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Status symbols: Presidential yachts from around the world

Status symbols: Presidential yachts from around the world

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USS Mayflower

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Presidential yachts have become something of a rarity in the 21st century, but in their heyday these magnificent vessels were the ultimate sign of power for heads of state across the world.

Launched by J&G Thompson in 1896, USS Mayflower was one of the earliest presidential yachts, hosting five commanders in chief from Theodore Roosevelt to Calvin Coolidge over a 24-year period before Herbert Hoover had her decommissioned in 1929. Measuring 83 metres LOA, she was used for a 1905 peace conference that helped to bring about the end of the Russo-Japanese War. After serving in the US Coast Guard and the Israeli Navy, USS Mayflower was broken up in 1955.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Library of Congress

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Savarona

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One of the world’s largest superyachts, Savarona was launched in 1931 by German yard Blohm+Voss for American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwalader, and was sold to the Turkish government six years later to serve as the presidential yacht for Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Still available for charter in Istanbul, Savarona was given a $35million refit in 1989. Key features on-board this 124 metre superyacht include a Turkish bath that spans the entire 16 metre beam.

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Galeb

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Launched in Genoa in 1938 as an auxiliary cruiser for the Yugoslavian Navy, 115 metre Galeb is one of the more controversial presidential yachts on our list. Owned for many years by the first president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, she was used as a floating residence, embassy and party boat, hosting Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as carrying Tito to London for a state visit in 1953 — the first by any communist leader.

Watch as Galeb moors up in London in 1953

Since Tito’s death in 1980, Galeb (which means seagull in Croatian) has fallen into a sorry state, languishing in the port of Rijeka for the past decade. However, plans are afoot to convert Galeb into a museum ship in time for the city’s European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2020.

Photo: Flickr.com / Vladimir Tkalčić

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