JFK's treasured sailboat getting much-needed facelift

JFK's treasured sailboat getting much-needed facelift

BOSTON — President John F. Kennedy once said, “We have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears.  We are tied to the ocean.”

Kennedy’s love of the waters off Cape Cod are well known. As the nation gets ready to observe what would be Kennedy's 100th birthday next month, one of the treasured items of his youth, the sailboat Victura, is getting a much-needed facelift.

The boat was built at Crosby’s Yacht Club in Osterville in 1932 and has returned there for maintenance.

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During the warmer months, it is on display outside the Kennedy Presidential Library in Dorchester.

The work to bring the boat back is slow and precise, require more than 100 hours by well-trained craftsmen.

Greg Egan, vice president and general manager at Crosby’s said, “You can’t rush it. You want to do it right, and of course, we are talking about a piece of American history and we are very respectful of that.”

The work involves undoing a lot of weather related damage, including prolonged exposure to ultra violet light.

The Victura is what’s known as a Wianno Senior.  Egan explained, “It’s very traditional. Designed for the shoal waters that we have here on the south side of Cape Cod.”

Even as president, Kennedy returned to Hyannis to sail the boat he loved. Doodles from the White House show the Victura was often on his mind.

“For President Kennedy, being near the water, being near the sea with this boat, was just a very important part of his story,” explained Stacey Bredhoff, curator at the Kennedy Presidential Library. She added that his family believed Kennedy learned the skills from the Victura that helped him survive during WWII.