“We worked nights, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, even Christmas,” Raymond Bunker said in 1979, not long after his 32-year partnership with Ralph Ellis ended. “Often, we worked until nine o’clock or midnight, just the two of us, and we sometimes built four boats in a winter.”
Bunker and Ellis were in their 30s when they teamed up in 1946 to build boats. Before that, both men had developed reputations around the waterfront as hardworking, knowledgeable men. Ellis was a fisherman who helped run a commercial wharf. Bunker was the head foreman of a large boatyard, and ran private yachts during the summer.
Bunker wanted to build a boat for himself and had plenty of experience with design. Ellis had a workshop on his property and wanted to learn more about woodworking. They got together evenings just to pass the time on this new endeavor, so they called the first boat they built Evening Pastime.
A neighboring fisherman liked the looks of Evening Pastime. He asked them to build him a new lobsterboat. Bunker and Ellis liked to work hard and didn’t mind putting in the extra hours, so they took on the job.