PALACE, Hoboken, NJ – 1933
The "PALACE" was a steel-hulled vessel originally built in 1899 as the luxury steam yacht "IDALIA". Under the command of Captain Edward Baletti, she sailed from the 15th Street Pier at Hoboken, NJ and then made a stop at Battery Park, NY to pick up additional anglers before heading to the fishing grounds. She was the fastest party boat in the fleet during this era. She often reached her top speed (said to have been 19 knots) during ad hoc boat races while on the way to the fishing grounds. After snapping propeller shafts on three separate occasions while racing, Captain Baletti decided to operate the "PALACE" at a more leisurely pace.
Acquired in 1942 by the US government for the war effort, the "PALACE" became the costal patrol vessel "PYC-33". Later that same year, she was reclassified and renamed the "YAG-13", and was assigned to the Commander-In-Chief Atlantic for duty with the Sound School at Key West, FL. She served the training command until transferred to Service Squadron 1 in October 1943 and operated out of Key West, FL as a miscellaneous auxiliary vessel until reassigned to the 5th Naval District.
In June 1944, the Navy decommissioned and returned the boat to Captain Baletti, but her deteriorated condition made her unsuitable for carrying passengers for hire. As compensation, the government provided Captain Baletti with a surplus World War II Sub Chaser. On September 9, 1944, the "PALACE" was towed to the Virginia coast for use as a practice target vessel. Once on station, the US Navy Light Cruiser "VICKSBURG" promptly sank her with cannon fire. Photo courtesy of Phil Castellano.