USS Phenakite

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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. It was launched on 12 April 1902.

Shortly after the United States entry in to the First World War, it was acquired by the U.S. Navy 3 July 1917. It was placed in service as USS Sachem (SP 192) on 19 August 1917 and used as a Coastal Patrol Yacht.[1] 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, 10 February 1919. It was sold to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor. Resold in 1932 to Jacob "Jake" Martin who converted it to a fishing boat.[1]

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

The vessel was then returned to her previous owner, Mr. J. Martin of Brooklyn, NY and renamed Sachem on 29 December 1945. It was struck from the Naval Register 7 February 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.[1] It is a popular destination for kayak enthusiasts in the Cincinnati area and is commonly referred to as "The Ghost Ship"[2] [3]

In March 2014 it was the subject of a story on the Internet comedy news podcast Broken News Daily.


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