HISTORY

Click on the photos on this page to view larger images.

The year was 1937 and James R Lowe commissioned Olin Stephens to design a performance cruising yacht that would win the Chicago Mac race.

Stephens designed MANITOU, a 62 ft. cutter rigged yawl with a 50 ft. waterline, and relied on Davis Brothers of Maryland for construction. The finished vessel was christened Manitou and went on to win the race outright.

After three successful years of campaigning the boat Mr. Lowe sold her and she later turned up as a Coast Guard training vessel.

When John F. Kennedy was elected President, the Presidential yacht was a 92' powerboat. Although he changed her name to "HONEY FITZ" in honor of his grandfather, the President was a sailor at heart and sent naval aide, John Tazwell, in search of a suitable sailboat for Presidential use. With her good looks and pedigree, MANITOU was quickly selected. She was brought to Chesapeake Bay and fitted with all the proper radios and communication equipment so the President would never be out of touch with his office or even the Kremlin while on board. Jack Kennedy used her often there and in New England. He never raced her, but once off Newport during the summer of 1962 he attempted to engage his friend Emil "Bus" Mosbacher and his 12 Meter Weatherly in a friendly sparring match. However, the Secret Service following along in a patrol boat intercepted the future successful America's Cup Defender before she got close enough, much to the chagrin of the President.

In 1968, MANITOU was sold at auction to the Harry Lundeburg School of Seamanship which is run by the Seafarer's International Union and its then strong leader, Paul Hall. Aristotle Onassis, who was about to marry Jackie Kennedy in October 1968, sought to buy MANITOU at any price. Long a proponent of the common man, Mr. Hall refused all offers, saying he wanted to keep her to teach less privileged young people about boats.

In 1999, MANITOU was purchased by Laura Kilbourne, the granddaughter of James Lowe, and the MANITOU came back into the family. MANITOU was taken to Chesapeake Marine Railway in Deltaville, Virginia not far from where she was built and has undergone a major refit that will prolong her sailing career for many years to come. Great pain was taken to keep her as original with butternut paneling and use of all the old hardware that was still with the boat. A few modern conveniences have been installed such as refrigeration and a microwave. Her deck and much of her planking have been replaced. Her spars have been refurbished.

MANTOU is currently at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons Island. Due to the wonderful birth of triplets in 2001 there obviously has been a necessary change in Laura Kilbournes' plans and they now have decided to put MANITOU up for sale.

Now Manitou is ready for a new owner.  Will you be the one?

  Website copyright 2009 Laurie Kilbourne. All rights reserved.
 
Design by Dovetail Studio