STEAM SHIP DELPHINE.
Launched in 1921 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Michigan, SS DELPHINE was at 257.8 Ft and 1.342 tons the largest yacht built in the US that is still in existence today. Her original owner, Horace Dodge of the American automobile fame, designed her unique 2 x 1.500 Hp quadruple steam expansion engines. These are still working today.
Her History is truly remarkable. Unfortunately Dodge did not see the yacht afloat as he passed away just months prior to her launch in May 1921. She passed into the hands of his family who cruised and attended all great boat racing event. In 1926 she caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, five months later she was re-launched again in New York, this time with a 17th century French design interior.
In 1942, WWII, she was placed in US. Naval service. The interior was stored, a canon placed on the fore ship and she served as Admiral Kings Flagship. King was the admiral of the US fleet and chief of Naval Operations. She was renamed U.S.S. DAUNTLESS and served until 1946. Because logs of kings and ministers visiting the ship were not held for obvious reason, the tale goes that Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Stalin have prepared the Yalta convention on board DELPHINE.
After the war she was purchased again by the Dodge family from the Navy and mostly docked at the private pier at Rose Terrace Estate in Michigan. In 1968 she was sold by Ana Dodge to the Lundeberg Maryland Seamanship School where she served as a steam ship training vessel for 18 years.
Since 1986 she was then passed into the hands of a succession of owners and it was in the port of Marseille where her present owner spotted her in 1996, in a lamentable state.
Only after he had paid for the old Vessel he found out about her history and the decision was made to restore her. The investment was no less than 60M USD to breathe life back into this giant with the gentle name. The original contract price was 2 million USD which was the equivalent of 180 M USD. This illustrates the wealth of the owner at the time.
The owners daughter an art historian spent two years on and off visiting US Maritime and newspaper archives to find back the piece of the puzzle, how she looked in her original state.
Thanks to this tremendous investigation DELPHINE was brought back to almost her original design inside and out. Even the carpets were woven to exactly the same pattern.
The Queen of Super yachts was christened DELPHINE again in Monaco in 2003 by Princess Stéphanie of Monaco during the Monaco Classic Week.
Delphine received as only motor yacht the Throphée of La Belle Classe for restoring her as original as possible. She also received the Award for Best Refit during the Showboats Awards of 2004.
She is registered in Madeira and offered under the condition that the owner transfers upon delivery a Solas and Rinave Passenger Vessel Safety Certificate and all class surveys in place. The extra cost are staggering.
Out at sea and in full service she can take on board 26 passengers in 12 cabins with en-suite facilities. Between 28/32 crew take care of every possible wish. Coastal navigation can be done with up to 150 guests on board. There is a fully equipped gymnasium, hairdressing salon, music room with grand piano and a cigar room. The cabins are spacious with music and TV and yet fully in style. The al fresco dining table offers space for 70+ guests.
The two 1.500 Break horsepower Steam Engines are very quiet and give barely any trembling. The burners use 300 Lt / hour on longer passages which make her eco friendly as well. Her boilers are 14 ton / hour 20 Bar and one auxiliary boiler that runs the auxiliaries and produces steam to go to max. speed, a 4 ton / hour 20 Bar. From cold water to operational pressure can be done in a time between 15 minutes to 3 hours, the latter being the smarter way.
For maneuvering in port a standard electric bow thruster was installed and aft the vessel was equipped with a diesel, hydraulically driven unit that turns 360 degrees. She now handles like any other motor yacht.
Of all the American built steam ships SS DELPHINE is the only one left, still in her original condition and built between 1893 and 1930. Her steam engines are still original and in service.
Of the very few of hundreds of similar vessels left of American Yachting in fact is she is the single best example of a privately built luxury steam ship of the early 1920’s that is virtually in her original condition. Loosing her to the scrap yard would be a terrible loss to American history.
She is the true reflection of the lifestyle of the wealthy group of people that were part of the industrial revolution at the beginning of the 20th century. Together with the fact that she was the Flagship U.S.S. DAUNTLESS during WWII she has earned a special place in Maritime History. It is without doubt very much worth it to find a new owner or group of owners who feel that this piece of Maritime History should be preserved.
She has a track record of very successful charters and a combination of privately owned and commercial charter is a good opportunity to own her at a relatively low cost-
In Northrop and Johnson we are honored to present the owners of SS DELPHINE in the quest for a new owner. For any questions and comments please contact Central Agent: Joost Goverts
( credit to I. Bruynooghe “ chronicle of SS DELPHINE )
( credit to Boat International Media )
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