BELFAST, Maine (AP) — A private shipyard is preparing for a painstaking stem-to-stern restoration of a floating piece of presidential history.

The Sequoia is a 1925 motor yacht that served eight presidents before being sold by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

French & Webb, a custom boat building company, was tapped for the restoration by the current owner. Strict guidelines must be followed because the vessel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s slowly happening, but the needle is moving,” Todd French told the Bangor Daily News.

For now, the 104-foot vessel remains under a white tarp. Behind the scenes, workers have created a three-dimensional model because the original design plans couldn’t be found, and assembled materials including longleaf pine from the Southeast and white oak from Denmark.

Once the physical work begins, likely in the spring, the restoration of the Sequoia should be a three-year project, he said.

Over the years, several different vessels have served as a floating White House for presidents.

The Sequoia was designed by a Norwegian-born naval architect and went through a couple of owners before going up for sale following the stock market crash of 1929.

President Herbert Hoover encouraged the Navy to buy the vessel, and began using it as a presidential yacht.

This Sequoia holds plenty of presidential history: John Kennedy celebrated his last birthday aboard the vessel; Harry Truman held atomic arms talks with the leaders of Canada and Great Britain after World War II; and Richard Nixon hosted Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

The vessel, which is owned by FE Partners LLC, a private investment firm based Washington, D.C., has been in Belfast since 2019. The pandemic delayed the start of work.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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