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Election Night Party aboard Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht “Potomac” Raises Funds for Historic Ship

USS Potomac

Election Night Party aboard Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht “Potomac” Raises Funds for Historic Ship

100 People to View Presidential Coverage for Dinner & Wine Cruise on San Francisco Bay with “Presidents Bush & Obama”

19 October 2012 – San Francisco, CA: It’s the definition of bipartisanship – a real bipartisan ship. On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 100 political partiers of both parties will board the National Historic Landmark presidential yacht Potomac to view the election from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “floating White House.” Special onboard guests that night will be two “Presidents”: George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama – courtesy of San Francisco’s Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf. The election night fete will begin at 5pm when the Potomac sails from her home berth in Oakland’s Jack London Square just as the polls are closing on the East Coast. After crossing the Bay, the historic vessel will pick up additional political partiers at San Francisco’s Pier 40 in the City’s South Beach Marina at 6pm. During the three-hour cruise, guests will be treated to fine wines and “All American” fare for dinner. Also making a special onboard appearance that night will be four-time elected president, “Franklin Delano Roosevelt” joined by his faithful dog “Fala.” The cruise will debark passengers at 8pm in San Francisco, and 9pm in Oakland, just about the time the evening’s winner is expected to be making his acceptance speech. Tickets are $ 85 (-October 31); $125 (November 1-5); $200 (election day November 6). Tickets are available online at or by phone at (510) 627-1215. Proceeds from the evening benefit the preservation and educational efforts of the nonprofit USS Potomac Foundation.

“What better place to enjoy an historic election than aboard FDR’s historic home-away-from home,” said maritime historian David Perry, 50, who conceived the idea for the benefit party. “No matter who wins, the wine will flow and the food will comfort our guests on both sides of the aisle, port or starboard. Also, being onboard with our wax presidents — WWII hero George H.W. Bush and current Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama – will be a great honor.”

“Preserving our maritime heritage was a passion of President Roosevelt,” said Potomac Executive Director Marti Burchell. “This historic party is a way to raise awareness – and funds – for FDR’s own historic ship.”

The USS Potomac was built in 1934 as the Coast Guard cutter Electra. The 165-foot vessel, weighing 376 gross tons and cruising at speeds of 10 to 13 knots, was commissioned as a U.S. Navy vessel in 1936, renamed the USS Potomac, and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidential yacht until his death in 1945. As former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, FDR had a deep love of the sea and the Navy tradition. He hated to fly and preferred to travel by train or ship throughout his presidency.

During the sultry summer days in Washington, D.C., he preferred to cruise on the USS Potomac rather than stay in the White House. The USS Potomac gave the nation’s 32nd president much-needed respite from the cares of governing the United States throughout the Great Depression and World War II.

After FDR’s death in April 1945, the Potomac began a long and ignominious decline from her former role in world affairs. After many adventures and many owners – including Elvis Presley at one point – she was seized in 1980 in San Francisco by U.S. Customs for her role as a front for drug smugglers. Towed to Treasure Island, the proud vessel’s hull was pierced one night and she sank.

After several weeks Potomac was refloated by the Navy, and dumped on the mudflats on the side of the Oakland Estuary. She lay there for nearly 12 years, rotting and abandoned. In 1982, in an effort to save her from the scrap-yards she was sold to the Port of Oakland for just $15,000. The Port of Oakland spearheaded a cooperative effort with organized labor, maritime corporations and dedicated volunteers to complete a $5 million restoration. Opened to the public in 1995, the Association for the Preservation of the Presidential Yacht Potomac now operates this National Historic Landmark as an active memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the momentous times through which he led our nation.