El Primero, Made of Steel, Was Once Lost in Craps Game

The 1893 yacht El Primero is undergoing a refit at the Boat Haven Yard in Port Townsend. Shown on the docks at Bremerton Marina in the image above, she was the first vessel on the West Coast to be built of steel.

Her original owner was railroad heir Edward Hopkins. Quoth Wikipedia:

In 1906 Hopkins sold the yacht to Chester Thorne of Tacoma, and the yacht thereafter came to be based in Puget Sound. Thorne in turn wagered the yacht in a craps game and lost the game, and the yacht, to Sidney Albert “Sam” Perkins (1865-1955), a newspaper publisher.

El Primero transported four different presidents, including for example William Howard Taft when he came to Seattle to visit the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. During World War II the yacht was taken into the U.S. Navy as a patrol vessel, and returned to Perkins in 1947.

During the 1950s, there were only two steam yachts operational on Puget Sound, El Primero and Aquilo. The 120-foot yacht was launched in 1893 in San Francisco and was the first steel-hull vessel built on the West Coast, hence its name, which means “the first,” said crew member Melissa Lynch.

As she appeared in the 1890s.

As she appeared in the 1890s.

The boat is now owned and being restored by Christian Lint, which the Peninsula Daily News describes as an aerospace engineer, yacht deliveryman and tugboat captain, who has found his calling in rescuing historic vessels.

“I have a passion for preserving vintage workmanship,” Lint told the newspaper.

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