Because no, they really don’t build them like they used to, it is understandable that the luxury yacht world was abuzz when a classic 1947 Trumpy appeared on the market.
During the Second World War, Norwegian-born naval architect John Trumpy became owner of Mathis Yacht Building Company, which he had joined in 1903, renaming it John Trumpy & Sons and moving it from Camden to Gloucester City, New Jersey. Trumpy yachts established a reputation for elegant designs, top-notch fittings, and superlative finishes. The arrival of a Trumpy in the harbour would cause no less of a stir than a royal princess crashing a picnic; conversation stops, jaws drop to the ground, and everyone gawks in silent awe as the beauty glides into view.
Is it any wonder, then, that the timeless profile of a classic Trumpy—with its magnificent flowing lines, signature white hull, exquisite woodwork, and unequalled elegance—has enchanted yacht buyers for so many years? Trumpy buyers once ranked among the wealthiest people on Earth, including members of the Chrysler, DuPont, and Drexel families. was the proud owner of a Trumpy yacht, while a 104-foot Trumpy served as the U.S. presidential yacht from the 1930s through 1977. That vessel, the USS Sequoia, was reportedly where President Roosevelt and General Eisenhower planned elements of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, , where JFK celebrated his last birthday, and where Richard Nixon told his family he would resign.
And recently, an 80-foot Trumpy launched in 1947—now fresh from a $4 million refit—became available on the brokerage market.
Launched as the motor yacht Seaplay, it is believed to be among the last Trumpy yachts built before the company moved to facilities in Annapolis that same year.
Seaplay was built for George Codrington, who at the time was vice-president at General Motors. The vessel featured in the August 1948 issue of The Rudder magazine, which described Seaplay as having “a well-blended combination of seaworthiness, sleek lines, good turn of speed, ease of handling, sturdiness, compactness with comfort, reliability, and the ability to go anywhere her owner desires.”
Hand-crafted from the ultimate maritime trifecta of Honduran mahogany, American walnut and Burmese teak, the yacht, now named BB, features period furnishings including glass sconces, custom wood venetian blinds, and a dhurrie rug that enhance its character and charm. Decidedly modern amenities like a Garmin digital navigation system with touch-screen displays and an autopilot assure safety underway.
In the interests of guest comfort, BB allows for a few other modern amenities, including an air conditioning system, an updated galley with modern, energy-efficient appliances, and a pop-up 48-inch TV in the full-beam master stateroom—maintaining the character of the classic motor yacht, with a nod to today’s world.
Its large HDTV aside, the sumptuous master suite is otherwise a bit more spartan and less spacious than those on contemporary yachts, but this is a vessel built for enjoying life on deck rather than snoring through it down below. There are further accommodations for six guests in three VIP staterooms, . All accommodations share two full heads, and are accessed by an L-shaped staircase leading below from the salon.
The bow’s lower deck is devoted to crew quarters, a captain’s cabin, and a large galley. , allowing meals to be served in the salon with its large aft dining space for eight or outside in the cockpit under the shade of the overhead sunshade.
The forward end of the main deck features an observation room with large windows overlooking the bow. Side doors allow direct access to the front deck, which includes a wraparound bench seat just below the observation room windows. Wide promenades lead aft along either side of the salon, allowing guests to enjoy a delightful after dinner stroll around the boat, taking with unforgettable views.
Built to explore the world, BB can still do so in fine style with its not quite original but still vintage engines: twin 1961 Detroit diesels replaced the original powertrain long ago. Now fully renovated and rebuilt, the big blocks churn out a combined 468 horsepower, giving BB a top speed of 13 knots. At 10 knots, cruising range is an impressive 700 nautical miles.
Opportunities to acquire a Trumpy yacht in Bristol condition don’t come along too often, and the chance to acquire one from the 1940s straight from a major refit was rare indeed. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and hobnob with the Rockefellers, here’s your chance to find out, and get a feel for how life was once enjoyed by society’s elite.