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Rybovich Boats Reunion: Classic Sportfishing Boats Return to Treasure Coast

Rybovich Hull #2 (on display at the rendezvous) races ahead of one of the newest Rybos. Photos Courtesy of Rybovich
Rybovich Boats Hull #2 (on display at the rendezvous) races ahead of one of the newest Rybos. Photos Courtesy of Rybovich

Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart, Fla., will be the site for a family reunion of the nautical kind Oct. 12-14. The fifth annual Rybovich Rendezvous is expected to draw at least a dozen meticulously maintained classic Rybovich boats – and hundreds of admiring spectators – to the coast where these vessels were created.

This year’s event features the first-ever Vintage Rybovich Boat Parade along the St. Lucie River to conclude a full weekend of events.

Founded in nearby West Palm Beach in 1919, Rybovich & Sons Boat Works splashed its first custom-built sportfishing boat in 1947. To this day the yard retains its iconic status as one of the oldest and most sought after boat builders in America.

With simple hand tools and a dream, the birth of this classic heritage American company eventually evolved into the creation of the modern sportfishing yacht. When Ernest Hemingway pioneered big game fishing in Bimini during the 1940s, Rybovich was there to show how the sport could be played in style.

From the 1940s through the ‘60s, Rybos chased giant tuna and billfish all over the world. Combining performance with extravagance, owning a “Rybo” became the ultimate status symbol. Each was custom designed and built by Tommy Rybovich, blending technological innovation, speed and performance with his futuristic signature style.

By 1961 – as Fortune magazine declared Rybovich “the Stradivarius of sportfishing boats” – the world’s most prominent sportsmen were already waiting in line alongside the era’s leading tycoons including Firestone, Hutton, duPont, Gillette and Maytag.

Celebrating the yard’s 93-year heritage, Pat Rybovich (Tommy’s daughter) will present her book “Rybovich” about the family boatyard and share a behind-the-scenes look at the remarkable stories behind each custom-built Rybo on display.

“My dad died when I was 16, leaving a sea of unanswered questions about his life and his passion to create,” Pat says. “He was acclaimed as a genius yacht designer, but he had no formal training in naval architecture. Surprisingly he had little interest in boating, and yet he devoted his entire life to perfecting boat design – working alone at the boatyard until midnight nearly every night.

“In my quest to better understand the enigma that was my dad I set out on a mission to track down the men who worked alongside him, the men who knew him best. In the process I unearthed thousands of never-before published photographs of the boats and of my dad and his brothers in the boatyard along with countless sketches, notes, and other historical documents, which is how the ‘Rybovich’ book came to fill over 600 pages!” Pat explains.

After the presentation on Saturday, Pat will sign copies of her limited edition coffee table volume. The book delves deep into the history of the 79 boats built by the three Rybovich brothers.

Other free activities during the weekend include a marine art and jewelry show, a display of Rybovich boats in the marina with a chance to vote on the Spectators’ Choice award, and a cocktail reception with live music on Saturday. The noon boat parade on Sunday will be preceded by a blessing of the fleet at 11 a.m.

Visit www.rybovichbook.com for more event details.

 

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