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Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Antique and Classic, Carousel Feature |

Throwback Thursday: The USS Sequoia

The USS Sequoia was the U.S. Presidential Yacht between 1936-1977.

If you don’t remember the last time you saw a U.S. president sunning themselves on the presidential yacht, that’s because there hasn’t been one since 1977. Before that there was the USS Sequoia, a beautiful 104-footer that served presidents Hoover through Carter. Let’s take a closer look at this floating National Historic Landmark.

A photograph of the Sequoia.

The Sequoia, about a year after her launch in 1926. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Naval Archives

Sequoia was built and launched in 1925 by the John H. Mathis & Company shipyard in Camden, NJ, and designed by Norwegian-born John Trumpy, Sr. (of Trumpy Yachts fame). She was originally constructed using oak frames, Atlantic white cedar planking, teak decks, and mahogany for the superstructure. Original power plants were twin 225-horsepower Winton diesels, which pushed her to speeds of up to 12 knots. Sequoia is 104 feet long; has 18 feet, two inches of beam; and draws four feet, five inches. She displaces 203,840 pounds, or 91 long tons.

Sequoia actually began her U.S. Government service when purchased by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1931 for prohibition activities designed to thwart bootleggers. The idea was to give the illusion that Sequoia belonged to an affluent owner who might be in the market for illegal alcohol. When bootleggers approached the yacht an attempted to sell booze to the undercover feds, they were apprehended. But that didn’t stop President Herbert Hoover from borrowing Sequoia and enjoying alcohol aboard her during the last years of his presidency; he didn’t support prohibition.

A photo of the former presidential yacht Sequoia.

The former presidential yacht Sequoia, pictured here in 2008. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In 1933, Sequoia was commissioned in Annapolis, MD, for service in the U.S. Navy, and renamed USS Sequoia. Officially she was the Secretary of the Navy’s yacht from 1936 through 1969, but was used by every president from Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter, who sold her in 1977. Carter believed the yacht projected the wrong image for the presidency during difficult economic times. Among the significant historical events that took place on USS Sequoia were some of President John F. Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis strategy meetings and President Richard Nixon’s SALT I treaty negotiations with Soviet Union General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

USS Sequoia has had a number of owners since 1977, but today she is owned and maintained by the Sequoia Presidential Group. She is kept on the Potomac River in Washington, DC.

And if you’re looking for the perfect party platform, she is available for charter. For more information, visit The USS Sequoia web site.