USS Phenakite

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Yacht Celt, USS Sachem, USS Phenakite.jpg
USS Phenakite prior to WWI
Career (US)
Name: Celt
Owner: J. Rogers Maxwell
Launched: 12 April 1902
Fate: transfered to USN 3 July 1917
Career (US)
Name: USS Sachem (SP 192)
Acquired: 3 July 1917
Fate: transfered back to owner 10 February 1919
Career (US)
Owner: Manton B. Metcalf
Acquired: 10 February 1919
Fate: sold to Jacob "Jake" Martin and converted to a fishing boat 1932
Career (US)
Owner: Jacob "Jake" Martin
Acquired: 1932
Fate: reacquired by the Navy 17 February 1942 for $65,000 and converted for Naval service at Robert Jacobs Inc., City Island, NY
Career (US)
Name: USS Phenakite (PYc-25)
Builder: Robert Jacobs Inc., City Island, NY
Cost: $65,000
Acquired: 17 February 1942
Commissioned: 1 July 1942 at Tompkinsville, NY
Decommissioned: 17 November 1944
Fate: transfered to the Maritime Commission for disposal 5 November 1945
Career (US)
Name: USS Phenakite (PYc-25)
Owner: Maritime Commission
Acquired: 5 November 1945
Fate: returned to her original owner, Mr. J. Martin of Brooklyn, NY and renamed Sachem on 29 December 1945
Career (US)
Name: Sachem
Owner: J. Martin
Acquired: 29 December 1945
Fate: subsequently resold to the Circle Line of New York City and renamed Sightseer
Career (US)
Name: Sightseer
Owner: Circle Line of New York City

Renamed Circle Line V
Reportedly scrapped in 1984
Found abandoned outside of Lawrenceburg, Indiana on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River

Presently under the custody of the D'Andrea LaRosa Art Foundation.
General characteristics [1][2]
Displacement: 317 long tons (322 t)
360 long tons (370 t) (1942)
Length: 186 ft 3 in (56.77 m)
183 ft (56 m) (1942)
Beam: 22 ft 6 in (6.86 m)
Draft: 8 ft (2.4 m)
9 ft 7 in (2.92 m) (1942)
Installed power: 1,200 shp (890 kW)
805 shp (600 kW) (1936)
Propulsion: vericle triple-expansion steam engine, one shaft
7-cylinder Fairbanks-Morse 37D 14 diesel engine (1936)
Speed: 15 kn (17 mph; 28 km/h)
13.5 kn (15.5 mph; 25.0 km/h) (1942)

The USS Phenakite was a converted yacht that was used by the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945. It was also known as Celt, Sachem (SP-192), Sightseer and Circle Line V.


The Phenakite was built 1902 as the yacht Celt by Pusey and Jones, Wilmington, Delaware, for J. Rogers Maxwell, a railroad executive.[2] It was launched on April 12, 1902.

Shortly after the United States entry in to the First World War, it was acquired by the Navy on July 3, 1917.[2] It was placed in service as USS Sachem (SP 192) on August 19, 1917 and used as a Coastal Patrol Yacht. During its Navy service, it was loaned to inventor Thomas Edison who conducted government funded experiments with it.

After the end of World War I, the Sachem was returned to her owner, Manton B. Metcalf of New York, on February 10, 1919.[2] It was later sold to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor and then to Jacob "Jake" Martin of Brooklyn, New York in 1932 who converted it to a fishing boat.

It was reacquired by the Navy on February 17, 1942 for $65,000 and converted for naval service at Robert Jacobs Inc., City Island, New York.[2] It was commissioned as USS Phenakite (PYc-25), July 1, 1942 at Tompkinsville, New York and patrolled the waters off of the Florida Keys during World War II. It was decommissioned to undergo modifications and placed back in service on November 17, 1944. It was used for testing sonar systems before being placed out of service on October 2, 1945 at Tompkinsville, and transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal on November 5, 1945.

The vessel was then returned to her previous owner, Martin, and renamed Sachem on December 29, 1945.[2] It was struck from the Naval Register February 7, 1946. It was subsequently resold to the Circle Line of New York City and renamed Sightseer, but was later renamed Circle Line V. It served as a tour boat until 1983. It appeared in Madonna's Papa Don't Preach video in 1986.

It was purchased by Robert Miller in 1986.

Present location[edit]

The Circle Line V was reportedly scrapped in 1984 but was found abandoned outside of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, where it has reportedly been since 1987.[2] It is a popular destination for kayak enthusiasts in the Cincinnati area and is commonly referred to as "The Ghost Ship"[3] [4]


For her service in the Navy, the Sachem / Phenakite earned the following awards:


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°04′52.40″N 84°50′55.16″W / 39.0812222°N 84.8486556°W / 39.0812222; -84.8486556