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Credit: Beyel Brothers Crane and Rigging

Former US Presidential yacht Sequoia arrives in Maryland to resume halted restoration

2 November 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

The famous former US presidential yacht Sequoia is resuming her long-awaited restoration at a new location. On Monday 30 October the 31.9-metre historic vessel arrived at the Richardson Maritime Museum in Cambridge, Maryland, covered in shrinkwrap and in the same condition as she was in 2019.

Sequoia has spent the past four years on the hard in Belfast, Maine where she was scheduled to undergo repairs with French & Webb. In a press release, the Richardson Maritime Museum said it had been determined that an enclosed, indoor facility was needed for work to commence, which was the reason for the move (as well as general delays as a result of COVID-19).

The yacht was towed by barge from Maine to Maryland, a five-day journey
Credit: Rolf Olsen

Now, it is anticipated that the full renovation may take up to five years and require the skills of up to 20 shipwrights. Sequoia will then become part of the revival of the Richardson Maritime Centre – with a building to house the restoration being considered as part of those plans.

"[Her] permanent home will be on the water," owner Michael Cantor added, "but Cambridge could be its home for repairs and refitting." Cantor had previously suggested that Sequoia be based in Washington D.C and used to teach presidential history.

John F Kennedy spent his last birthday on board (pictured)

Built in 1925 by John Mathis & Company, Sequoia was originally owned by banker Richard Cadwalader before being sold to Texan businessman William Dunning. She was sold again in 1931 to the United States government.

From then, her history became closely entwined with some of the most famous US presidents – John F Kennedy spent his last birthday on board while Herbert Hoover used Sequoia to visit his mother in Florida. Franklin D. Roosevelt, meanwhile, had a wheelchair lift installed so that he could use her as an operational base during World War II.

Richard Nixon was particularly fond of Sequoia, taking more than 80 trips on board, including the night before he decided to resign in 1974.

Following her presidential reign, Sequoia was made available for charter in Washington, D.C. But the yacht was hauled out at the Chesapeake Boat Works shipyard in Deltaville, Virginia in December 2014 and from there, began to fall into disrepair. In the years that followed, she was at the centre of a drawn-out legal battle which was eventually resolved in 2016

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