FORMER PRESIDENTIAL YACHT HONEY FITZ SETS SAIL FOR BEAUFORT

FORMER PRESIDENTIAL YACHT HONEY FITZ

SETS SAIL FOR BEAUFORT

 

BEAUFORT – A former presidential yacht will pay a visit to Gallant’s Channel this June. The Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort will host dockside tours of the Honey Fitz on Saturday, June 1 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The tours will be $5 per person with all proceeds benefiting the Friends of the Museum.

The Honey Fitz is a 92-foot commuter-style motor yacht that was built by the Defoe Boat Works in Bay City, Michigan and christened in 1931. The boat passed from private hands to the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942. The yacht saw service during World War II as a picket ship off Rockaway Point and Fire Island, New York and she served as a training ship for submarine crews.

In June 1945 the yacht was refit to serve as tender to successive presidential yachts, the 165-foot USS Potomac and the 245-foot USS Williamsburg. During Eisenhower’s presidency he sent the Williamsburg back to the Navy, where she had served as a patrol gunboat and communications vessel in World War II.  He preferred the 92-footer, which he renamed Barbara Anne and used it in Narragansett Bay and on the Potomac.

When Kennedy entered the Oval Office, he renamed the presidential yacht Honey Fitz, the nickname of his beloved maternal grandfather, John Francis Fitzgerald. As Kennedy enjoyed the yacht on the Potomac and in Newport and Palm Beach, Honey Fitz became part of the lore of Camelot. The Honey Fitz was sold off during the Nixon Administration and the yacht has been in private hands ever since.