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What the Sequoia Captain Observed when Nixon Decided to Resign on the Sequoia

"As the Watergate scandal gathered momentum in 1974, the president hosted more than 300 members of the House and Senate aboard the Sequoia, in an unsuccessful attempt to create feelings of sympathy, according to skipper Combe. On August 1, Nixon and his best friend, Charles "Bebe" Rebozo,were the yacht's only passengers as they anguished over the president's decision to leave office instead of face impeachment. On Aug. 4, a tormented Nixon cruised the Potomac with his Irish setter King Timahoe. The president barely touched dinner--his usual New York strip stead, string beans, and a baked potato,. Sitting at the formal mahogany table in the main salon, he placed the steak on the floor for the dog and self-medicated with a tumbler of 20-year old Ballantine's Scotch.

"Then," Combe recalls, he went to the after-salon, where he had Harry Truman's spinet piano, and in the dark he started playing "God Bless America." He knew three things on the piano. He knew "Happy Birthday. He knew "Home on the Range." And he knew "God Bless America"--and that was about it. He played "God Bless America" for a considerable period of time."

The next day, the infamous "smoking gun" tape was made public,and that night there was an unnerving voyage down the river to Mt. Vernon. Aboard were First Lady Pat Nixon; daughters Tricia and Julie; Julie's husband, David Eisenhower; loyal secretary Rose Mary Woods, and the president, who gathered his devastated family around the piano or more "God Bless America" and forced bonhomie.

"I believe that's when he told them he was going to leave," the 69-year old Combe tells Newsweek. "Because when Mrs. Nixon left the yacht, instead of doing what she usually did---shaking hands with me, very ladylike--she gave me a big hug. she said, "Thank you very much. Its been wonderful. I'm sorry I won't see you again." And I thought, Hmmmm, she just told me something."

Sequoia Captain Andrew Combe, Newsweek, "The 10 Best American Presidents" (11-24-12), pages 64-65


Other Testimonials, Posts and Reports...

  • " Newsweek on Sequoia - Nov 2012"
    --Newsweek

  • " Washington Post - Nov 1, 2012"
    --Washington Post

  • " CNN Sequoia Report 2012"
    --CNN

  • "The Rolls Royce of Yachts"
    --The History Channel

  • "Former Presidential Yacht in Demand" 
    --Headline from Washington Post

  • "America's equivalent to the Royal Yacht"
    --London Sunday Telegraph

  • "There is only one Sequoia, and such pieces of the nation’s patrimony are unique and fragile things."
    --New York Times, April 16, 2003

  • "Meticulously restored..."
    --The Robb Report

  • "The Sequoia is perhaps the most important piece of Americana not owned by the government."
    --Former Attorney General John Ashcroft

  • "What human passions were boiling on this modest (and wonderful) boat!"
    --Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev

  • "The Sequoia represents sort of a floating White House, and offered the potential for presidents to influence everyone from foreign leaders to members of Congress."
    --Stuart Eizenstat, President Carter's Domestic Policy Advisor

Gary Silverman with Queen of Denmark on the Sequoia