Necklace, acc. no. 17.71.1

Setting Sail: The Story of Sea Cloud


Travel the seas through one of history’s most famous yachts

Acc. no. 73.6Sea Cloud, the windjammer that was once the world’s largest sailing yacht, has lived many lives since its creation. Built by Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband, E.F. Hutton, in the early twentieth century, the vessel went on to serve as a weather ship for the U.S. Coast Guard, and today survives as a luxury cruise liner. Explore the magnificent story of this seafarer from the 1930s to today through documents, photographs, models, decorative arts, paintings, and more.

Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hussar V

The first half of the twentieth century was the golden age of ocean travel as most overseas travel was accomplished by ship. In 1930, Marjorie Merriweather Post and her husband, E.F. Hutton, commissioned the building of a four-masted yacht, designed and constructed in Kiel, Germany, which they christened Hussar V. Post took great care with outfitting the ship, much as she did with her homes, creating luxury cabins decorated with French antiques and decadent furnishings. Post sailed extensively from 1932 onwards, using the Hussar V for personal travel, social and diplomatic entertainment, and the hosting of notable guests.

The Coast Guard

In 1942, Marjorie Post and her third husband, Joseph Davies, lent the yacht, now named Sea Cloud, to the United States Coast Guard, in which it served as a weather ship during World War II. Post said, “Since I have no son to give to the war, I will offer the Sea Cloud.” It was the first ship with a racially integrated crew, including African American officers and boatmen such as artist Jacob Lawrence. Pieces created during his capacity as Coast Guard Artist will be on view.

Luxury Liner

After the ship’s retirement from military service and its restoration to its former glory, Marjorie Post traded the ship in 1955 as her interest transitioned to air travel. After passing through numerous hands, Sea Cloud today survives as a luxury cruise liner, traveling throughout the world.