disallowing her tax claims for the big yacht, made a formal charge of fraud
against poor Mrs. Cadwalader for "overstating" her losses.
In March 1938,
after having been docked in Germany for close to five years, at an annual
lay-up maintenance cost of around $70,000, the Savarona was sold to the
Government of Turkey for $1 million. It was then presented to Turkey's
president, Kemal Ataturk, as a gift from the people. As Fortune magazine
commented: observers suddenly realized that the very notion of the Savarona had
always been pretty Turkish.
palace was not to venture very far from home waters, for the Mediterranean had
suddenly grown too dangerous for pleasurable cruising. As early as September
1937, Ambassador Davies and his wife, cruising the Mediterranean aboard Mrs.
Davies' Sea Cloud, had abruptly broken off their cruise in view of the many
"pirate submarines and anonymous destroyers" operating thereabout, and
quit the yacht at Monte Carlo.
Other bodies of
water were soon to become too dangerous for pleasurable cruising, including
society's hallowed Newport harbor, where a practice torpedo fired from a
submarine streaked off course and narrowly missed Nourmahal.
In September 1939,
Swedish Industrialist Axel Wenner-Gren, crossing the Atlantic aboard his
320-foot Southern Cross, picked up an S O S from the S.S. Athenia, first major
victim of Nazi warfare on the open seas. The Southern Cross, built by England's
Lord Inchcape and for several years owned but rarely used by Hollywood's Howard
Hughes, rescued nearly 400 of the liner's passengers under great
With the approach
of total war, many patriotically moved yacht owners, prodded by the government,
made their vessels available for wartime service. J. P. Morgan took the lead
and turned his Corsair over to the British early in 1940. Many big-yacht owners
made outright gifts of their vessels, only too glad to be rid of them; other
boats were acquired by purchase or lease.
One young naval
officer, taking command of one of the more famous vessels preliminary to its
conversion, had an unexpected hint of nautical hospitality revealed to him.
Lazing on the owner's ample bed, he inadvertently brushed his hand against one
of a pair of buttons above the headboard. His eyes opened wide as a section of
the side wall yawned and disgorged a well-stocked bar which rolled right up to
the bedside. Delighted with this convenience, he thumbed the second button. The
opposite wall yawned even wider, and his bed was silently and smoothly joined
by the one from the next room.
yachts, serving as coastal patrol craft, submarine chasers and weather
stations, acquitted themselves well; a few, such as H. E. Manville's handsome
Hi-Esmaro. sunk by Japanese bombs off the Solomons in 1943, nobly.
Few of the big
yachts were repossessed or commissioned after the war, and of those that were,
all have since gone into commercial work, to the scrap heap, to foreign
registry or, like J. P. Morgan's Corsair, which, only over his dead body, went
into luxury cruise service, to Davy Jones's locker.