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USCGC Sea Cloud on 22 October 1942
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Class: SEA CLOUD (IX-99)
Design 4-masted yacht, 1931
Displacement (tons): 2,323 gross, 3,077 full load
Dimensions (feet): 316.0' oa, 254.0' wl x 49.2' x 19.0'
Original Armament: 2-3"/50 4-20mm (1943)
Later armaments: --
Complement 186 (1942)
Speed (kts.): 13
Propulsion (HP): 1,600
Machinery: 2 screws, diesel-electric
||15 Dec 41
||25 Apr 31
||4 Apr 42
||4 Nov 44
||13 Nov 44
||4 Nov 44
FY not assigned (acquired with BuShips maintenance funds). This large yacht was designed by Cox & Stevens, Inc., and built as HUSSAR II at Krupp's Germaniawerft yard at Kiel, Germany for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband, financier E. F. Hutton. The couple divorced in 1935, Post renamed the vessel SEA CLOUD, and in 1941 the yacht was officially owned by her third husband, Joseph E. Davies of New York, a noted diplomat and attorney.
On 4 Dec 41 the Auxiliary Vessels Board took under consideration a verbal directive from CNO to investigate and report on the advisability of acquiring the yacht SEA CLOUD, which the owner desired to offer to the Navy for the duration of the present emergency. The Board stated that the ship would be extremely useful as a weather patrol ship or a training ship for the Coast Guard or as a patrol gunboat (PG) for the Navy and recommended that she be acquired. The Board specified that the owner was to remove all furniture, rugs, objets d'art, wood paneling and other valuable items of a personal nature, that the Navy would remove and store all sails and such masts, topmasts, and yards that were not required, and that when the present emergency was over the Navy would return the ship to her owner in the condition in which the Navy received her. The Board understood that the owner was willing to deliver the ship to the navy at a rate of $1.00 per year under these terms but recommended that the terms be confirmed before acquisition. The Board left it to the administrative arm of the Navy to decide to which of the three suggested classes of service the ship would be assigned. The ship was bareboat chartered on 15 Dec 41, the charter including a special clause that in the event of total loss the owner would be paid $600,000. Assigned to the Coast Guard, SEA CLOUD began conversion on 11 Jan 42 to a weather observation station vessel at the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Md., was commissioned on 4 Apr 42, and began her first weather patrol on 23 Jul 42.
On 21 Apr 42 BuShips notified the owner of an amendment to all $1.00 per year bareboat charters that deleted any requirement for the Navy to reconvert ships when it returned them and stated that in case of loss of the vessel the Navy's liability was limited to the $1.00 charter hire. The owner refused to accept this amendment, and on 5 Dec 42 VCNO directed the acquisition of the ship by requisition purchase through WSA. The designation IX-99 was approved on 9 Apr 43 when the ship came under Navy administrative control, but she continued to be operated on weather duty by the Coast Guard. Replaced by newly-built frigates (PF), SEA CLOUD returned from her last weather patrol on 7 Aug 44 and was decommissioned and returned to her owner at Bethlehem Steel's Atlantic Yard in East Boston on 4 Nov 44. Her owner also received $175,000 to convert her back to her pre-war appearance, a process that was completed when she was re-rigged in 1947.
||Ex yacht SEA CLOUD, ex HUSSAR 1935. Four-masted bark with auxiliary power, steel hull. Coast Guard SEA CLOUD (WPG-284), comm. 4 Apr 42, weather patrol. To Navy 9 Apr 43. Returned to owner 4 Nov 44, re-rigged 1947. Trujillo's yacht ANGELITA ca. 1955, PATRIA (Dominican Republic) 1961, ANTARNA (American) 1968, idle 1970, SEA CLOUD (German) 1978 and fully restored.
Compiled: 21 Dec 2010
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2002-2010