Aras was built by Bath Iron Works as a replacement for an earlier Bath-built yacht of the same name. Both were owned by Hugh J. Chisholm of the Oxford Paper Company. The 243-foot vessel was one of the largest yachts of her era, and was finished in luxurious style. In 1941 she was taken into the Navy as USS Williamsburg (PG 56), serving mostly as a command/headquarters, transport, and VIP ship. Near the end of the war she started conversion to an amphibious command ship, but instead she became the presidential yacht.
Williamsburg served the presidency until 1953, and was then laid up until transferred to the National Science Foundation as Anton Brunn in 1962. She carried out 18 research voyages for NSF before 1968, when she was damaged in a drydocking accident and sold. A series of plans for re-use of the old ship fell through, and in 1993 the badly deteriorated ship was taken to Italy for conversion to a luxury cruise ship. This plan also fell through, and by 1998 Williamsburg was a gutted hulk lying at La Spezia, Italy, awaiting scrapping.
Correct answers were received from: José Bello, Michael Dreiucker, Martin Treich, David Nilsen, Al Gummerson, Rob Day, Timothy Diedrich, Daniel V. Smith, Ronald C. Ehlert, Rick Barton, Mike Doerner, Czéh György, David Derkits, Howard J Koch, Donald Peteya, Bill Marshall, Alan Nummy, Stuar t Kurtz, Wendell Boggs, Tom Hayden, Kon Beach, Patricio Meezs R., Jouko K. Lehmusto.
(Note that "Williamsburg" was not accepted as a correct answer, because the photo clearly shows the yacht before she was taken over by the Navy and renamed.)
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