A chance to own John F Kennedy's racing sailboat
by Risa Merl
John F Kennedy’s Star Class racing sailboat, Flash II, is up for auction with an opening bid of $100,000.
The American president was a teenager when he and his brother, Joseph, began racing the yacht. The Kennedy brothers competed on board Flash II in the Nantucket Sound Star Fleet from 1934 to 1940.
“One of the only things JFK loved more than politics was being on the water, his family was prodigious sailors, yachtsmen and racers,” says Mark Prendergast of Heritage Auctions, which is offering up the classic yacht for sale on May 18, 2015.
Implied in her name, Flash II is the second Star Class racing boat to be owned by the Kennedy family – the first Flash was sold in 1936, after Flash II was deemed the superior boat by handily winning the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship that year.
In the last two decades, Flash II has a history nearly as well-documented as her famous presidential owner. She was owned by car and yacht restorer Ole Anderson who lost the boat to a seizure by the US Drug Enforcement Administration in 2004, when Anderson was convicted as marijuana trafficker. Flash II was sold at auction in 2005 to Frank Harvey of Houston, Texas, who doesn’t sail but who has a special place in his heart for the boat as Harvey once helped on Kennedy's presidential campaign.
“It’s amazing to own this boat if you’re a Kennedy collector,” says current owner of Flash II, Frank Harvey. “I can’t think of a better piece of memorabilia to own than this. It’s a real piece of American history.”
Flash II has been painstakingly restored to condition that is like new. The boat is a piece of American royalty and history that is an ideal collector’s item for a JFK aficionado or lover of classic yachts alike.
This isn't the first Kennedy sailing yacht up for sale in recent times. The Kennedy family sailing dinghy used by JFK's kids was recently up for auction.