Public Campaign Launched to Preserve Beloved Piece of Kennedy History

March 15, 2017
Press Contact: Darcie Fisher

Public Campaign Launched to Preserve Beloved Piece of Kennedy History 

Boston, MA — The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation today announced a public campaign to support the preservation of John F. Kennedy’s iconic wooden sailboat, the Victura. Purchased by the Kennedy family when JFK was 15 years old, Victura was a beloved family treasure and features prominently in historic photographs, film footage, and even documents on which JFK doodled pictures of the boat during some of the most trying times of his presidency.

Since 1980, Victura has been displayed on the lawn of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum each year from May through November for all to bear witness its history. After several months’ exposure to the elements, in the offseason, the antique boat must undergo meticulous preservation. In order to support this work, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation has launched a GoFundMe campaign called “Preserve Victura at the JFK Library” with a goal of raising $25,000 by April 19th.

“President Kennedy loved the sea,” said Steven Rothstein, Executive Director of the Kennedy Library Foundation. “From summers spent on the waters off the Cape, to his Navy service, and even to the Oval Office where he drew sailboats during meetings, the President’s love for the sea can be seen in every stage of his life. And that connection was centered around one very special sailboat, the Victura. It is an honor to have this historic artifact in our care, and to be able to display it outside each year. We hope that as we celebrate the Centennial of President Kennedy’s birth, others will find it meaningful to join us in our effort to continue to preserve this iconic piece of presidential history for the next 100 years.”

The Victura was designed and built by Crosby Yacht Yard on Cape Cod, MA and is one of only about 200 Wianno Seniors ever built. JFK named the boat Victura, which means “she who is about to conquer” in Latin, a subject he struggled with in school. While in use, Victura had at least two known brushes with disaster: in 1936 it was struck by lightning; then in 1944, it was saved from a hurricane only when JFK himself dragged it ashore during the storm.

Victura sits on the JFK Library’s lawn from May to November, pointing out to the Boston Harbor and the Atlantic beyond. Since it is displayed outdoors in all weather throughout the summer and fall months, the Victura is vulnerable to the variable New England weather, from scorching sunlight to driving rain. Each winter, the Victura is sent to Crosby Yacht Yard, where it was built, for protection from the harsh elements. While there, a skilled team of conservators works to make sure that any damage is reversed before it can cause long-term harm to the boat.

On average, Victura requires between 100 and 125 hours of preservation work each year. Such work can include everything from sanding and touching up paint to redoing the protective varnish coating. The work is critical to ensure that Victura will remain in its current well-preserved state for years to come to be enjoyed by the thousands of people, young and old, who visit the Kennedy Library each year or walk by the boat in its perch alongside Boston’s Harborwalk.

The “Preserve the Victura” campaign is part of the Foundation’s year-long celebration of the 100thanniversary of President Kennedy’s birth. Gifts starting at $10.00 will receive special keepsakes or experiences. A video kicking off the Go Fund Me campaign is available HERE and contains video and still photographs of JFK and the Kennedy Family sailing Victura.

The historic Crosby Yacht Yard in Barnstable built, repairs, and provides winter shelter for the Victura.

John F. Kennedy and brother Edward M. Kennedy aboard "Victura", Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. 1946

About the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and John F. Kennedy Library Foundation

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. The Kennedy Presidential Library and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through educational and community programs, a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture, the process of governing and the importance of public service.