USS Sequoia (presidential yacht)

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USS Sequoia is a former United States presidential yacht currently in private ownership but as of November 2004 sought for repurchase by the U.S. government.

The yacht is 104 feet long, with a wooden hull, and was designed by John Trumpy Sr., a well-known shipbuilder. It includes a presidential stateroom, guest bedrooms, a galley and dining room, and was retrofitted with an elevator for Franklin D. Roosevelt. The ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

For other vessels named Sequoia, see USS Sequoia (disambiguation).




The Sequoia started out as the Sequoia II, a private yacht built for $200,000 in 1925/1926 at a Camden, New Jersey shipyard. It was built for Richard Cadwalader of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who sold it to the president of the Sequoia Oil Company in Texas.

US Government service

The Sequoia was purchased in 1931 by the United States Department of Commerce, for Prohibition patrol and decoy duties on the Mississippi River. Herbert Hoover, an avid angler, had it moved to the Potomac River for his use after the presidential yacht the USS Mayflower was damaged by fire during the Great Depression.

In 1933, it was transferred to the Navy, serving officially as the presidential yacht for three years, until replaced by the Potomac. From 1936 through 1969 the Sequoia then became the yacht of the Secretary of the Navy. During this period the Sequoia was used by presidents and other high-ranking government officials. From 1969 through 1977 the yacht was dual-use for the Navy and Executive branch officials including the president.

At Jimmy Carter's direction, the U.S. government sold it at auction in 1977 for $270,000, as a symbolic cutback.

Notable events aboard the Sequoia include:

After Decommissioning

It had a number of owners over the next 25 years, due in part to the expenses associated with the maintenance of a wooden-hulled vessel. Some owners sought to offer it for charter, others were non-profit groups seeking to maintain it for historical or other reasons.

The Presidential Yacht Trust, a non-profit organization, acquired it in 1980 and sponsored an eight-month, 6,000-mile "comeback" tour, but this group went bankrupt three years later. The vessel lay derelict for nearly a decade, and was eventually purchased for $2 million in September 2000, after a shipyard had it renovated at a cost of over $3 million. It underwent additional restoration, and as of 2003 was available for private charters for $2500/hour.

In November 2004 Congress voted to appropriate $2 million to re-purchase the Sequoia.

External links and sources

Sources for this article include "The Presidential Yacht U.S.S. Sequoia: Restoring a Time-Honored American Tradition" (the January 1983 cover story of Architectural Digest) and the following:

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