John F. Kennedy Star boat to be sold at auction

Published on May 4th, 2015

The Star Class Sailboat, Flash II, owned and raced by John F. Kennedy between 1934 and 1940, is getting ready to cross the auction block in Texas. The boat was raced by JFK and his older brother Joseph P. Kennedy – also part-owner of the Star – in the Nantucket Sound Star Fleet.

The boat is registered as #721 by the International Star Class Yacht Racing Association. Opening bid is $100,000.00.

“The Kennedy brothers made quite a name for themselves in the Nantucket Sound Fleet racing circuit with this boat in the late 1930s,” said Mark Prendergast of Heritage Auctions. “It’s also been the subject of extraordinary and painstaking restoration. Not only is it a piece of American history, it’s also seaworthy and ready to sail.”

This boat was actually the Kennedy brothers’ second Star sailboat (thus the “II” designation). They had previously purchased Star #902, the first Flash, which they sold in 1936 after discovering Flash II was simply a superior boat when they won the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship with it that year. The most impressive win of all that this boat would lead JFK to was in the 1937 Atlantic Coast Championship, winning a race (but not the championship) where he won by an unheard of 4-1/2 minutes – a testament to both the boat and to the future president’s superb handling skills.

The most recent 19 years of this venerable sailboat’s life is incredibly well documented and quite colorful, all of it relating to car and boat restorer Ole Anderson, who purchased it at auction with the intention of restoring and then selling the historic sloop. In a bizarre turn, the boat was seized by the DEA in late 2004 as “property derived from the proceeds of narcotics distribution” based on Anderson’s conviction as a marijuana trafficker. Civil forfeiture proceedings were filed in February 2005 and the Flash II was sold at auction later that year by the United States Marshals Service, which brought the boat to its current owner, Frank Harvey, of Houston, TX.

Mr. Harvey does not sail, but he has cherished and preserved this historic boat because, as a young man, he campaigned on behalf of JFK’s presidential election in 1960.

Source: Heritage Auctions


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