USS Sabalo (SP-225)

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For other ships of the same name, see USS Sabalo.
Yacht Sabalo.jpg
Sabalo in use as a civilian yacht in 1916, prior to her U.S. Navy service.
United States
Name: USS Sabalo
Namesake: The sabalo, another name for the tarpon, a large, silvery game fish of the herring group, found in the warmer parts of the western Atlantic Ocean (Previous name retained)
Builder: George Lawley and Sons, Neponset, Massachusetts
Completed: 1916
Acquired: May 1917
Commissioned: 20 July 1917
Decommissioned: 3 March 1919
Identification: SP-225
Fate: Returned to owner 3 March 1919
Notes: Operated as civilian yacht Sabalo 1916-1917 and 1919-1931 and as Breezin' Thru 1931-1940
Name: Cougar
Namesake: The cougar, a large, solitary cat native to the Americas
Acquired: 1940
Commissioned: 11 September 1940
Decommissioned: 23 November 1945
Identification: pennant number: Z 15
Fate: Returned to owner 1946; sank September 1950
Notes: Breezin' Thru 1946-1950
General characteristics
Type: Patrol vessel
Tonnage: 204 gross tons
Length: 141 ft (43 m)
Beam: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)
Draft: 7 ft (2.1 m) mean
Speed: 14 knots
Complement: 12
  • 2 × 3-pounder guns
  • 1 × 6-pounder with Royal Canadian Navy

The first USS Sabalo (SP-225) was a United States Navy patrol vessel in commission from 1917 to 1919. Following World War I, Sabalo was sold to private interests before returning to service as a patrol vessel in World War II, this time with the Royal Canadian Navy. Returning to private ownership following the war, the vessel sank in a hurricane in 1950.

Construction, acquisition, and commissioning[edit]

Sabalo was built as a civilian motor yacht in 1916 by George Lawley and Sons at Neponset, Massachusetts. The U.S. Navy acquired her from her owner, Mr. W. Earl Dodge of New York City, in May 1917 for World War I service as a patrol vessel. She was commissioned on 20 July 1917 as USS Sabalo (SP-225).

United States Navy service[edit]

Assigned to the 3rd Naval District, Sabalo operated in the New York Harbor area on section patrol duty for the remainder of World War I.

Sabalo was decommissioned on 3 March 1919 and returned to Dodge the same day.


Dodge kept Sabalo in use as a pleasure yacht until 1921, when he sold her to Van Lear Black of Baltimore, Maryland. Franklin Roosevelt piloted the yacht as a guest of Black.[1] Black fell to his death off the aft deck in 1930. Black's estate in turn sold her in 1931 to the Albert Pack Corporation of Chicago, Illinois, which renamed her Breezin' Thru. In 1937, Leila Y. Post Montgomery of Battle Creek, Michigan, bought Breezin' Thru.

Royal Canadian Navy and postwar service[edit]

HMCS Cougar sometime between 1940 and 1945.

After failing to acquire any British vessels at the outset of the war for auxiliary purposes, the Royal Canadian Navy discreetly searched the American market for suitable ships. However, American law prevented the sale of ships for possible use in the war to any of the belligerents. The Canadian Navy, requisitioned unsuitable Canadian yachts and had their respective owners go the United States and buy those ships the Navy wanted as replacements. Once the ships arrived in Canada, the navy then returned the original yachts and requisitioned the new ones.[2] The Royal Canadian Navy acquired Breezin' Thru in 1940 after she was sold to Bearl Sprott Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Once the vessel had arrived on the west coast of Canada, she was rearmed with 1 6-pounder gun at the bow. The ship was renamed Cougar and commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy on 11 September 1940 with the pennant number Z 15. After commissioning, Cougar had a quiet career on the west coast, initially placed on antisubmarine patrol out of Esquimalt, British Columbia. In May 1942 she was transferred to Prince Rupert Force, based at Prince Rupert, British Columbia. She returned to Esquimalt in June 1944, where she served as an examination vessel.[3]

HMCS Cougar in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, ca. December 1940.

Once again named Breezin' Thru, she operated as a pleasure yacht until sunk during a hurricane at Kingston, Jamaica, in September 1950.


  1. ^ Rollins, p.179
  2. ^ Macpherson & Barrie, p.204
  3. ^ Macpherson & Barrie, p.206