USS Aphrodite (SP-135)

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USS Aphrodite (SP-135).jpg
USS Aphrodite at sea during World War I.
United States
Name: USS Aphrodite
Namesake: Aphrodite, The goddess of love and fertility in Greek mythology (previous name retained)
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Launched: 1 December 1898
Sponsored by: Miss. Vivien Scott
Completed: 1899
Acquired: 11 May 1917
Commissioned: 5 June 1917
Decommissioned: 12 July 1919
Fate: Returned to owner 12 July 1919
Notes: Operated as private yacht Aphrodite 1899-1917 and from 1919
General characteristics
Type: Patrol vessel
Displacement: 1,500 tons
Length: 302 ft (92 m)
Beam: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
Draft: Approximately 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m) (aft)
Speed: 15 knots
Complement: 68

USS Aphrodite (SP-135) was an armed yacht that served in the United States Navy as a patrol vessel from 1917 to 1919.


SS Aphrodite as a private yacht sometime between 1899 and 1917.

Aphrodite was built for Colonel Oliver H. Payne of New York City as a civilian yacht in 1899 by Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine. The contract for the yacht was signed in January 1898 with construction of a ship shed in which to build started a month later, the keel laid in June with the hull launched and christened on 1 December 1898 Aphrodite by Miss. Vivien Scott, the daughter of the yacht's commander, Captain C. W. Scott.[1]

As built specifications include: length overall, including bowsprit 344 feet (104.9 m), length overall, hull 303 feet (92.4 m), beam, molded 35 feet 6 inches (10.8 m), depth, side, molded 35 feet 6 inches (10.8 m), normal cruising draft 15 feet (4.6 m), loaded draft 16 feet (4.9 m), gross tonnage Custom House Measurement 1,148.[1] The hull was divided from main deck down by seven watertight steel bulkheads athwart ship and two similar bulkheads extending from lower deck down to divide the vessel into eighteen water tight compartments.[1] A vertical triple expansion steam engine with cylinders of 28 inches (71.1 cm), 43.25 inches (109.9 cm) and 70 inches (177.8 cm) with a stroke of 38 inches (96.5 cm) was designed for 3,200 horsepower at about 132 revolutions drove a four bladed right hand bronze propeller cast as a single piece.[1]

Contract speed was 15 knots with trials in a snowstorm producing a mean speed of 15.53 knots including slowdowns and 16.8 knots excluding slowdowns even though hull cementing had not been completed for best speeds.[1] Cabin finishing joiner work, hull cementing and final touches were done in New York.[1] Coal bunkers were sufficient for an Atlantic crossing at a steady 15 knots.[1] Cost of the yacht were about $450,000 for construction and $10,000 per month operating expenses.[1]

Navy service[edit]

USS Aphrodite photographed astern of another converted yacht while escorting a convoy during World War I.

The U.S. Navy acquired her from her owner, Colonel O. H. Payne of New York City, on 11 May 1917 for use as a patrol vessel during World War I. She was commissioned at New York City on 5 June 1917 as USS Aphrodite (SP-135) with Lieutenant Commander Ralph P. Craft in command.

On 14 June 1917, Aphrodite set out for Europe in the escort of the first convoy carrying elements of the American Expeditionary Force to the battlefields in France. She arrived at St. Nazaire, France, on 27 June 1917.

Aphrodite then began patrol duties in the Bay of Biscay, escorting coastwise convoys and meeting inbound convoys from the United States and seeing them into the French ports of Brest, Le Verdon-sur-Mer, or St. Nazaire. On 16 February 1918, she was reassigned to the base located at Rochefort, France, from which she served as an offshore escort until March 1918.

On 28 March 1918, Aphrodite was assigned to Division 7, Squadron 3, Patrol Force, based at Le Verdon-sur-Mer. She served as a convoy escort along the French coast for the remainder of the war.

After the Armistice with Germany of 11 November 1918 ended hostilities, Aphrodite served as a station ship at Harwich and Portland in England, and later at Hamburg, Germany.

Aphrodite returned to the United States at New York City on 29 June 1919. She was decommissioned at the Fleet Supply Base at Brooklyn, New York, on 12 July 1919 and returned to her owner the same day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Fairburn, William A. (1899). "Full Powered Sea-Going Steam Yacht Aphrodite For Col. Oliver H. Payne, Of New York". Marine Engineering. Aldrich & Donaldson. 3 (June 1899): 10–13. Retrieved 14 October 2014.