Wednesday, July 28, 2010

For Sale: S&S Design No. 99 MANITOU

When John F. Kennedy was elected President, the Presidential yacht was a 92’ powerboat. Although he changed her name to “HONEY FITZ” in honor of his grandfather, the President was a sailor at heart and sent naval aide, John Tazwell, in search of a suitable sailboat for Presidential use. With her good looks and pedigree, MANITOU was quickly selected. She was brought to Chesapeake Bay and fitted with all the proper radios and communication equipment so the President would never be out of touch with his office or even the Kremlin while on board. Jack Kennedy used her often there and in New England.

In 1936 Mr. James Lowe of Grand Rapids, Michigan, commissioned the young Naval Architect, Olin Stephens, to design him a boat that could win the Chicago-Mackinac Race. Launched in 1937, MANITOU fulfilled the owner’s desires breaking the elapsed time record and winning the 1938 Chicago- Mackinac Race and also winning handily on corrected time. She was second across the line in 1939 and first again in 1940 and 41. When Mr. Lowe was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in the summer of 1942, the MANITOU moved on. In 1956 she was donated to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy where she was used to teach the cadets seamanship, sailing and how to work together as a crew. It was there she came to the attention of Tazwell and JFK.

In 1968, MANITOU was sold at auction to the Harry Lundeburg School of Seamanship which is run by the Seafarer’s International Union and its then strong leader, Paul Hall. Aristotle Onassis, who was about to marry Jackie Kennedy in October 1968, sought to buy MANITOU at any price. Long a proponent of the common man, Mr. Hall refused all offers, saying he wanted to keep her to teach less privileged young people about boats.

In 1999, MANITOU was purchased by the granddaughter of James Lowe, and was taken to Chesapeake Marine Railway in Deltaville, Virginia not far from Solomons Island where she was built and has undergone a major refit that will prolong her sailing career for many years to come. Great pain was taken to keep her as original with butternut paneling and use of all the old hardware that was still with the boat. Due to the birth of triplets in 2001 there has been a necessary change in plans and MANITOU is now for sale. There is still some work to be done on the rigs and the interior need soft goods and some finishing details, but the major work has been done.

LOA 62’ LWL 44’ Beam 13’9” Draft 8’9”

Click here to see the listing for MANITOU.

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