Palmer Johnson Yachts, founded in 1918 as Johnson and Gmack, began by building and repairing boats for the Great Lakes commercial fishing fleet. This continued until 1928, when Palmer Johnson, the founder's son, built the firm's first wooden yacht. As the reputation for small, high-quality Palmer Johnson yachts grew, so did the orders for custom wooden yachts.
When the United States entered WWII and country rallied behind the effort, Palmer Johnson Yachts, then called Sturgeon Bay Boat Works began producing 45' air-sea rescue vessels 65' T-class freighters. At wars' end, a series of custom yacht manufacturing began. In 1956 the company was officially named Palmer Johnson Boats and was sold to a group of local Sturgeon Bay businessmen. In 1961, after being sold to Texas Instruments founder Pat Haggerty, a commitment was made to then begin producing yachts constructed of aluminum.
Palmer Johnson Yachts is today headed up by none-other than Mike Kelsey, Jr., who's father Mike Kelsey Sr. is largely credited with developing Palmer Johnson into a megayacht legend. Mike Jr. had been an employee of the company for many years. Prior to his departure during some difficult financial years for the company, he vowed to return to the yacht building business due to his concern for the workers in Sturgeon Bay. For more than 150 years, these craftsmen launched ships into the Great Lakes, finishing over 250 boats with the skills and expertise that has made Palmer Johnson into an American icon. Mike Jr. seized the opportunity to purchase and expand Palmer Johnson's in the early 2000's and turn back into one of America's premier yacht builders. Mike Jr. is fully credited with resurrecting the company and arranging the financial restructuring that has allowed Palmer Johnson to continue building on its successes.
Today Palmer Johnson Yachts builds custom yachts in the yards of their Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, facility with sales offices in various worldwide regions. From its start as a builder of wooden fishing boats in 1918, Palmer Johnson has grown to be a leader in the United States for custom megayacht construction. The yachts feature an emphasis on a quiet, low vibration ride. The first aluminum megayacht in the United States to have both a United Kingdom MCA and Lloyd's certification came from Palmer Johnson. A Palmer Johnson yacht also set a world speed record at one time in the large motoryacht class.
Now, Palmer Johnson has several new high-style motor yachts under construction in Sturgeon Bay, ranging from 90 feet up to 123 feet, with the latter being the first ever fiberglass Palmer Johnson ever built. They have recently finished a 142' tri-deck as well.
One of the newest Palmer Johnson yachts is the PJ 120. This is a new model with aluminium hull and with superstructures in vacuum stratified composite, a solution that ensures toughness but above all an indubitable reduction of weights.
The PJ 120 is developed on three decks, the whole lower deck being the night- time area. Here, fully forward, is the owner's suite, spacious because it exploits the full beam at that point. The double bed is slightly decentred to the left to make more room for the sofa and the furniture placed along the starboard side. The jacht has a spacious bathroom, with double washbasin and separate shower, and another room fitted out as an office. Then you come to the first guest cabin on the port side, with twin beds, and then two practically identical VIP cabins with obliquely positioned double beds. Over and above the en suite bathrooms there is another "daytime" bathroom on the starboard side, next to the companionway where access is gained to the night- time area.
The crew have two distinct areas positioned respectively at the extremities of the lower deck, both with independent access to ensure maximum privacy for guests. The cabins are forward, with four beds and two bathrooms, while the dinette, galley and laundry are aft.
Still on the subject of interiors, the main deck has a large day area, well illuminated by the large windows of the deckhouse. Entering aft there is, first of all, a round dining table seating eight, then a living area with facing sofas and a central coffee table. Lastly the galley which separates the indoor wheelhouse, also running the entire width of the boat, from the rest of the saloon. Outside, the cockpit is developed on different levels, descending aft and terminating in a "plateau" that is well integrated into the overall design of the vessel. Here too there is plenty of space and consequently comfort, the latter further enhanced by two sofas at the sides and a larger one in the middle with a shared table. Farther aft, a large sundeck with space for up to six suntan enthusiasts.
There's another sundeck fully forward on the deckhouse, next to the little "hangar" that houses both the tender and the davits for handling it.
The third deck, defined "house top", is actually fairly small, designed exclusively to house the outdoor bridge. Aft there are two well upholstered sofas that make the area comfortable also for those who are not actually at the helm. Above there is a well profiled roll bar with the function of aerial holder.