The presidential yacht Sequoia, saved by a trust from becoming a floating nightclub, underwent trials in the Elizabeth River today to check its seaworthiness after a $2-million stem-to-stern refurbishing.
If the 104-foot yacht passes its sea trials, it will sail June 27 to New York to participate in the Fourth of July rededication of the Statue of Liberty.
The 61-year-old Sequoia spent its early years chasing rum runners on the Mississippi River and became the presidential yacht during the Herbert Hoover Administration.
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill cruised on it in Chesapeake Bay; Lyndon B. Johnson had to have the shower stall floor lowered to accommodate his tall frame and John F. Kennedy had a king-sized bed installed.
Richard M. Nixon cruised aboard the Sequoia frequently and Gerald R. Ford used it occasionally, but Jimmy Carter had no use for it and the yacht was sold during his Administration.
The Sequoia, which was nearly converted into a floating nightclub in Florida, is now owned by the Presidential Yacht Trust, a non-profit organization that has raised money to underwrite the cost of the renovation and future operating costs.
The trust will turn the Sequoia back over to the Navy in 1988 for use as the official presidential yacht.