Leon T

Hailing USS Sequoia

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I got a chance to see her in her glory at the Maritime Museum in St. Michael's about 12 years ago.  Last I heard in 2016 she was on the hard in Deltaville in serious disrepair (serving as home for raccoons) and sold for $0 and headed for restoration in Newport.

Any idea on her current whereabouts? I'll be in Newport next month and love to see her, if possible.

 

a43dcc8a0f75a77d882ea0b5cb9f94f1--sequoi

 

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Jul 17, 2017
It's now reportedly deteriorating in a Virginia boatyard. Following a prolonged legal battle, a judge last year awarded a Washington, D.C.-based company the right to acquire it for $0.
Delaware court finally decides fate of presidential yacht
Molly Murray, The News Journal Published 1:14 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2016 | Updated 7:30 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2016

     

The USS Sequoia Presidential Yacht

(Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images)

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The years of Delaware court fights over the presidential yacht, USS Sequoia, appear to be over.

But the-once stately vessel, called by some "America's most famous boat," has spent the time rotting in a Virginia shipyard and will likely require millions of dollars in repairs and possibly an exterminator before it can safely set sail again.

The good news is that its new owners won't owe a penny to the previous owners following a long Chancery Court battle over possession of the historic ship.

The judge in the case, Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III, wrote a 21-page opinion released this week that sums up the poor vessel's recent plight.

"The Sequoia, an elderly and vulnerable wooden yacht, is sitting on an inadequate cradle on an undersized marine railway in a moribund boatyard on the western shore of the Chesapeake, deteriorating and, lately, home to raccoons," wrote Glasscock in the opinion.

It was a sad state for a ship where Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, among other presidents, hosted dignitaries and friends.

Glasscock ruled that FE Partners, a Washington, DC investment group that specializes in historic ship restorations could purchase the Sequoia at an adjusted price of zero dollars. The decision capped years of legal wrangling over ownership and finally, the purchase price of the ship. The vessel was owned by Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group LLC. Washington Attorney Gary Silversmith was the principal owner and offered the vessel for charters along the Potomac River until it was pulled for repairs.

“FE Partners is committed to restoring and preserving the Sequoia in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard so that future generations of Americans will be able to enjoy the storied past of this magnificent yacht," said Richard Graf, general counsel of FE Partners in an email.

Earlier this year, marine experts estimated the cost of repairing the national landmark to seaworthy condition ranged from an estimated $400,000 to upwards of $4 million if the hull has to be significantly rebuilt.

Secretary of the Navy John Connally Jr., leans over the rail of the yacht USS Sequoia to greet President John F. Kennedy at the Naval Weapons Plant dock in Washington on July 11, 1961. Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy smiles as she speaks to Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., hidden by Connally. Woman at right is unidentified. This preceded a cruise on the Potomac River to Mt. Vernon, Va., for a dinner given by the president and first lady for visiting President Ayub Khan of Pakistan. In background is the PT boat, Guardian, one of the vessels assembled to carry guests to the dinner site. (AP Photo/Byron Rollins) Byron Rollins, AP

STORY: History of the USS Sequoia

STORY:Solution to clean up tainted Newark wells to be discussed

Once that work is complete, the value of the repaired and seaworthy former presidential yacht would be between $7.8 million and $13 million, said Earl McMillen III, founder of McMillen Yachts in Newport, Rhode Island.

The historic yacht, designed by John Trumpy and built at the Mathis Yacht Building Company of Camden, New Jersey, in 1925, is in dry dock in Deltaville, Virginia.

The yacht had earlier been awarded to FE Partners, LLC, based on another Chancery Court decision.

In this latest decision, Glasscock was asked to decide the value of the yacht and whether the former owner, Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group LLC was owed money for the vessel.

The deal was complicated because FE Partners loaned money to the Sequoia Group to make repairs. If the loan soured, FE had an option to purchase the yacht for $7.8 million.

It was Glasscock's task to assess the costs and outstanding debts. He concluded that FE Partners owed the Presidential Yacht Group, owned by Washington attorney Gary Silversmith, nothing in exchange for the yacht.

