'Eleanor' was custom built in 1939 by the Mathis-Trumpy Boatworks in Camden, New Jersey. John Trumpy was known at that time for designing and building the finest wooden motor yachts ever produced, a reputation that had never been surpassed by any other builder. The list of original clients reads like a veritable 'Who's Who' of American industry, entertainment and politics. The Presidential Yacht 'Sequoia' is a Trumpy, as were yachts built for John Wayne, Josephine Baker, Roger Firestone, etc., etc.

'Eleanor' was purchased by billionaire tycoon and record-setting aviator Howard Hughes in 1957 and renamed 'Vita'. It was kept at his ready with a crew of four in Miami, Florida for entertaining his friends and business associates. Trumpy historian Jerry Foster remembers the day Hughes took possession of the yacht in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The yacht has three staterooms, each retaining their original built-in mahogany furniture and single beds. The master stateroom has the bathroom (head) en-suite and the two guest staterooms share the head in the hall. The 'saloon' or main deck-house is panelled in richly varnished mahogany with nickle-silver seashell fittings. The galley has been remodelled and enlarged and is a quite capable of producing meals for as many as 30-40 guests at a time. The aft-deck is open-air and can seat 10-15 guests for dinner. The fore-deck seats 10-15. We have had as many as 55 people on board at a time for cocktail parties.

The yacht is powered by twin 671 GM deisel engines which are vitually brand new. They miraculously burn a mere 10 gallons of fuel per hour ($10-$20) at a speed of 11 knots! The generator is a 12 killowatt Westerbeke which was installed 2 years ago.


The yacht has undergone continuous restoration for the last five years at a cost of more than $550,000. All modern systems have either been completely upgraded or replaced with new. A survey done in August of 2004 valued the vessel at $625,000 before an additional $75,000 was spent repacing the engine and extensive brightwork being done. The yacht has a replacement value of no less than $2,000,000.