JFK’s Personal Speedboat on Permanent Display at Shangri-La Resort!
Original article written in 2017
The speedboat owned by the late President John F. Kennedy has a new home – in Oklahoma! The 1961 Century Resorter, a 17-foot mahogany beauty, will soon be the centerpiece of the spacious lobby at Shangri-La Resort Hotel on Grand Lake.
Shangri-La owner Eddy Gibbs noticed a story in the Tulsa World that announced the former President’s boat would be sold at a New York Auction held by Guernsey Auctions in early October where several pieces of Kennedy family treasures were sold.
“The boat was very special to the Kennedy family,” Gibbs said. “It was actually won by Kennedy family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. in a church raffle. Since Robert F. Kennedy already had a similar boat, this one became JFK’s personal boat.
“That was such an important time in our history,” Gibbs added. “It truly was a time of Camelot for our nation. John and Jackie Kennedy were inspirations to us all. Then, to see that Camelot dream shattered by JFK’s assassination changed our nation forever. I rank that tragedy up there with Pearl Harbor, the Murrah Building bombing, and 9-11. I’m excited to have a piece of history to remind us of those Camelot days and the nation’s historic love of water, boating, and recreation that we promote at Shangri-La.
“For us to have that piece of history in our hotel is huge. It’s American history right there in the lobby for all our guests and members to remember and reminisce. It’s great,” he said.
The Kennedy family has long been known for their love of boating, especially sailing. In fact, President Kennedy and his older brother Joseph were award-winning members of the Harvard University Sailing Team.
“Everyone is familiar, I’m sure, with President Kennedy’s sailing skills and his heroics as a Navy officer aboard the PT 109, as well as his love for ‘Honey Fitz,” the Presidential yacht utilized during his time in office,” said Eddy Gibbs. “This boat, however, is the speed boat that JFK used personally for Hyannis Port family outings and skiing. There is actually a YouTube video on the internet of Jackie Kennedy and John Glenn tandem skiing behind this boat,” he said.
The Kennedy family owned multiple power and sailing vessels, but a mainstay of the fleet was a boat named Tenovus – a creatively spelled reference to the number of Kennedy family members at the time: “ten of us.”
The boat which is on permanent display at Shangri-La Resort got the name Restofus as an acknowledgement to the “rest of us” in the expanding family, and was added to the family fleet in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts by JFK.
“Following JFK’s death, ownership of the Restofus went to the President’s younger brother Senator Edward Kennedy in 1963. He kept it in Hyannis Port in memory of his brother until 1984. It has only had two owners since it left the Kennedy family fleet more than three decades ago,” said Gibbs. “I’m thrilled at the purchase, and honored indeed to share an important piece of boating history and American history with our members and guests at Shangri-La Resort. JFK would have been 100 years old this year, so it is a particularly memorable time in our nation’s history.”
The vessel is available for public viewing and memorable photographs any time in the lobby of Shangri-La’s Resort Hotel at the tip of Monkey Island on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.