Jan 16 2018

William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.‘s Yacht: Tarantula II (1913-1918)

After the Vanderbilt Cup Races left Long Island in 1910, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. turned his passion back to sea and decided to explore the world. He commissioned a new steel yacht Tarantula II to travel from port to port.

According to Steve Gittelman's biography Willie K. Vanderbilt II:

Adapted from crusing deep waters, the ship measured 125 feet wiith a beam of a slim ten feet. It was built at Lawley's yards in Neponset on the east side of Boston and plunged into the waters in January of 1913. The vessel was built entirely of steel with teak wood decks, watertight steel bulkheads, and two motor-driven launches and two gigs....Fast and comfortable, she was donated to the war effort (in 1917) and converted into a sleek patrol boat, serving the vincinity of New York Harbor.

The USS Tarantula (SP124) sunk on October 28, 1918 about eight miles southwest of Fire Island after colliding with the Royal Holland Lloyd Line steamship SS Frisia.


Howard Kroplick

Tarantula II

Source: Navasource.org

Patrol Yacht:
•Built in 1912 by the George Lawley and Son Corp., Neponset, MA
•Acquired by the Navy 25 April 1917 and commissioned USS Tarantula (SP 124)
•Sunk 28 October 1918 about 8 miles southwest of the Fire Island, NY light vessel after a collision with the Royal Holland Lloyd Line steamship SS Frisia.

•Displacement 169.97 tons
•Length 128' 9"
•Beam 19' 3"
•Draft 9'
•Speed 14 kts.
•Armament: Two 6-pounders and two .30 cal. machine guns.

The Tarantula II just before delivery to the Navy.

After being converted to patrol boat USS Tarantula (SP 124).

The passenger steamship SS Frisbia collided and sunk the USS Tarantula on October 28,1918 off Fire Island. The collision was not reported in newspapers.


Jan 17 2018 Brian D McCarthy 2:15 PM

Tarantula? Curious name for the vessel. I remember reading that Willy K wanted to enlist in the Navy, but was denied because of health reasons ( also read that he was frequently sick as a child ). This didn’t seem to discourage him. He offered/donated some of his vessels to the Navy to support the war effort?

Jan 21 2018 Jim Barnes 12:42 AM

Your site gets better and better.
Did you get to meet Steve gettle.an in great neck.he drives a open car that was owned by the vanderbilts
You two have to meet.
I mentioned you to him at one show and he said you had not met yet.
This was last year.
I hope you have met by now.
If not let me know a d I will get you two together.
Jim barnes

Jan 21 2018 S. Berliner, III 1:30 AM

Lest any other curious LIMPers also get confused, the Frisia was purchased from the RHL Line by the Hamburg-American Line ca. Jan 1922 (and was reportedly to be renamed Holsatia, after the 1868-1916 ship of that name).  Sam, III

Jan 23 2018 Gary Monti 11:16 AM

W.K.V was heavily into collecting insects
Howard Kroplick
Gary, good point!

Leave a Comment