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bush's boss boat
Houston-area collectors, boating enthusiasts, and history buffs can bid on a bonanza of a prize on Thursday, February 15. The George & Barbara Bush Foundation will put a prize speedboat belonging to Former President George H.W. Bush up for auction during the Presidential Salute, its signature event, held at Tillman Ferritta’s Post Oak Hotel.
How seafaring is this craft? President Bush (we know him simply as “41” here in Houston) jetted this 38-foot, 2011 “Fidelity V,” Fountain 38CC in the clear-blue waters of Kennebunkport, Maine, where the Bush family summered. Serious boaters will recognize this Fountain 38CC for its power: equipped with three Mercury Verado 300-horsepower four-stroke outboard motors, this baby can hit speeds up to 75 miles per hour, press materials note.
Adding to the Bush Dynasty theme, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th U.S. Secretary of State under George W. Bush, will attend the Presidential Salute, along with NFL Hall of Famer, two-time Super Bowl-winner, and charming Nationwide pitchmanPeyton Manning.
Thursday’s Presidential Salute will also include a reception, silent auction with unique Bush Family memorabilia, and a multi-course dinner with wine pairings. Then comes the evening’s highlight, the big speedboat auction, sure to fetch a presidential sum, given Houston society's bidding habits.
An avid sportsman and outdoorsman, President Bush actually kept five boats bearing the name Fidelity. Fidelity I is currently on display at the Bush library and museum, while the fourth is still in use in Kennebunkport, per the foundation.
The plaque says it all. Photo courtesy of The George & Barbara Bush Foundation
A need for speed was in Bush 41’s veins. A high school senior when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a resolute young Bush graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts at age 18, left commencement, and headed for Boston to join the U.S. Navy. At 20, he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51), based on USS San Jacinto (CVL-30) in spring 1944. He flew 58 combat missions in 1944 alone, per his offiicial bio, eventually earning a Distinguished Flying Cross. The Navy named its Nimitz-class aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) is named for Bush to honor his achievements.
Fittingly, Bush's official photo for the overnight viewing in Houston after his passing depicted him in his official bomber jacket, one his favorite pieces of outerwear during his presidential term.
But after leading the free world, Bush 41 was all about boats, adventure, and even skydiving on his 90th birthday. No telling what this First Boat will net in auction, but here’s hoping the new owners blare “Hail to the Chief” on its inaugural voyage.