I’ m doing research work on presidential yachts that are still in existence. In La Spezia, Italy, USS Williamsburg lays afloat rusting away, and I think it’s an outrageous fortune for such a historic landmark that witnessed so many events, talks, undertakings that are still affecting our present history. My research shows that USS Potomac in Oakland, Ca., and USS Sequoia, in Washington, DC, have survived, and that both are still in operational condition thanks to the good will, dedication and entrepreneurship of men and institutions that care for the preservation of American heritage, and that succeeded in turning them into services to the community and to foreign tourism.From my research it appears that what is now is a ghost of USS Williamsburg has been listed worldwide at prices ranging from 7.142 to 20 million euros, so high and with so much difference between extremes that this leads me to believe that incorrect and/or misleading information has been circulated so to affect the financial possibilities to repair and refit this ship at a price that, no matter how important this historic landmark is, has to be, above all, fairly reasonable. My question are: 1) why this important historical landmark did not arise in the US the same attention and enthusiasm as her predecessors Potomac and Sequoia?, and:2) would a clarification on the sale price of USS Williamsburg help American institutions and/or some patriotic entrepreneurs of good will decide that this, third and the last, “floating White House” should not be lost forever? On June 2 and 3 instant an event is scheduled in La Spezia by the Amateur Radio Station of Fidenza (Parma), Italy (http://www.arifidenza.it/LaSezione/Williamsburg2012/WilliamsburgIta.asp) in connection with the "Museum Ships Weekend Event ", in cooperation with the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS) (www.nj2bb.org) and others. The full document in English: http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?344506-Special-Event-USS-WILLIAMSBURG-back-quot-ON-AIR-quot-! In 2009 the Italian writer Marco Buticchi of La Spezia took inspiration from USS Williamsburg to write a fiction novel published by the Italian publishing house Longanesi. Here http://www.ibs.it/code/9788830427235/buticchi-marco/respiro-del-deserto.html you can find a review of his book and a video showing him aboard the ship presenting his work, “Il respiro del deserto (The Breath of the Desert)”. You can use Google Translator to get a reasonable translation of this book review. Thanks for your attention.
I used to work on the sequoia from time to time. Unfortunately it isnt getting the attention it used to.
I just checked www.yachtworld.com to see if the listing for her was still active but no longer can find it. She was listed previously there at $10M US which was outrageous considering the similar DELPHINE can be purchased for about $50M fully restored.
It might sadly be that the owners gave up trying to find a deep pocketed buyer and have sent her to be scrapped? Such would be a very sad but very common fate for many irreplacable vintage vessels these days. In the past 10 years I have witnessed one classic old steamer or motorship after another sent to Alang or Bangladesh. The MS AUGUSTUS was just the latest to vanish from the face of the planet.
It will be interesting to see what will happen to the SS United States. Wow, what a liner! She did 25 kts during sea trials - full astern.
She is already dead and has been since 1968…the body was embalmed & ever since the ship has lay in a state slow but steady decay but no embalmed body can be preserved forever.
Mark my words that the SSUS will be scrapped within the next two years.
MARAD should buy it and make it the new Kingspointer
Sent from my Sound Powered Phone
Irony of ironies that this was released the same day:
Prominent Individuals Will Help Select Developer for America’s Flagship
As momentum continues to build for the effort to save and redevelop America’s national flagship, the SS United States, the owners of the historic ship, the SS United States Conservancy, has announced the formation of a group of prominent individuals to provide expert counsel for the unique preservation and redevelopment project. The Blue Riband Panel, named after the maritime distinction held by the United States as the world’s transatlantic speed record holder, will be part of the Conservancy’s growing Redevelopment Project team.
The Redevelopment Project is currently executing an aggressive process this year to identify and contract with a developer committed to helping the Conservancy realize its vision of transforming the historic vessel into a stationary, mixed-use destination. In April, a Request for Qualifications was released to over 200 real estate development, architecture, hospitality, and other organizations, advising them of the process to identify that development partner. Due to significant interest from the development community, the deadline for RFQ submissions was recently extended to June 1, 2012.
The RFQ will be followed by a Request for Proposals in June to a select group of respondents. Interest has been robust and the Redevelopment Project expects to be negotiating terms of a redevelopment contract by the end of 2012.
The members of the new Blue Riband Panel will assess development proposals and offer expert opinions on their strengths and weaknesses to the Conservancy. Founding Members of the Blue Riband Panel include:
• Laurie Beckelman, Principal of Beckelman + Capalino and former Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
• Stephanie Cuba, Principal at CC Strategies, LLC and former Senior Development Director of AvalonBay Communities
• Kevin Billings, Director, Federal Energy Efficiency programs for Lockheed Martin and former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force
• Jonathan Fanton, FDR Visiting Fellow at Roosevelt House and former President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
• Stephen Lash, the Chairman Emeritus of Christie’s Americas and founder, Ocean Liner Museum
“It will be an honor to work with these prominent leaders, each of whom has demonstrated a strong commitment to preserving and successfully redeveloping the SS United States,” said Dan McSweeney, managing director of the Redevelopment Project. “Their diverse experience and expertise is a great resource for our efforts during this 60th anniversary year of the ship’s maiden voyage.”