A "President's Eyes Only" folder lies on the bed used

A "President's Eyes Only" folder lies on the bed used by presidents aboard the yacht Sequoia, Wednesday, July 31, 2002, in Washington. The yacht, first recruited by President Herbert Hoover, was reportedly one of the few places in Washington where President Richard Nixon felt comfortable. After 77 years afloat, the Sequoia has stories to tell, even though it hasn't been a presidential cruiser since Jimmy Carter sold it off in 1977. (Photo: PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS, AP)

 

"I find under the contracts that Silversmith was obligated to maintain the vessel such that it was safe, structurally sound and fully equipped for its intended use as a Potomac River cruise vessel," Glasscock wrote.

Instead, he found there was little evidence that happened, based on testimony from Silversmith's expert.

"I am left with only one side’s expert reports and testimony that bear on the question of the cost of Silversmith’s obligation to maintain the Sequoia ... Silversmith did not direct his expert to do an inspection that would allow him to answer the pertinent question, which is what would it take to put this vessel" in shape to meet the loan contract provisions, Glasscock wrote.

 

Meanwhile, FE Partner's experts told a sad tale of the condition of the yacht, describing rotting wood and a structural decline that was so significant it changed the shape of the hull.

For the last year and a half, the Sequoia has been on blocks in the boatyard. Initially, it was protected from the elements by shrink wrap but that covering was removed.

The damage done while dry stored is a fraction of what already haunts the vessel. McMillen said there is extensive rot in the hull and several of the structural blocks which make up the hull are cracked. It should have new wiring, new plumbing and new marine-grade air conditioning.

His total estimated cost to repair the boat ranged from $3.9 to $4.2 million.

The USS Sequoia, with Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort

The USS Sequoia, with Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark aboard, departs for a cruise on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C, in 2011. U.S. presidents had used the yacht until it was sold in the 1970s. (Photo: YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

 

He recommended it be slid onto an ocean-going barge and shipped to Rhode Island for repairs. The area has the expert shipwrights needed to do the work, he said.

In her present condition "would you ever put passengers on her?" asked an attorney for FE Partners.

"No," McMillen said.

"Would you ever put her in the water?" the lawyer asked.

"No," McMillen said.

Silversmith, during the court hearing, questioned whether there weren't capable boatyards along the Chesapeake Bay where the work could be done at less cost.

Restoring and repairing wooden boats is "a lost art," McMillen said. "I think, quite frankly, that's why they don't build wooden boats anymore. They are wonderful works of art."

The Sequoia's history makes it more than just an aging wooden boat. Franklin Delano Roosevelt hosted Winston Churchill on its deck; John F. Kennedy celebrated his last birthday on board the Sequoia; and Richard M. Nixon spent a night in 1974 with a bottle of whiskey at a shipboard piano before he resigned the presidency.

The 104-foot wooden vessel has changed hands several times in recent years since President Jimmy Carter had it sold at auction in 1977 for $286,000.

It fell into disrepair before it was purchased and restored by its current owner, Silversmith, a Washington lawyer and real estate developer. Silversmith said he paid $1.9 million in 2000, and sank millions into repairs.

Silversmith operated the boat for charter on the Potomac River for many years. He said that he had been maintaining and caring for the boat all along and even took it to the Chesapeake Maritime Museum in St. Michaels for repair. The boat was regularly hauled out of the water for maintenance.

Silversmith did not respond to a request for comment. His attorney declined to comment. FE Partners expect to issue a statement later Tuesday.

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As of November 16, 2016 -

https://courts.delaware.gov/Opinions/Download.aspx?id=248780
The Sequoia is hauled out on a marine railway in Deltaville, Virginia, and the boatyard has a
lien on her for accrued hauling and storage........to complete the Work List, from Chesapeake Boat Works (“CBW”), the yard in which the Sequoia is currently lying.
 
