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EL PRIMERO was built in 1893 for Edward Hopkins by the Union Iron Works in San Francisco at a cost of $250,000 at that time. The luxury yacht was built of steel and finished in teak, English pecan and white mahogany. She was rated the First Rank and the only vessel so rated on the West Coast. She is 137 feet long with an 18 foot mid beam and was equipped with a triple expansion steam engine of 225 HP. EL PRIMERO had a crew of ten and had quarter for twenty-two persons. There were six magnificent staterooms with double beds, washstands and toilet accessories. The Master bedroom had a fireplace. Electric bells and speaking tubes were throughout the yacht.
EL PRIMERO was docked in winter at Antioch, California with her live-aboard captain. She was sold to Chester Thorne of Tacoma, Washington in 1906. Mr Thorne lost her in 1911 in a game of chances to Sidney A. (Sam ) Perkins, a well know newspaper publisher, banker and steamship executive. “Sam” Perkins entertained many notables on the yacht. Among them were U.S. Presidents Taft, Harding, Teddy Roosevelt and Hoover. Also the guest list included Randolph Hearst and family, Babe Ruth, famous entertainers and a claim that more gold braid came aboard than on any ship in the U.S. Navy. EL PRIMERO served in World War II as a naval patrol vessel and was returned to Commodore Perkins in 1947. When S. A. Perkins died at the age of 90 in 1955, he had owned the EL PRIMERO for 44 years. Now the oldest yach in the world is back to Tacoma. It's parked in front Foss Waterway Seaport museum.