“Each of these individuals brings a wealth of knowledge to our mission to save and repurpose this symbol of American pride and patriotism,” states Susan Gibbs, the Conservancy’s executive director. “This panel will help to ensure that our future development partners contribute the same vision, energy and innovation that characterized the ship’s initial design."
For more information about the SS United States Redevelopment Project, the new Blue Riband Panel and the development process visit www.SSUSRedevelopment.com.
Of course this is all the stuff of dreams and fantasies. Even if it were to come to pass, there is no interior in the ship…just bare steel decks and bulkheads. A restoration of the exterior alone would cost tens of millions and the interior hundred of millions. There is NO MONEY for such a project nor will their every be unless the Chinese cough it up and why ever on earth would they want to do that?
Btw, this is that corpse of a ship as she sits today…“She’s dead Jim!”
NO WAY, NO HOW, NO SHIT! ALL OF THIS EFFING NONSENSE NEEDS TO COME TO AN END AND THE SHIP NEEDS TO GO TO BROWNSVILLE AND JUST MAKE THE HULK GO AWAY FOREVER. THIS IS REALLY A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT!
I’m old enough to have made a westbound crossing on SS United States as a youthful passenger. That is one voyage that I would love to do again. The last time I saw her I was in 1987 when I was passing through Norfolk, and she was in mothballs.
My screensaver is of live steam coming out of her horn when we came into NY harbor. The stack was nicely painted then - sad to see her now.
I thought the SS US was sold to be a reef like the big “O”.
[QUOTE=AB Murph;69513]I thought the SS US was sold to be a reef like the big “O”.[/QUOTE]
I believe that the reason the hull is still around is that no one wants to have the blame for being the one who killed the dream that she would sail again someday. Do you realize that vessel is now 70 years old has not has steam up since 1968? It will never be and the idea of her becoming some tourist attraction is just nonsense. Such a plan would have to make commercial sense and that is more ridiculous than any stupid idea ever thought up. Even the QUEEN MARY has not been a commercial success over the years but has been at least viable enough to not scrap and she did not require a full refit of her interior before she was opened as a hotel and convention center.
As far as turning SSUS into a reef, that is something only the Federal government would do. With present scrap prices, there is a lot of money to be made in cutting her up.
One of the spookiest things I ever saw at sea was the SSUS. We overtook her on the quarter while she was under tow across the Atlantic in the early 90’s. About 0200, no lights whatsoever, she was spotlighted and backlit by lights on the tug, which was hull down and invisible. So just the silhouette was visible against this mysterious dim skyglow. We got closer and all had a big laugh. But for 5 mins or so there, you could have heard a pin drop on the bridge,and if someone had said “boo” we’d have all jumped right out of our skins.
Here is the link to the video I posted yesterday May 15. An overview on USS Potomac and Sequoia, that are enjoying good health, as compared to USS Williamsburg’s now. Enjoy ! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4_ViPgKHBE
[QUOTE=c.captain;69234]I just checked www.yachtworld.com to see if the listing for her was still active but no longer can find it. She was listed previously there at $10M US which was outrageous considering the similar DELPHINE can be purchased for about $50M fully restored.
It might sadly be that the owners gave up trying to find a deep pocketed buyer and have sent her to be scrapped? Such would be a very sad but very common fate for many irreplacable vintage vessels these days. In the past 10 years I have witnessed one classic old steamer or motorship after another sent to Alang or Bangladesh. The MS AUGUSTUS was just the latest to vanish from the face of the planet.[/QUOTE]
Here is the listing. http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/boatMergedDetails.jsp?boat_id=1603111&checked_boats=1603111&ybw=&units=Feet¤cy=USD&access=Public&listing_id=74924&url=
test test test…
test test test 2…
A.R.I. Fidenza Radio Club ( A.R.I. affiliated , Italian Association of Radio Amateurs) of Fidenza (PR), Italy (JN54BU), realized a technical and cultural Event La Spezia, Italy (JN44WC) on the 2nd and 3rd of June 2012. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUh1MVtqmgY
Our aim is to highlight internationally the historical value of the United States Presidential yacht “USS Williamsburg” which was used by Presidents Truman and Eisenhower and urrently remains in appalling conditions at a shipyard in La Spezia , Italy .
( continues here: http://www.arifidenza.it/LaSezione/Williamsburg2012/WilliamsburgEn.asp)
By way of an update to this thread: The USS Williamsburg is now being offered as a refit project by Camper & Nicholsons International. I have visited the vessel a few times, she is in a serious state of disrepair but there is still time to save her. The owners, NavalMare of La Spezia, are keeping her afloat and have put together a restoration project in collaboration with Studio Faggioni, who were major players in the refit of “Lulworth” and other classic yachts (albeit smaller than the “Williamsburg”).
As noted in a previous post, prices quoted for the “Williamsburg” vary greatly depending on where you look online. The reason for this may partly be due to misinformed posters, but I believe that the lower prices in the region of €10m are for purchase of the vessel, lifting it and making the hull sound. This is a huge project as you can imagine.
The entire refit project is quoted at USD 55,500,000. This would be with interiors of modern super yacht quality, Studio Faggioni have designed some very classic interiors that seem appropriate for the age and heritage of the vessel, but of course a buyer may prefer to use his own designer. Green Yachts have an interesting design to modernise the “Williamsburg” and I am sure that the owners would be happy to look at that. The important thing is to find a buyer and, in the first instance, secure the hull.
Feel free to contact me at any time for further details.