L & H Boats

Soundings - - Classics -

ichard Gar­ling­ton passed his ex­pe­ri­ence to some young boat­builders, in­clud­ing Glenn Muller, an avid New Jer­sey fish­er­man who worked on com­mer­cial boats in New Eng­land be­fore at­tend­ing the Flor­ida In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. He worked as a car­pen­ter un­der Gar­ling­ton and, as a back­yard project, built his own 30-foot sail­boat. Af­ter liv­ing aboard with his wife in the Ba­hamas for a year, the cou­ple faced dwin­dling fi­nances that led Muller back to Gar­ling­ton, where his ex­pe­ri­ence in wood and fiber­glass kept him busy.

In the early 1990s, cus­tomer John Meyer wanted to build his per­fect 33-foot sport­fish. Muller signed a three-year con­tract with Meyer’s com­pany, L&H Boats. Word of mouth led to sales: L&H is now on hull No. 36 of the 33-footer. Meyer even­tu­ally sold the com­pany to Muller, who to­day jug­gles build­ing new boats with restor­ing clas­sics, in­clud­ing Ber­trams.

“L& H had the first walka­round; now every­one has them,” Muller says. “The 33 makes you feel like you’re in a big­ger boat, and the cost of op­er­a­tion is re­mark­able, with diesel en­gines us­ing less than a gal­lon of [fuel] per hour. We only build one or two boats a year, and there is no rush­ing or cut­ting cor­ners.”

Muller has made me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal im­prove­ments, but there is no in­fu­sion or vacuum-bag­ging. The hulls are hand-laid us­ing vinylester resins. “We don’t build an ul­tra­light boat. It runs bet­ter as a heav­ier boat. It’s more sta­ble,” he says.

A 43-footer is in the works as the lat­est 33 is read­ied for de­liv­ery, but L&H is flex­i­ble and has even done a one-off 17½-foot flats boat. “It doesn’t make us a lot of money, but we do a cou­ple of big cus­tom projects, ren­o­va­tions and keep build­ing the 33,” Muller says. R

L&H’s 33-footer was born of a client’s de­sire for the per­fect sport­fish.

The Game­fish­er­man 46 comes from a yard that does cus­tom builds to 65 feet.

This 19-foot bronze statue helps Stu­art fly the flag as the Sail­fish Cap­i­tal of the World.

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