Cypress, 1908 (WAGL-211)

Dec. 9, 2020

Cypress, 1908


Photo of Cypress

An evergreen tree of the genus Cupressus, growing in warm climates and bearing small, compressed needles.

Builder: New York Shipbuilding Company, Camden, New Jersey

Length: 190'

Beam: 30'

Draft: 13' 3"

Displacement: 1,081

Cost: $191,633.34

Launched: 5 November 1908

Commissioned: 21 July 1908

Decommissioned: 20 August 1946

Disposition: Sold on 18 March 1947

Machinery:  2 triple-expansion inverted direct-acting steam engines; 2 Scotch-type boilers; coal-fired with 2 screws; 1,100 SHP

Performance & Endurance:
             Max: 12.0 knots (1908); 13.5 (1945)
            Cruising: 10.0 knots

Range: 2,550 mile range @ 10 knots (1945)

Deck Gear: ?

          1908: 34
          1944: 44

          1908: ?
          1926: RCA Model AR-1401 Radio Compass
          1944: Radar: None; Sonar: WEA-2

     1908: None
     1917: ?
     1944: 1 x 3"/23; 2 x 20mm/80; 2 depth charge tracks

Class History:

The Cypress was constructed in 1908 at Camden, N. J., for the Lighthouse Service.  She was one of eight Manzanita-class tenders (originally known as the "8" class for the eight tenders built) constructed for the Lighthouse Service.  They were designed by the Navy Department and incorporated numerous innovations as compared with previous designs.  "They were constructed of steel and completed as coal burners and were the first of their kind ever constructed.  They were built with vertical sides, which provided a flat surface on which buoy pads could be attached.  Also, the vertical flat sides reduced the tendency of a buoy to slide beneath the hull when the tender was maneuvering alongside.  The deck edge on the forecastle was rounded in order to prevent the buoy cage or lantern from catching.  Steel replaced wood for the booms, and wire rope replaced manila.  The boom was somewhat longer than what might be expected to permit a special rigging for the transfer of supplies to lighthouses on inaccessible rocks and cliffs.  Water capacity was significantly increased, with separate tanks for lighthouse replenishment.  These ships had fine lines as opposed to their predecessors, making them faster and more maneuverable.  They heeled sharply, however, when lifting buoys." 

In 1932, all tenders in this class had their coal-fired steam plant replaced with an oil-fired plant and new water tube boilers were added as well.

Tender History:

The Cypress, commissioned in 1908, served her entire career in the Sixth Light House District.  During World War I, she was transferred to the Navy under Executive Order of 11 April 1917 and was assigned to the 6th Naval District where she continued to perform lighthouse service duties. She was returned to the Lighthouse Service by order of 10 July 1919.  

During World War II she was assigned to the 6th Naval District and was stationed at Charleston, South Carolina, and performed aids to navigation duties.   She temporarily transferred to the 10th Naval District from 1 March to 1 July 1942 where she established new aids to navigation throughout the Caribbean region.  At that time she was given the designation and hull number WAGL-211.

She was decommissioned in 1946 and then sold in March, 1947 to Andreadis G. Spyros and Henry C. Crowe.  She was renamed M/V Drafin by her new owners.


Photo of Cypress

Cypress at Charleston, South Carolina Lighthouse Service Depot, February, 1925.  Photo taken by “F.C.H.”


Cutter History File, U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. II, p. 227.

Douglas Peterson, U.S. Lighthouse Service Tenders, 1840-1939 (Annapolis: Eastwind Publishing, 2000), p. 85.

Scheina, Robert L. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters and Craft in World War II. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982).