Few motoryachts qualify as an icon of American history more than Honey Fitz, the former presidential yacht now fully restored and afloat again.
The 93-foot Trumpy, built in 1931 by the Defoe Ship Building Co. in Bay City, Mich., served five U.S. presidents, most famously John F. Kennedy, who renamed the boat after his maternal grandfather.
Honey Fitz is an integral part of the “Camelot” years. Images of the young president meeting with world leaders and lounging on vacations with family and friends are lasting memories for anyone who remembers that stretch of American history. But it was a dying hulk of cedar and Douglas fir that landed on the hard in 2011 at the Riviera Beach Yacht Center in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Click play for NBC's recent walkthrough of the yacht.
There it began a complete restoration under the eye of James Moores, a veteran of more than 100 classic wooden yacht restorations. Moores said in the April 2011 issue of Soundings that he considered saving Honey Fitz to be a privilege.
NBC’s “Today” show recently featured the yacht, including a tour of the nearly exact replication of the interior. At one point the network’s Kerry Sanders asks Capt. Mark Glaser what it’s like to helm Honey Fitz.
“It’s actually an honor,” Glaser replies. “It’s like being on board a piece of our history.”
Honey Fitz has set off on a 14-city goodwill tour up the Eastern Seaboard from Jacksonville, Fla., to Nantucket, Mass., stopping for stretches of five days to two weeks to serve as a fund-raising tool for charities ranging from wounded veterans to autism research. The yacht, Coast Guard-certified for as many as 70 guests, is available for charter for $5,000 for four hours.
For another look at the restoration, click here for a report by the Palm Beach Post.