JFK

, Modern

John F.

Kennedy

19171963

A President of the United States and an avid yachtsman, John F. Kennedy helped bring sailing to the forefront of the American public’s mind.

Though he sailed many large yachts, Kennedy favored small boats throughout his life, appreciating the simplicity, intimacy and ease of handling that a good little sailboat provides. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the 26-foot Wianno Senior sailboat Victura – a gift from his parents for his 15th birthday – remained his favorite throughout his life.  It was the boat on which he taught many others, including his wife, Jackie, to sail, and it was the boat that captured and held his imagination throughout his life.

Kennedy loved competitive sailing. In 1938, sailing with his older brother Joe for Harvard, he won the MacMillan Cup, the East Coast Collegiate Championship, outsailing two future America’s Cup skippers. On display at the JFK Library are the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship cup that he won in 1936 sailing his boat, Flash II, and a smaller cup for the Hyannisport Yacht Club race to Edgartown.

Sailing-related Accomplishments and Honors

Year(s) Places(s) Accomplishment
1961-1963 President of the United States
1938 MacMillan Cup
1938 East Coast Collegiate Championships
1938 Winner Chicago-Mackinac Race
1936 Winner Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship

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