Many thanks to Allen Briggs for sending a photocopy of this article about Savarona, published in The Rudder in August 1936. The complete, unedited article is reproduced below. We have maintained the article’s original spelling and punctuation. The article had no byline.
The Rudder, The Magazine for Yachtsmen, appeared in 1891 and continued publishing until about the mid-1980s. Although it occasionally had articles about spectacular yachts such as Savarona, the magazine was credited for bringing boating to a wider audience.
Savarona—America’s Largest Yacht
Text taken from the August 1936 issue of The Rudder, pages 14-15
Savarona is the largest yacht under the American flag and is on the three largest yachts in the world being only exceeded by the British and Italian royal yachts Victoria and Albert and Savoia. She measures 406 feet overall and has a gross tonnage of 4,646.29 tons, exceeding that of many ocean-going commercial vessels.
Her construction, equipment and accommodation equals in every respect that found in the most modern transatlantic passenger liners of today and that is what Savarona really is—a full powered liner for private use. Imagine if you will a small edition of a modern “ocean greyhound” with yacht-like lines and you have an adequate conception of Savarona.
The yacht is owned by Savorana Ship Corporation of New York, New York, and was designed by William Francis Gibbs of New York City, well known big ship designer. She was built by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg, Germany, in 1931 and since her launch has cruised many thousand of miles in several oceans.
The dimensions of the vessel are: Length overall 407 feet 10 inches, beam moulded 52 feet 9 inches, maximum draft 20 feet 5 inches, normal draft 19 feet 2 inches.
The displacement exceeds 6,100 tons and her net and gross tonnage are 1,501 and 4,646.9 respectively. Savarona’s construction throughout is not only to Lloyd’s highest class a commercial ocean-going express passenger vessel but she also complies with the full regulations of the British Board of Trade, interpreted as they would apply to a commercial express passenger vessel.
She complies with the general rules and regulations prescribed by the Board of Supervising Inspectors of the Steamboat Inspection Service in the United States and meets the full requirements of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, London, 1929, and the report of the British Bulkhead Committee. The vessel has eleven watertight bulkheads, all of which are carried up to the shelter deck, with the result that any three adjacent compartments may be flooded and the vessel with still remain afloat. All watertight doors are hydraulically operated, with control from the bridge. Escape stairways from all living compartments of the yacht are provided so that when watertight doors are closed and independent escape stairway is available to the deck.
Savarona’s main engines consist of six geared turbines, twin-screw, high pressure type, in accordance with the latest practice in North Atlantic express liners. Steam is supplied by four oil-fired high pressure water tube boilers in two independent firerooms in separate watertight compartments. The bunker capacity is slightly over 1,000 tons of fuel oil and with this supply Savarona can cruise 6,000 miles at eighteen knots. At seventeen and one-half knots her cruising radius is approximately 7,500 miles and she has a range of 11,500 miles at thirteen and one-half knots. She has a sustained sea speed of eighteen knots and has successfully maintained this speed on transatlantic passages in heavy weather. She is said to be vibrationless at all speeds and her fuel consumption is unusually low.
Needless to say Savarona is fitted with every modern luxury and convenience and has in addition to the owner’s apartment consisting of bedrooms, sitting rooms and baths, twelve staterooms, each with private bath or shower. The accommodations further include a dining saloon, approximately thirty-one feet by twenty-six feet; smoking room approximately fifteen feet by twenty feet; card room about thirteen feet square; sun room approximately thirty-five feet by twenty-four feet; living room measuring thirty-two feet by twenty-eight feet; lounge twenty-three feet by twenty-four feet and a veranda. In addition there are four rooms with connecting baths for maids and valets, maids’ sitting room and so on. While the rooms are luxuriously appointed they are not ostentatiously embellished and gaudiness has been avoided.
The entire living quarters and passages of the vessel are heated with a steam heating system, providing a temperature in the quarters of seventy degrees when the temperature outside is fifteen degrees Fahrenheit. The ventilation system is adequate and consists of mechanical supply and exhaust and natural supply and exhaust, providing a complete change of about fifteen times per hour in the owner’s and guests’ accommodation as well as in the crew’s quarters and covered deck spaces. In the galleys the air is changed at about twice that rate.
She has of course most up-to-date galley and pantry equipment as well as refrigerated and dry stores spaces, machine shop, etc. She is fitted with fire screen bulkheads, generally arranged to isolate fire and is also fitted with a complete C-O-Two extinguishing system in the engine and boiler rooms as well as a sprinkler system to protect the holds, dry stores, trunk rooms and similar spaces. There is also a complete fire main system throughout the vessel.
Savarona’s radio equipment leaves little to be desired as she has a regular transmitter, a short wave transmitter, one emergency transmitter, one intermediate frequency ship receiver and one high frequency receiver. According to weather conditions there is unlimited range of transmission and reception on the short wave sets, while on the intermediate wave sets the transmission and reception range is from 3,500 miles up. The navigating equipment of Savarona consists of all the latest appliances, including Fathometer, gyro-compass and automatic steering, radio direction finder, submarine signal apparatus, and so on, and the equipment is at least equal to that round in the majority of the express transatlantic passenger liners.
The small boat equipment of the vessel is quite complete. She has a thirty foot cabin launch of the sedan type powered with a six-cylinder 100 hp. gasoline engine, a fishing launch twenty eight feet overall, powered with two fifty hp. gasoline motors and a crew’s launch thirty feet overall, powered with a fifty hp. gasoline motor. All are handled with mechanically operated boat davits, with electric hoisting gear. There are also four lifeboats of the metallic type, each twenty-four feet long, carried two on a side. These meet with all the requirements of the U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service and the British Board of Trade.
Savarona’s normal crew numbers about eighty-three men who are berthed in suitable accommodation, with every convenience, including a hospital.
While not often seen on the American coast, Savarona is a familiar sight in West Indian waters and she has cruised extensively in this region from South America to Bermuda. Since her launch she has made several transatlantic crossings, and has circled the continent of South America. During all her time at sea she has proven and admirable seagoing vessel under all weather conditions and all speeds. She has proven most comfortable in a seaway and has the advantage of a Sperry gyro-stabilizer which was operated most satisfactorily and minimizes rolling.