Our Story

My imageIt’s a uniquely American success story: Three self-made brothers rise from humble beginnings to create the finest sportfishing yachts the world has ever seen. With simple hand-tools and a dream, the three Rybovich brothers, Johnny, Tommy and Emil splashed the 1947 Rybovich Hull #1. Little did they know but the launch of Tommy's first attempt at boatbuilding -- acknowledged as the world’s first true* sportfishing boat -- would spark today’s billion dollar sportfishing industry.

1947 RYBO HULL #1 -- The world’s first sportfishing boat
“Miss Chevy II” stunned the world as being the world’s first true* sportfishing boat

Rybo Hull #1 boasted the world’s first Rybovich fighting chair. And the world’s first
aluminum outriggers. And she zoomed ahead of the crowd, racing at over 20 knots!
Commissioned by Charlie Johnson.

*Many boats were used for sportfishing but they were modified pleasure boats, such as
Hemmingway’s “Pilar.” “Pilar” was a Wheeler “Playmate” pleasure boat given multiple
adaptations to fulfill Hemingway’s passion for the sport. Rybovich Hull #1
is acknowledged as the world’s first boat built specifically for the sport of billfishing.

1952 RYBO HULL #8 -- “The guinea pig”
“MIss Chevy IV” also stunned the sportfishing world with her many world’s “Firsts.” She featured the
world's first aluminum tuna tower. Along with the world’s first transom door. As well as having the
first Rybovich signature ‘broken sheer.’ And she boasted the modern Rybovich fighting chair.
None of the Rybovich inventions were patented, and are freely used by boatbuilders to this day.

Commissioned by the always adventurous Charlie Johnson, these are the first 2 of his many Rybo’s.
Note: Rybo Hull #8 was confiscated by Fidel Castro, and was said to be his favorite sportfishing boat!


From L to R:  Tommy (designer/builder) Charlie Johnson, Johnny, Emil, and Pop

The birth of this classic American company is a story steeped in history: the creation of the modern sportfishing yacht. While Ernest Hemingway pioneered big game fishing in Bimini during the 1940's, Rybovich was there to show how the sport could be played in style. Combining performance with high-life extravagance, owning a “Rybo” became the ultimate status symbol. Each was custom designed and built by Tommy Rybovich as a mahogany masterpiece, blending technological innovation, speed and performance with his futuristic signature style. In 1961—as Fortune magazine declared Tommy's work “the Stradivarius of sportfishing boats”—the world’s most prominent sportsmen were already waiting in line alongside such brand-name tycoons as Firestone, Hutton, Ballantine, duPont, Gillette, and Maytag, plus a handful of crooks & gangsters from Tony Accardo (Al Capone’s second in command) to Meyer Lansky, and Bernie Madoff to keep things interesting! 

The video below is a little snippet from the PBS show where we discuss how “wildly” different the 3 Rybovich brothers were -- little wonder their battles were legendary! (It’s just a 3 minute clip from the 1 hour PBS show, that loops


From Right to Left Pop, Johnny, Tommy(my father) and Emil