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PHOTOS: Kennedy’s childhood sailboat

PHOTOS: Kennedy’s childhood sailboat

Published on February 10th, 2015

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Built in Massachusetts and mainly used in the Mediterranean, measuring 12 feet long by 6 feet wide, the boat, constructed in the winter of 1969–1970, exhibits the original builder’s plate on which is stamped, “Old Beetle Cat, No. 1426, Concordia Co. Inc., South Dartmouth, Mass.”


It has been restored to its original colors, with a sky blue deck and a bright yellow hull. The unusually colored original paint became evident when the boat was stripped down to bare wood and was additionally confirmed in a letter from Caroline Kennedy. On the stern’s transom is fastened contemporary cast bronze letters placed in the original drill holes, spelling out the boat’s name as christened by the Kennedys, “Scallop.”

Accompanied by a copy of an “Original Wooden Beetle Cat Boats” 1969–1970 builder’s inventory page. Listed is this boat, confirmed as “No. 1426,” with the owner listed as “Mrs. Aristotle Onassis,” and location of the boat as “John F. Kennedy, Jr, New York & Greece.”

Also included is a 2006 letter from Caroline Kennedy to boat owner Peter Eastman, stating in full: “Thank you for writing in regard to our family’s Beetle Cat. Your letter brought back so many memories. I always wondered what happened to the only Beetle Cat in the Mediterranean. In answer to your questions, it was painted more like a Greek fishing boat than a typical Beetle Cat with a bright yellow hull, and a sky blue deck. It was called the Scallop. I would love to know what happens to it.”

This cherished sailboat – similar in style to those the family used in Hyannis Port – as commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1969, shortly after her Fall 1968 marriage to shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. The boat was then shipped overseas for John Jr. and Caroline Kennedy to learn to sail while in Greece and returned to Hyannis Port in the 1970s. Jackie later sold it to the Gallaghers, a well-respected Hyannis Port family, and Peter Eastman purchased it from them in the early 2000s.

Kennedy’s childhood sailboat will be part of an upcoming live auction event by Boston, MA based RR Auction. Minimum bid is $1,000. Absentee bidding starts February 12, 2015. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.

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