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Sea Cloud's Nine Lives by Captain Todd Burgman ate in April 193 1, in the depths of the G reat D epressio n, the larges t and most extravagant yacht the world had ever seen slid down the ways in Kiel, Germany. O riginally christened H ussar Vand later renamed Sea Cloud, this four-mas ted auxiliary barque is arguably o ne of the m ost beautiful tall ships afloat. Commissio ned by fin ancier E. F. H utto n and his wife, heiress Marj o ri e Merriweather Post, she is o ne of the few grand yachts of that era to have survived World War II. H er legendary career has spanned nearly eigh t decades, a tes tament to her o riginal engineering and construction, and includes service as a private yacht, a war shi p, a sail trai ning ship, and today as an exclusive sailing passenger ship and charter yacht. Hutton's fa mily had owned a series of yachts called H ussar, and the New York naval architects G ibbs & Cox were hired to des ign the next in line, the Hussar V. The new yacht was to be excessive in every way: the largest, the tallest and m ost expansive sail plan, the most m odern engineering systems, the highest degree of safety achievable, and the m ost luxurious. The co nstruction contract was awarded to the Friedrich Krupp German ia Werft in Kiel, Germany, a fi rm with extensive experience in the engineerin g and construction of large commercial sailing ships. The ya rd had an excellent reputation for high q uali ty and low costs and had received o rd ers fo r over rwenty-rwo large lux ury yachts berween 1923 and 1931 (e.g. N ourmahal 1928 fo r V incem Asto r, Vagabondia 1928 for W. L. Mellon, Orion 1929 fo r Julius Forshmann, and Alva 193 1 fo r W. K. Vanderbilt). SIY Hussar was built alo ng the lines of a classic American clipper ship, with a tall and expansive sail plan, a long stern coun te r, and a cl ipper stem. She spreads over 32,000 sq. ft. of canvas o n 30 sa ils across fo ur m as ts. The total length of her ru nning and standing rigging is nearly 13.5 nauti cal miles. She has spli t to psails, topgallants, and royals, and an addi tio nal skysail on the main m ast. The fo ur lower mas ts, bowsprit, spanker gaff and boom, and the course and topsail yards are all co nstructed of steel. The upper m as ts and yards are wooden. Altho ugh a square-rigged yach t co uld already be considered

anachro nistic in the 1920s, below deck she was one of the m ost high-tech yachts ofher time. She had a highly advanced diesel-electric power pl ant, with four 800 hp Krupp four-stro ke six-cylinder diesel engines coupled to AEG generators, which in turn powered rwo 1,35 0 hp electric m otors driving rwin 9' 6" diam eter m anganese bro nze propellers. The riveted-steel hull boasted watertight compartmentalization with hydraulically o perated watertight doors, which co uld be remotely closed fro m the bridge. O ther advanced systems included one of the first shipboard autom atic dial telephone system s, a three-pipe water system, a hospital with surgical capability, and a jukebox with a m agazine of 36 reco rds, which co uld be selected and listened to from any cabin o r salon. The yacht also had 70 cubic meters of refri gerated sto rage fo r p rovisions. She carried a fleet of eighr boats including a 32-fr. owner's launch , a 26-fr. Chris-Craft, a 26-ft. motor wh ale boar, a 32-ft. rw in-screw fishing boar, a sailing dinghy, a crew gig, and rwo life boars. The interio r design could only be described as opulent. In 1929, M arj o ri e rented warehouse space in New York and had rhe G ibbs & Cox deck plans drawn our on rhe floor. She then set about collecting furnishin gs and antiques to ado rn her m agnificent new yacht. The decor included an extensive collection of original art,

(left) Hussar V, 1931, in the Hutton era; (right) Marjorie Merriweather Post's cabin was not exactly typical for sailing ship accommodations.

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SEA HISTORY 13 1, SUMMER 2010

Sea History 131 - Summer 2010  

8 Gloucester Fishermen Baited by Klondike Gold, by Dr. Louis A. Norton • 12 HISTORIC SHIPS ON A LEE SHORE: What to Do with the Evelina M. G...

Sea History 131 - Summer 2010  

8 Gloucester Fishermen Baited by Klondike Gold, by Dr. Louis A. Norton • 12 HISTORIC SHIPS ON A LEE SHORE: What to Do with the Evelina M. G...