Restorers Make JFK Sailboat Ship-Shape
The 22-foot sailboat that 19-year-old John F. Kennedy skippered to victory in a 1936 Atlantic Coast Championship race has been lovingly restored to near-mint condition.
Just don’t expect Flash II to race again anytime soon.
“She’ll never be wet as long as I have her, but she’ll be ready,” said Ole Anderson, who restored the boat for a group of investors. “We could put her in the water tomorrow, but I’d be nervous.”
Bought at a Florida auction last year for $19,800, the 22-foot Star Class sloop was restored in an old wood shop by Anderson and Marshall Chapman.
They stripped off 30-year-old Fiberglas to expose its wood hull, repaired the tall spruce mast and rotted keel, replaced the pine deck and spent weeks filling and smoothing the hull, then applied coat after coat of paint.
Launched in 1930, the sloop Jubilee was bought in 1934 by Kennedy and his elder brother, Joseph Kennedy Jr. It was their second Star Class boat, and they named it Flash II.
In addition to the 1936 Atlantic Coast victory, Kennedy sailed Flash II to victory for Harvard in the 1938 Macmillan Cup in Annapolis, Md. The future president took sole title of Flash II in 1940 and sold it in 1942 after entering the Navy.
Anderson hopes the sailboat goes to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, but admits it’s more likely it will be sold to a collector.
“I’d like to see somebody sail her for a summer and then give her to the museum. That would be great,” Anderson said. “I’d love to be the crew.”
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