Sailing the Honey Fitz

Father's Day is almost upon us, and while it would make sense to focus on socks and bottle openers, I'm more inclined to look to wooden presidential yachts for inspiration. How fun! According to the John F. Kennedy Library, President Kennedy had some of his happiest moments aboard the Honey Fitz, a 92-foot yacht renamed after his maternal grandfather – and why not? The President was said to be a life-long lover of the sea, and was known to slip away from the White House on many an occasion in order to set sail. Passed on from two former presidents and redecorated by his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the Honey Fitz was a vessel which was designed for maximum comfort and pleasure (Jackie made a point of installing a colour television aboard the yacht primarily for the enjoyment of the couple's two young children, Caroline and John Jr).

The yacht even had its own signature cocktail: The Bullshot, an unlikely mix of beef consomme and vodka, was served hot in winter, and over cracked ice in the warmer months with a sharp hit of pepper and chilli. You can try the recipe here if you're game. Meantime, the legacy of Kennedy's pleasure boat lives on – according to official library documents, when President Johnson entered the White House, he was very mindful of the yacht: "I eventually developed my own programs and policies, but I never lost sight of the fact that I was the trustee and custodian of the Kennedy administration. Although it was my prerogative to do so, I would no more have considered changing the name of the Honey Fitz, than I would have thought of changing the name of the Washington Monument." 

All photos courtesy of the John F. Kennedy library