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John F. Kennedy and Stars

The Kennedy Brothers and the Stars
by David Bolles and Guy Gurney

Flash II

It is well known that two of the Kennedy brothers, Joseph P. and John F. Kennedy, owned and sailed Stars during the 1930's. What is less well know is that Robert Kennedy also owned a Star in the 1950's.

As reported in Starlights, April 1997, Star # 721, Flash II, was owned by Joseph P. and John F Kennedy from 1934 through 1941. It was built by its original owner, H.B. Atkin of Manhasset Bay Y.C. in 1930 and bought by the Kennedy brothers in 1934. A review of the Star Class Logs reveals that prior to buying Flash II, the Kennedy brothers owned Star # 902, Flash, built for them in 1932 by Parkman Yachts of Brooklyn, NY. This boat was listed as having been sold to a different owner in the 1936 Log.

The Kennedy brothers belonged to the now inactive Nantucket Sound Fleet and did most of their racing there. Since the race results for this fleet only give last names it is not known who skippered the boats in any of the series listed for the fleet. The brothers also participated in the Atlantic Coast Championship (at the time a combined 1st and 2nd District event) for the years 1934 - 1936, with Joseph being listed as the skipper in 1934 and 1935, and John being listed as the skipper in 1936. John won the last race of the 1936 series. On display at the JFK Library is the Nantucket Sound Star Class Championship Cup which John won in 1936.

Robert Kennedy is first listed as the owner of Star # 1931, King's Ransom, in the 1953 Log. He was a member of the Moriches Bay Fleet, also known as the Bellport Bay Fleet. From 1953 through 1956 Robert participated in the various series held on the Great South Bay / Moriches Bay region. However, on one occasion, it appears that John F. Kennedy skippered the boat, because in a scrapbook of Isabel Gordon, Dick Gordon's widow, there is a pair of clippings about the Bay Shore Open series which took place on August 28-29, 1953. In one of the clippings the skipper of King's Ransom is given as being Jack Kennedy.

Robert's Star # 1931 is listed in the 1958 Log as having been converted to a cruising boat in 1957. The fate of Joseph and John's first Star #902, Flash, is presently unknown. Recent reports suggest that Flash II is currently in the custody of the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (see links below). Starlights printed a story about Flash II's restoration in 1997

(The following is from the JFK Library notes.)
John F. Kennedy's boyhood sailing trophies

John 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 the Flash II. and a smaller cup for the Hyannisport Yacht Club race to Edgartown.

U.S. Attorney and DEA Move to Seize Sailboat Formerly Owned by President Kennedy
Agents seize JFK's old sailboat