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What happened to the yacht docked across from downtown on the river?

Ken Little

Q. What happened to the USS Gemini yacht that was docked across from downtown on the river?

A. The derelict vessel was given the deep six by property owner David Roderick after its owners abandoned it.

“I sold it to a scrap dealer and they cut it up,” Roderick said.

The “yacht” was constructed as a U.S. Navy patrol hydrofoil missile ship, or PHM. It was built by Boeing and launched in 1982 as USS Gemini.

The ship was capable of 48 knots (55 mph) foilborne. The 133-foot PHM carried eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a 75 mm rapid-fire gun, along with other sophisticated weaponry.

The Gemini and sister ships were decommissioned by the Navy in 1993.

Until about 13 years ago, there were four PHM military surplus vessels docked in Wilmington, but three were scrapped, Roderick said in a 2011 interview.

The Gemini got a new lease on life when it was acquired by a man from Chicago. He remodeled the topside area and installed diesel engines. The work was completed about 2006 on Roderick’s riverfront property and the owner sailed for Florida and the Bahamas. He also called the vessel the “Gemini,” Roderick said.

The ship was sold to new owners from Florida and brought back to the Cape Fear River site about 2009. It was hauled out of the water to dry land and the engines were removed. Other work was done on the hull and topside areas of the ship, Roderick said.

As of 2011, the new owners were planning to retrofit the vessel with a more energy-efficient diesel-electric propulsion system, but suspended work and went back to Florida, Roderick said.

“They came back and worked on it some, but I don’t know what happened. They just left,” Roderick said.

The beached Gemini remained in place until about three months ago, when it was sold for scrap, Roderick said.

Some people enjoyed the sight of the vessel on dry land across from the downtown area. Others considered it an eyesore.

Gemini was one of six Pegasus-class hydrofoil ships constructed for the Navy. It had a crew of four officers and 17 enlisted men.

The ships were retired because they were not judged cost-effective for their mission, primarily coastal patrol. All ships in the class had success in patrolling Caribbean waters on drug interdiction missions.

The last survivor of the six Pegasus-class ships built is the USS Aires. It is berthed at the USS Aries Hydrofoil Memorial, on the Grand River in Brunswick, Mo.


What can you tell me about the large white yacht across from the convention center?

Whatever happened to the Presidential yacht Mayflower, once moored in Wilmington?



User-contributed question by:
Adam Kniedler

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