Vamoose (steamship)

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Negative image of the Vamoose taken in 1891
Name: Vamoose
Owner: William Randolph Hearst
Route: coastal San Francisco Bay, Key West, Florida
Ordered: Winter 1890
Builder: Nathanael Greene Herreshoff[1]
Cost: 65,000 usd[2]
General characteristics
Class and type: coastal steamship
Length: 109.4 ft (33 m)[2]
Installed power: 875 Horse power[2]
Propulsion: quadruple expansion steam engine[1]
Speed: {23.5 knots}[1]

Vamoose was an early steam powered yacht built for William Randolph Hearst by Nathaniel Greene Herreshoff at the Herreshoff shipyard based on a torpedo boat design. The Vamoose was noted for its power and function over form design aesthetic rare among yachts of the time.[2]

Design and construction[edit]

The Vamoose was commissioned by a young William Randolph Hearst in the winter of 1890. Lead engineer Nathaniel Herreshoff incorporated many technologies from the USS Cushing torpedo boat originally developed for the US Navy. The focus of the design was speed above all else, thus an 875-horsepower quadruple expansion steam engine was chosen to power the Vamoose. The aerodynamics were aided by a sleek torpedo style hull shape and lack of sails which allowed the Vamoose to achieve a top speed of 23.5 knots.


The Vamoose was transported across the Isthmus of Panama on a specially designed crib spanning three railroad cars though was refused final transport to the Pacific and onto San Francisco Bay due to an argument with the owner of the railroad stemming from an unkind review written in Hearst's San Francisco Examiner. Thus the Vamoose was shipped back to New York where it entered service primarily to compete in races at the local yacht club.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Simpson pp. 103
  2. ^ a b c d Whyte pp. 80
  3. ^ Whyte pp. 81


  • Simpson, Richard V. (31 July 2007). Herreshoff Yachts: Seven Generations of Industrialists, Inventors and Ingenuity in Bristol. The History Press. ISBN 978-1596293069. Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  • Whyte, Kenneth (8 December 2009). The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst. Counterpoint. p. 512. ISBN 978-1582435541. Retrieved 11 April 2014.