|Your cart is currently empty|
The Pilar was author Ernest Hemingway’s prized possession. The 38-foot fishing boat was built by the Wheeler Shipyard in 1934 and was named after a bullfight shrine Hemingway had visited in Zaragoza, Spain. The shrine is prominently mentioned in Hemingway’s book “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
Pilar is also said to be the nickname of Hemingway’s second wife. Hemingway purchased the boat in 1934 for $7,500. Hemingway, an avid sport fisherman, did most of his fishing with Capt. Gregorio Fuentes on the boat. Fuentes was used as the fictional character in Hemingway’s classic novel “The Old Man and the Sea.”
Hemingway acquired the boat in April 18, 1934 after returning from safari in Africa. The boat was a modified version of the Wheeler Playmate line.The final price for the boat was $7,495 which included modifications such as a livewell to contain fish, engine set-up, and a roller on the transom to aid in hauling large fish onto the boat. A flying bridge was added at a later date, but not by Wheeler. The boat's hull was painted black as opposed to the stock white color.
The boat was constructed in the Coney Island yard of the Wheeler company and delivered to Hemingway at Miami, attached to a wooden cradle which was part of the purchase price. Hemingway, a Wheeler representative, and a friend of Hemingway then delivered the boat under its own power from Miami to Key West along and a few miles to the east of the Florida Keys, via a semi-protected passage known as Hawk Channel.
Science on the Boat
In addition to hunting, Hemingway was an avid fisherman and a great contributor to the development of the sport. He also contributed to the knowledge of Atlantic marine life. During his first visit to Cuba with Pilar, Hemingway hosted Charles Cadwalader who was the director of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural History and Henry Fowler, who was the Academy’s chief ichthyologist. These two scientists were in Cuba trying to determine the taxonomy of marlin species. They were attempting to determine if white, blue, black, or striped marlin were different species, or just color variants of the same species. As a result of their efforts on the boat, they reclassified the North Atlantic marlin variants.
The boat now rests at Hemingway’s Finca Vigia estate in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. The boat originally had a black hull, but it has been painted green while in Cuba