurbished before her return to Islamorada.

In October 1997 she was rechristened by Mina Hemingway, Ernest’s granddaughter. At last the ‘Pilar’ has a comfortable anchorage, just as does her sister ship in Cuba.
Aug 25, 2010, 07:39 PM
Registered User
Pete, I have also wondered what type of yacht that is anchored off shore in the movie.
I'm not sure the Pilar is large enough to have been that boat. I have wondered if a model yacht was used for the long shot that I am thinking of.
Would anyone have a capture shot from the movie of the boat in question?
Aug 25, 2010, 08:11 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Oops, I thought Pete was referring to the boat that Bogart is driving at the end of the movie.
Aug 25, 2010, 10:43 PM
Registered User
charlie eaton's Avatar
I think the same sportfisherman was used in ''TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT'' with Bogart driving and called the ''SANTANA'' I'm refuring to the Wheeler not the yacht.
Aug 25, 2010, 10:56 PM
woodybob's Avatar
Abordage El Pilar
Aug 26, 2010, 09:44 AM
Retired for now
The boat pictured here is similar to the "Santana" in the movie "Key Largo". May even be the exact boat but the one I'm refering to is a lot bigger and in the movie it is anchored off the wharf where the Santana is tied up. You see it in the background and I don't think it's amodel. Looks too real for that. The boat that Bogey was driving is about a 30 to 40 footer. The boat I'm talking about is at least 60 fet and prolly more. I don't have the movie or I'd try to get a picture of it. I saw it yesterday on TCM. Pete
Aug 26, 2010, 11:01 AM
Old wreck in Milwaukee
Prins Willem's Avatar
You can just glimpse the boats at the beginning of thess trailers:

Key Largo - Movie Trailer (2 min 27 sec)
Last edited by Prins Willem; Aug 26, 2010 at 11:06 AM.
Aug 27, 2010, 06:24 PM
Retired for now
The boat that is shown in the first trailer of Key Largo is called the Sultana in the movie. Looks like the same boat in the other trailer too. However that is not the boat I'm refering to. This other boat is a much bigger cruiser and appears in the KL movie when Bogy and Bacal go out to tie up the Sultana just before the hurrican. The same yacht appears a few minutes later when the Indians arrived at the pier also before the hurricane hits.
Hard to believe all the die hard boat people on here have missed this yacht. It doesn't figure in the movie at all. It's just sort of anchored off the pier where the Sultana is tied up and you only see it twice but it's pretty boat and pretty darned big too. Pete
Aug 28, 2010, 01:14 AM
Registered User
Pete, I too have long wondered what kind of yacht it is that we're talking about. You just get brief glimpses of it, as you say, prior to the arrival of the hurricane. It is a long, impressive looking boat, definitely in the yacht category. The cabin area on it doesn't look at all Chris-Crafty, and I'm not familiar with the other yacht models of that era. A model boat approximating it would be interesting; it would make a great scratchbuilt construction thread on this forum.
The Pilar model, shown above in post # 6, doesn't look like the Santana fishing boat that
Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson end up shooting it out on, at the end of the movie. The Santana does look like the fishing boat used in the other Bogart movie, "To Have and Have Not." I have read that the same (real) boat was indeed used in both movies.
This is frustrating isn't it, Pete?
Aug 28, 2010, 07:35 PM
Retired for now
Ya I would have thought that somebody had a pic of that yacht or some info on it. I couldn't find anything myself. I think it's a Consolidated yacht because it has their sheerline and cabin design. Like you say there are only a couple of quick pics of her but she sure is of an impressive size. If I ever have any money again I'll get a copy of the movie and try to get a picture of the yacht off the TV screen. Pete
Last edited by norgale; Aug 28, 2010 at 07:44 PM.
Aug 28, 2010, 07:50 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
What is that first picture boat? It is very sleek and Art Deco looking.
Aug 29, 2010, 01:16 AM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
alright.. I had to look it up, and wouldn't you know it? some darn fool left this movie.. just laying around on the floor of the internet! so i had to pick it up and take a good close look at it.

fist thing.. this movie.. is friggen AWESOME!
everyone it are doing the thing that they do PERFECTLY. can't believe this has escaped my attention until now..

in any case....

throughout the movie.. I only ever see just ONE boat anywhere. and that is the santana featured.
yes the early scenes show the bow of this boat, and then when the gangsters are trying to make their escape, it seems implied its the same boat that seems to owned by the hotel.

I need to figure out where VLC and Linux is hiding my screen captures.. but I really only see just one boat at dock and used in the water. and quite frankly,a lot of these water scenes look very much like they are in the studio. and the big scene on the water where bogart is on the flying deck? that looks a LOT like a model floating into the fog to me.. just saying.

and what I do see of the boat in the movie? its no more than a 30 foot cabin cruiser with a short flying deck, and perhaps a trunk cabin?
I just got done watching the movie and repeating the boat scenes to capture stills.. the boat just doesn't look very big to me, and I only ever see one large boat moored to the dock at all
Aug 29, 2010, 01:44 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Look at what is from 2 years ago!
Aug 29, 2010, 04:12 AM
Registered User
Looks as if I don't know much more than I did two years ago.

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