Manitou, President John F. Kennedy’s 62-foot yawl, once known as America’s “floating White House,” is up for sale for the asking price of $1,950,000, according to Sparkman & Stephens, the firm that designed the yacht.
Built by M.M. Davis in Solomon’s Island,Md., in 1936, the Marconi-rigged yawl became the unofficial presidential yacht in 1962. Kennedy, a sailor, favored the yawl to the 105-foot presidential motoryacht, Sequoia.
Kennedy often sailed Manitou out on Chesapeake Bay and in New England, and she was named after Manitou Passage in Lake Michigan. The name means “Spirit of the Water.”
Five years after Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, Manitou was sold by the government to the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at Piney Point,Md., for $35,000, and later passed onto the Merchant Marine. Greek multimillionaire Aristotle Onassis made two attempts to buy Manitou before marrying Jacqueline Kennedy in October 1968.
In 1999, the yawl was purchased by the granddaughter of the original owner, James Lowe, and underwent a major refit, replacing the teak deck and the Philippine mahogany over oak frames for the hull. Now back on the market, Manitou was displayed at the National Yacht Show at National Harbor,Washington, D.C., in June and is now docked at the CalvertMuseum on Solomon’s Island.
Manitou comes with a gas engine that reportedly runs at about 7 to 8 knots, a radio direction finder, depth sounder and radio telephone. She sleeps three crew forward and four in the main cabin, while the main stateroom aft sleeps two.
For information, visit http://www.s-and-s-association.org/home.php
— Elizabeth Ellis