Right from the start it looked like SUTPHEN would become a big name in the marine industry when 95 years ago the sinking of the steam ship LUSITANIA by the Germans. Henry R Sutphen with his ELECTRIC LAUNCH COMPANY in Bayonne, New Jersey received an order to build 550 80 foot high- speed Launches for the British NAVY at the begining of World War One. After war was over the company now known as ELCO went back to building electric powered Launchs and custom yachts up until 1941. With the start of World War Two Henry received the call to help again this time it was the United States Navy for the high speed Vee bottom Torpedo Boats to be built by the hundreds including John Kennedy's PT 109.
From the begining of the war to the end my dad Samuel P. Sutphen worked in the family business his first job was building the wooden deck wedges for the torpedo supports eventually working his way up in the plant to Master carpenter, and finally became the on water test inspector to sign off prior to the boats delivery to the Navy. The end of the war, on the horizon ELCO tried to down size and go back to building yachts and even converting the left over 80' torpedo boats to pleasure boats. For short period dad even worked in sales for the company but the handwriting was already on the wall. ELCO had to shut down what was left was sold to General Dynamics the Submarine builders in Groten Connecticut.
Mom and Dad did not want to move from New Jersey so he decided to start his own boat yard at Lake Hopatcong. There we did boat repair and boat building on a smaller scale with a few ex-employees from ELCO. Woodworkers, machinests and painters from rowboats, sailboats, work boats, barges, raceboats even fireboats. Here is were I come in because we lived at the business after school and weekends, my job was sweep the floor, clean off the glue from under the hull or hold a back up dolly for the riverters. And because I was already under there you picked up the dropped screws and nails. And you got to listen to grumpy old men but I loved it, and the pay off was you learned the right way from the bottom up. As time went on and my skills improved it was the building, designing and testing of the total project thats what wanted I to do. Our boat yard became known for the go fast boats tuning and changing the shape of bottoms, props, shaft angles, engines, etc. With all this going on the driving of race boats looked like fun although my Mom thought differently Pop was on my side. First small outboard hydroplanes, hemi powered flat bottom skiboats, inboard 266'', 7liter, and GP, 165+ mph blown fuel burners. In 1967 with the knowledge of fiberglass plug and mold building Sutphen Marine started its first 18' vee hulls then came the 17' low profile, building about 300 in New Jersey.
I decided in 1974 to move to Florida for the construction of offshore boats and with year round testing it made business sense. We moved the 30' wood hull plug south to finish and pull a mold. By 1977 our first fiberglass 30' was tested, our competition at the time in offshore was Magnum, Cigarette, Scarab, Signature, etc. In out first year of competition we won every race in the Production class
which was the most competitive class and the rest is history. The records speak for themselves with over 250 offshore wins plus world and national championships.
Sutphen is a custom builder, hand built one at a time. No more than twelve a year. We are the only company to build what we call a soft ride 26 degree variable Vee bottom for a easy landing in big water and great turning ability. Also by not having what we call a constant Vee the trim angle is not as critical and is more forgiving if you are a little off you don't scuff off speed. Our boats are wider forward to keep dry and makes for a roomer cabin. NO PAD they tend to hit hard in big water and push the bow down it is what we call stuffing you will also loose straight line direction. Our toughest competitor has gone from pad to more Vee every year. No STEPS their NOT SAFE they generate too many bubbles on the bottom in a hi- speed turn you loose grip if you don't slow down a spinout can result in throwing the family out of the boat. NO BEAKS why pay for a longer boat that does not improve the ride. NO BUSTLE for the same reason thats why we measure our boats from the true bow to the drive transom for this reason you have to add 2' to 4' depending on the what brands you look at to equal our boat's ride just put a ruler on them and find out. We're here to answer all your questions and possibly make a custom hand built boat for you.
CHRIS DRIVING AND RICHIE ON THROTTLES IN THE FIRST SUTPHEN INTERNATIONAL OFFSHORE RACE IN CAPE CORAL FLA. 1981
RICHIE SUTPHEN ON THROTTLES - BILL GAZELL DRIVER - DAVE GREAVES NAVIGATOR HOLDING THE FLAG
AFTER WINNING THE BACARDI
MIAMI BIMINI RACE 1978 IN THE GREAT ADVENTURE
THE FIRST OFFSHORE BOAT IN HISTORY TO WIN EVERY RACE FOR THE 1978 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
RICHIE WAITING TO START GANGWAY, A BLOWN FUEL CHRSLER HEMI 7 LITER IN THE MIAMI ORANGE BOWL MARINE STADIUM 1975
RICHIE SUTPHEN TESTING HULL #2 IN 1965
OUR FIRST 17 FOOT FIBERGLASS WINNER THE HANK BOWMAN TROPHY 1970
GENE WHIP ON THROTTLES-STAN PIKE OWNER/DRIVER ON THERE WAY TO WINNING THE 1978 BACARDI MIAMI BIMINI RACE IN THE SUTPHEN INFERNO
OUR SUTPHEN SPIRIT U-66 TURBINE
IN THE 1988 GOLD CUP