Photo above: Ralph Ellis (left) and Raymond Bunker (right).
Before building custom boats Ralph Ellis made a living, as many did during the early 1900s on the coast of Maine, fishing and captaining boats for summer residents. But his life would change one night during a fateful game of pool at Jim's Place, in Southwest Harbor. Ralph Ellis and Raymond Bunker were at the pool table, passing time and conversing about small town issues. It is said that Raymond made the statement, "If I had a place to build a boat, I would do so instead of wasting my time playing pool." Ralph replied, "I have a shop, but I know very little about building a boat. If you wish, I will put my shop up against your know-how." That is all it took. As of that day in 1945, they were in a partnership that lasted for over 30 years.
Of the boats that were produced by Bunker and Ellis, most are still turning heads throughout the eastern seaboard. The beautiful lines and custom finish work in teak and mahogany are respected and copied by many custom boat builders. Building only a few boats a year, their work was immaculate. It is said that they were the first to use the term "Lobster Yacht" as a description of their boats.
Ralph Ellis spent much of his life in a boat shop not 40 feet away from the front door of his house in Southwest Harbor, Maine. That shop has since been expanded upon, torn down, and replaced by a new Ellis Boat Company custom fabrication shop. But the history and traditions of Ralph and Raymond still remain strong.
All of the knowledge and experience that Ralph Ellis acquired through his years as a master boat builder, he passed down to his son Don, now President of Ellis Boat Company. Today's Ellis boats continue to exemplify the style, craftsmanship and attention to detail that Bunker and Ellis are famous for.
Today's Ellis boats continue to advance the proven Downeast Lobster Yacht design by improving both speed and fuel efficiency while significantly reducing engine and vibration noise. Please feel free to contact us to arrange a visit
and/or sea trial and experience first-hand the superb ride and superior construction of an Ellis boat!