The PY-1 Mayflower, converted for service as the Presidential Yacht since July 1920, worked faithfully under the Harding and Coolidge administrations. It was a favorite escape for the Coolidges as a means to break free from the confines of Washington without being too far removed in the event responsibilities summoned. It also afforded an opportunity to host a broad range of guests while, like Coolidge’s morning breakfasts, serving as a way to help others escape also, even perhaps to help others recover a sense of proportion too often lost in the Nation’s capital. The vessel was decommissioned less than three weeks after Hoover took the helm. This unfortunate action deeply disappointed the Coolidges, who understood not only the need to cut costs but also the importance of perspective that getting away affords. Hoover was sending a message that his administration was going to trim down and get to work. He missed an important value by removing this unique escape into the world from the incessant reach of Washington. Sadly lost in the shuffle of busy-ness was the balance of stepping back from problems to think first and then act, with refreshed mind, body and spirit. The vessel would finally be decommissioned in 1946 and broken up in 1955.
President Coolidge with the Mayflower‘s Captain, Adolphus Andrews, as the PY-1 heads north in the Potomac, April 1925.
The First Lady continues working on projects while the President’s mind remains on duty.
The Coolidges swing on deck and enjoy a measure of solitude in each other’s company.