Google:
Chesapeake Marine Railway
548 Deagles Rd, Deltaville, VA 23043

Google Satellite Image (maybe under the white tarp at top of railway)
image.png.d94b1b015534a3e64e5eff945da0424f.png

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She still is under shrink wrap on the rail at Fishing Bay in Deltaville VA.

Sailed by her Friday after diving my boat at FBYC.

 

Wish the dicks and their lawyers would get their act together.

Would be nice to see her floating again.

She deserves better.

and Fuck Jimmy Carter for selling her in the first place to make a point nobody cared about, along with his Mr Rogers sweaters (another useless point).

God did 1977 suck the big one....

 

forever (still feeling the pain...)

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13 hours ago, Foreverslow said:

She still is under shrink wrap on the rail at Fishing Bay in Deltaville VA.

Sailed by her Friday after diving my boat at FBYC.

 

Wish the dicks and their lawyers would get their act together.

Would be nice to see her floating again.

She deserves better.

and Fuck Jimmy Carter for selling her in the first place to make a point nobody cared about, along with his Mr Rogers sweaters (another useless point).

God did 1977 suck the big one....

 

forever (still feeling the pain...)

Thanks for the update, at least they finally covered her up.

You're right: she does deserve better. Much better.

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Can you imagine the public outcry if the federal government tried to restore and put that yacht back into service for the executive branch?

LOL...my head explodes just thinking about it.

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It'd be cheaper to just build a new one out of fiberglass to the same specifications of finishes and dimensions.

36 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Can you imagine the public outcry if the federal government tried to restore and put that yacht back into service for the executive branch?

LOL...my head explodes just thinking about it.

 

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42 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Can you imagine the public outcry if the federal government tried to restore and put that yacht back into service for the executive branch?

LOL...my head explodes just thinking about it.

The Ed would be so torn

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Quick update:'

Sequoia as of Saturday morning.

Buttoned up nice and tight by the craftsmen at Chesapeake Boat Works

 

 

sequoia2.jpg

sequoia1.jpg

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Talk about a yard bill for storage! Add hauling, blocking, withe a plastic rapping.. whale ho (white whale money hole). 

And what’s the rent bill for the boat house the center console pays? I know don’t ask, you can’t afford it..

 

so what’s it rate :lol:

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There’s a65’Trumpy in front of my boat that has pictures of a number of presidents aboard. The last 2 are Nixon looking out from the port cockpit and Ford sitting in a wicker chair going over documents in the  cockpit. There is also a copy of a letter from Carter recommending that the boat be decommissioned and sold to the  General citizenry. 

I’ll get a pic today

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On 8/23/2018 at 12:26 AM, Ajax said:

Can you imagine the public outcry if the federal government tried to restore and put that yacht back into service for the executive branch?

LOL...my head explodes just thinking about it.

When conspiracy theorists ask why we haven’t been back to the moon .......

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USS Sequoia is about to be on the move.

 

Just came from Chesapeake Boat Works.

Supposed to be loaded Monday on a barge for Maine for restoration.

Shipping out Tuesday provided the hurricane in the Atlantic goes away.

 

Will try to get some details from CBW tomorrow morning.

 

Current photos

 

sequoia1.jpg

sequoi0.jpg

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I hope the people who have taken this on have plenty money. At 65 foot she was really quite modest as a state yacht compared to say,  HMY Britannia. 

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Displacement:90 long tons (91 t)

Length:104 ft (32 m)

Beam:18 ft 2 in (5.54 m)

Draft:4 ft 5 in (1.35 m)

Speed:12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)

image.png.adc834e650acab6c79a7d96abe9c3bda.png

image.png.ba7f87e4ed8d9d719d4f7f731bdfcec7.png

image.thumb.png.4869aa2541039dbd2b234c10d543ec0f.png

 

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While I’m all for restoring old boats and loving the tally ho project and the western flyer restoration process.  I do wonder if this project could be best served as a fiberglass hull made to shape, and the original interior and topsides above the deck.   

Purists would squawk, but it would be around for more to enjoy for longer and cheaper.  

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This project has to cost 2-5 million. Then 800k a year to keep her alive

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I just missed the load due to work.

