John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Yacht Is for Sale
Thursday, June 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President John F. Kennedy’s 62-foot Sparkman & Stephens yawl Manitou, which he used as his official “floating White House” in 1962, is now for sale -- with an asking price of $1.95 million.
The boat, built in Maryland in 1936 and used by Kennedy for both official and personal cruises, requires at least three experienced hands to sail the vessel and another two to three to handle the sails and gear, according to historical information from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Along with sophisticated communications equipment (for the era), the vessel was outfitted with a fireplace and a single diesel engine, and it carried 1,700 square feet of sail area. It was solidly constructed of Philippine mahogany over oak frames and was equally at home in cruising or ocean racing situations.
Kennedy sailed aboard often with family members and foreign dignitaries alike, and many photographs exist that show the president at the helm of Manitou.
After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the boat was sold to the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship. In later years, Aristotle Onassis reportedly tried unsuccessfully to buy the yawl for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who continued to have fond memories of days spent aboard Manitou.
In 1999, the boat was purchased by the granddaughter of its original owner, James Lowe. However, after the vessel underwent an extensive restoration, the new owner gave birth to triplets, and she decided to sell the historic sailboat.
Manitou was one of the main attractions at this month’s Yacht Show at National Harbor in Washington, D.C., where visitors had an opportunity to take a close look at the vessel.
For more details on Manitou, visit the Sparkman & Stephens Association Web site, at www.s-and-s-association.org
. Click on “Yachts for Sale” and “More S&S Yachts for Sale.”