Tales of the Sea Cloud

Luxury Yacht, Integrated Naval Vessel, Legendary Ship

978-1-62349-934-1 Hardcover (Printed Case)
6 x 9 in
256 pp. 66 b&w photos. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 01/15/2021
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The Hussar V was launched in the early 1930s, first built for Marjorie Merriweather Post, owner of General Foods and heir to the Post Cereals fortune. By 1935, when Post married Joseph Davies, US ambassador to the Soviet Union, the ship was renamed Sea Cloud, the name it holds to this day. Soon after the nation entered World War II, the ship was partnered with the military as a weather ship under the command of Lt. Carlton Skinner.

Tales of the Sea Cloud tells the story of a luxury yacht that became a remarkable wartime experiment in racial integration. After having witnessed an African American sailor be denied a promotion because of the limits of segregation, Skinner proposed to the commandant of the Coast Guard a plan to sail with a fully integrated crew. Ultimately, eighty black sailors, including four officers, were stationed on the Sea Cloud. Skinner’s experiment demonstrated that an integrated crew could work just as, or even more, efficiently as a segregated one and set an important precedent for later civil rights reforms.  

Author Ken W. Sayers takes readers on the full journey of the Sea Cloud, from its beginnings with the multimillionaire Hutton family, its wartime involvement, and its postwar ownership by Rafael Trujillo—soon-to-be assassinated dictator of the Dominican Republic—to its use as a commercial cruise ship in Panama, its near-disastrous physical deterioration and restoration, and on to the present day as a luxury charter sailing yacht. Readers will be captivated by the fascinating story of this historic vessel.

Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press