But she is on the barge

 

Here is her fix as of tonight.

her tow is Coastal Trader for anyone wanting the watch her go up the coast.

 

 

sequoi2.jpg

sequoia tow.JPG

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On 9/15/2019 at 12:25 PM, Foreverslow said:

Supposed to be loaded Monday on a barge for Maine for restoration.

Any word where in Maine she's going?

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Seems like a good project for Hodgdon, Front Street, French & Webb, or Rockport Marine

Too much scale for Artisan Boatworks or Yachting Developments. Too much custom for Lyman Morse. Not enough new build for Brooklin

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4 hours ago, Will S said:

Any word where in Maine she's going?

wife overheard someone say Brooklin on Sunday.

Hopefully when Coastal Trader starts the tow, it will update with its final destination so it will show on marinetraffic.com

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First stop is Cambridge MD to be transferred to an ocean going barge. 

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16 hours ago, Foreverslow said:

wife overheard someone say Brooklin on Sunday.

Hopefully when Coastal Trader starts the tow, it will update with its final destination so it will show on marinetraffic.com

Man, Steve gets all the cool projects. 

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On 9/15/2019 at 2:45 PM, Greyhound37 said:

This project has to cost 2-5 million. Then 800k a year to keep her alive

True - it got too expensive for the Federal Government to keep up.

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True, and Sequoia was just the river cruiser. Truman had the 243 foot USS Williamsburg as his big boat. 

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10 hours ago, Leon T said:

Nice writeup today by Waterway Guide

Reports it's heading to Belfast, ME

That'd be Front Street then.  Expect F&W, etc will all be involved over the next few years......

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marinetraffic.com shows Global Trader has just crossed the Rappahanock and is going up western side of bay at 6 knots.

Should be crossing the Potomac into Md in about 3 hours.

Perfect night to be making distance.

Cool and clear (first time since April..).

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global trader is headed south from St Micheal right now, so they must have dropped off the barge.

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Quote

Once restored, the vessel will return to Washington, D.C., where it will serve as a venue to teach American presidential history, and promote ocean conservation causes, Cantor said.

Interesting: wonder if they'll park it next to Air Force One at National Harbor or the Wharf in DC (with a view from Tiki TNT)? 

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The paper the other day said French & Webb. 

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11 hours ago, Fleetwood said:

Bit big for F&W's shop?

https://bangordailynews.com/2019/10/11/news/midcoast/presidential-yacht-may-dock-in-belfast-for-restoration/

 

i reread it. words like ‘may dock’ and will release more information where the restoration will happen, makes the project seem a bit uncertain. 

Maybe they will do the work on the barge after tying up somewhere like they did in Wiscasset this winter (although that boat was floating on its own and not a F&W project).

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Front Street is a big yard!  Two Sequoia-sized projects would fit into the small shed.  There’s also plenty of outside space.  Kinda depends on how deep the backers’ pockets are... Inside air-conditioned space and bang it out, or outside under temporary cover at a slower pace, with F&W contract labor.  I don’t see Front Street and F&W being competitors, necessarily, so can also imagine the whole project being a cooperative venture.  I don’t happen to know anyone involved, but do have a spy network that I can consult.

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Guess they are building a shed around the boat outside the F&W building.  

 

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On 9/15/2019 at 4:45 PM, Greyhound37 said:

This project has to cost 2-5 million. Then 800k a year to keep her alive

2.5M Wont restore her more like 4 to 5 M .worth every penny I would do it in a heartbeat if I had the cash 

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The Theseus school of boat repair seems to be effect here. However, that's a good thing to keep the yard folk's skills up. 

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On 9/15/2019 at 12:59 PM, KC375 said:

Displacement:90 long tons (91 t)

Length:104 ft (32 m)

Beam:18 ft 2 in (5.54 m)

Draft:4 ft 5 in (1.35 m)

Speed:12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)

image.png.ba7f87e4ed8d9d719d4f7f731bdfcec7.png

 

 

I sure hope he's reading a sailing rag.

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