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Kennedy's Yacht in Mallorca

The 'floating Whitehouse,' Manitou, to race at Port Adriano

A classic racing yacht which once belonged to President Kennedy is to compete in a regatta right here in Mallorca. It's the third edition of the Classic Silver Bollard Regatta which is to be held in Port Adriano from 30th July until 2nd August.

As you'll gather from the title, it's an event for classic sailing yachts and the average age of this year's entrants so far is around 50 years old. They date back to the elegant days when beautifully polished wood and brass were the materials of choice for these sleek racing craft rather than the modern man made materials of today.

president kennedy on the yacht manitou

Personifying this golden age of sailing and design is the former Kennedy yacht, Manitou, whose history goes back to 1937. She was built in Maryland for a John Lowe with the express purpose of winning the Chicago Mac Race on Lake Michigan and designed by naval architect Olin Stephens.

Classically constructed, Manitou is a cutter-rigged Bermudan yawl, 62 feet long, with a four ton keel, a mahogany on oak hull and teak decking, which immediately won the 1938 race, came second the following year and won the next two again! Lowe sold the yacht and it eventually became the property of the US coastguard.

A keen sailor, Kennedy spotted the boat in Annapolis, bought her and fitted her out with masses of communications equipment in Chesapeake Bay. She became known as the floating Whitehouse as the President could enjoy his leisure time on board whilst never losing contact with his advisors and even the Kremlin. It's also rumoured that Marilyn Monroe used the bathtub in the aft cabin though we're not sure if she was on official business or pleasure.

Since the Kennedy imperium, Manitou has had a chequered history and several different owners, but has now been lovingly restored and takes part in events like this one. Named after the trademark Phillipe Starke designed silver bollards at Port Adriano, the regatta is quickly becoming one of the most talked about in Mallorca and continues to attract more competitors each year.

manitou competing in the silver bollard regatta

If you fancy having a look at these beautiful vessels in full, magnificent sail, the racing days are the Friday, Saturday and Sunday and as you can imagine, with so many nautical coves gathered together, there'll be lots of yo ho hoing as the sun goes over the yardarm with the mainbrace spliced courtesy of one of the sponsors – Gin Mare.

See the regatta website for all the race and gin times, though no mention of walking the plank!