The story of the iconic classic yacht SS Delphine


The iconic yacht S.S. Delphine reached a major milestone, celebrating its 100th anniversary in April 2021. But there are many other accolades besides ringing in its centenary year that make 78 meters S.S. Delphine so remarkable. From hosting heads of state as they negotiated peace treaties to running on her original steam engines to this day, this yacht is a true icon.

Delivered in 1921 S.S. Delphine was built for Horace Dodge

“She is the only superyacht in the world still in operation today with her quadruple expansion steam engines,” says Emmanuel R Buetss, S.S. Delphine Manager. The classic yacht was originally fitted with Babcock & Wilcoz triple boilers, powering her two 1,500 horsepower steam engines. The engine room was updated during a refit in 2003 and fitted with two modern water tube boilers, which now power the original engines.

The classic yacht S.S. Delphine was built for Horace Dodge, co-founder of the Dodge Brothers automaker in America. She was launched in 1921 at Great Lakes Engineering Works. At the time of her launch, she had the largest gross tonnage of any yacht in America. Shortly after, in 1926, it was nearly destroyed after catching fire and sinking in New York. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, she was saved and restored to live another day.

The yacht was christened USS Dauntless by the US Navy

In 1942, S.S. Delphine was requisitioned by the US Navy and christened the USS Dauntless, serving as the flagship of Navy Commander Admiral Ernest King during World War II. During her time as an Admiralty ship she hosted US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Vice President Harry S Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian diplomat Vyacheslav Molotov in preparation for the conference of Yalta, which determined the post-war reorganization of Europe.

The yacht’s 1921 Tiffany decor has been retained where possible

“The privileged status of having been Admiral Ernest King’s ship certainly helped her avoid the unfortunate fate of other steamships that did not survive the war, enabling her to delight us today with its original splendour,” says Buetss.

After World War II, it was returned to the Dodge family. Over the next five decades it changed hands several times. In 1997 she was in poor condition and her next owner paid a pittance for the iconic yacht, but invested a princely sum of 45 million euros to restore her to her former glory during a five-year restoration project. years. The refit has restored its original layout and design.

S.S. Delphine underwent a 45 million euro restoration to restore it to its former glory

“That’s why sailing aboard the S.S. Delphine is not only a maritime journey, but above all a journey through time that takes us back to the Belle Époque of the 1920s in the decorations, sculptures, wall patterns and carpets that are exact replicas of the 1921 plans”, explains Buetss.

In September 2003, S.S. Delphine was renamed by HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco. The current owners purchased the vessel in 2015, and she is now offered for exclusive events and charters in the Mediterranean. It can accommodate up to 26 people overnight and 150 people during the day.

The yacht can accommodate 150 guests for one-day events

The iconic yacht S.S. Delphine is now equipped with all the modern comforts one would expect from a charter yacht, including a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, gym, swimming pool and even a hair salon. But despite these updates, it still has a beautifully old soul. S.S. Delphine retained as much of its 1921 Tiffany decor as possible, including its dining room, lounges, and suites.

“Sailing on S.S. Delphine is not only a visual pleasure but also the opportunity to enjoy a steam engine which, beyond its timeless aesthetics, also offers a unique comfort without noise and without vibration forgotten by the hectic modern machines”, declares Buetss.


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