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Medea (yacht) facts for kids

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Medea at the Maritime Museum of San Diego
Career (United States)
Name: Medea
Namesake: Medea
Owner: Maritime Museum of San Diego
Builder: Alexander Stephen and Sons
Completed: 1904
Status: Museum ship
Quick facts for kids
General characteristics
Type: Steam yacht
Tonnage: 143 (gross)
  • 109.7 feet (33.4 m) (LWL)
  • 134 feet (41 m) (LOA)
Beam: 17 feet (5.2 m)
Draft: 8 feet (2.4 m)
Installed power: 2-cylinder compound reciprocating steam engine, 254 hp
Speed: 8.5–10 knots (15.7–18.5 km/h; 9.8–11.5 mph)

The Medea is a 1904 steam yacht preserved in the Maritime Museum of San Diego, United States. Named after Medea, the wife of Jason, she was built on the Clyde at Alexander Stephen and Sons shipyard at Linthouse by John Stephen for William Macalister Hall of Torrisdale Castle, Scotland.

During World War I, the French Navy purchased Medea and armed her with a 75mm cannon for use in convoy escort duty. (Her name under the French flag was Corneille.) Between the wars, she was owned by members of Parliament. During World War II, the Royal Navy put her to work anchoring barrage balloons at the mouth of the River Thames.

After World War II, Medea passed among Norwegian, British, and Swedish owners before being purchased by Paul Whittier in 1971. Whittier restored the yacht to its original condition and donated her to the Maritime Museum of San Diego in 1973.

Medea was featured in the "Steam Ship Cleaner" episode of the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs, when Mike Rowe cleaned the inside of the boilers of the yacht.

Current Status

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is investigating the possibility of returning the Medea to service. However, it faces several challenges since its former engineer left the museum. In addition to the need to reverse engineer its operating protocols, the Coast Guard no longer has local staff trained in certifying steam engines for maritime use.

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