With the 50 year anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death upon us, it’s only appropriate that we honor his legacy here on gCaptain by featuring a photo tour of the presidential yacht, “Honey Fitz”.
The 93-foot wooden yacht was originally built in 1931 by Defoe Shipyard in Bay City, Michigan for Sewell Avery, a prominent businessman from Chicago, who mostly used it to cruise around Lake Michigan. The yacht was purchased, or possibly expropriated, from Avery in 1942 by the U.S. government and assigned to the coast guard.
The yacht first gained Presidential status with President Harry S. Truman, who used it mostly as a tender for the much larger, and more lavish, Williamsburg. In all the yacht was used by five U.S. Presidents – Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon – but was most famous for its role as the presidential yacht for John F. Kennedy, who renamed it “Honey Fitz” after his grandfather.
Kennedy is said to have spent some of the happiest times of is life on the Honey Fitz. During he presidency, he would use it extensively to entertain family and close friends, cruising up and down the eastern seaboard from the Potomac River in D.C. to Cape Cod.
The yacht was eventually sold to a private buyer during the Nixon Administration in 1970. Recently, the yacht underwent an extensive, two-year restoration to bring it back to its “Camelot” era glory days it is most known for.
P.S. – Yes, JFK also enjoyed cruising onboard the other presidential yacht, the familiar USS Sequoia, too.
President John F. Kennedy with his daughter, Caroline, aboard the Honey Fitz in 1963.