MADGE III was built in 1929 by the New York Yacht, Launch
& Engine Company of Morris Heights, New York for Mr.
Lawrence H. Austin of the American Yacht Club, in Rye,
New York. She was constructed of Douglas Fir planking
on steam bent white oak frames and is 77 feet overall
in length. MADGE III was originally powered with a pair
of six cylinder, 100 horse power 20th Century gasoline
marine engines and was the prototype for several similar
yachts that followed her.
During the 1930's, the yacht changed hands several times.
Perhaps it was due to the unstable economic conditions
that followed MADGE III's launching, but Mr. Austin only
owned the yacht for one season. In 1930, MADGE III was
sold to Mr. Ferdinand L. Salomon and she was renamed Adelew
IIII. Mr. Salomon home ported the yacht in port Washington,
Long Island and was a member of the Colonial, Rockaway
Park and Knickerbocker Yacht Clubs. In 1934, the yacht
was sold to Mr. O.F. Smith of Norfolk, Virginia and he
changed her name to MARJORIE. From this point on, she
would remain a Southern yacht.
In 1941, MARJORIE was sold to Mr. A.B. Taylor of the Carolina
Yacht Club in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina and he
re-christened her RUTH KING II. Mr. Taylor was from Spartanburg,
South Carolina and home ported the yacht in Wilmington,
North Carolina. RUTH KING II did not see action in World
War II, as did many other private yachts during this period,
and in 1944 site was sold to Mr. Miles L. Clark of Elizabeth
City, North Carolina. Mr. Clark renamed her DORIS II,
following his former yacht DORIS, which was previously
owned by Ms. Doris Duke. Mr. Clark was a member of the
Hampton and Pasquotank Yacht Clubs and kept DORIS II until
his death in 1965.
Following her husband's death, Mrs. Clark promptly sold
DORIS II to Bender Enterprises who soon forfeited on the
note. In 1966, Mr. Phil G. Sawyer, Jr. bought the note
from Mrs. Clark and took immediate possession of the yacht.
Mr. Sawyer, also a member of the Pasquotank Yacht Club,
as well as the Lafayette Yacht Club and the Great Bridge
Cruising Club, re-christened her, SOUTHERN BELLE V. He
enjoyed the yacht for many years before selling her in
1981, when Captain Wallace Morrow, III bought her and
moved her down to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Captain Morrow ran her for a number of years before selling
SOUTHERN BELLE V to David Allen Coe, the country music
singer. Mr. Coe soon defaulted on the note and she was
sold again before ending up in the hands of Scott and
John Whitworth, of St. Petersburg, Florida. In January
of 1996, McMillen Yachts, Inc. purchased the yacht and
re-christened her BELLE.