The History of John Trumpy & Sons
John Trumpy worked as a yacht designer for the Mathis Yacht Building Company in Camden, NJ starting in 1910. During World War II Trumpy acquired Mathias and the company was renamed John Trumpy & Sons. Following WW II, the Trumpy operations & yacht yard moved to Annapolis, Maryland where they continued in operation until the early 1970’s. Over 400 Trumpy yachts were designed and built during the 60-year history, of which about 90 still exist today.
Understatedly called a “houseboat” by her designers because the yachts offered her owners all the comforts & amenities of home, Trumpy was considered the Rolls-Royce of American Yachting. Known for their meticulous craftsmanship owners of Trumpy yachts included the likes of Howard Hughes, the Guggenheims, Dupont’s, Chrysler& Dodge families.
Today in the age of sleek, fast yachts built of carbon fiber & composites the enduring attraction to the unique elegance and provenance of a classic wooden yacht is like that to a rare, vintage bottle of wine or an iconic work of art. This is evidenced by the passionate attention that a Trumpy yacht will attract in every harbor they enter. This passion also helps to understand why a special individual would purchase a classic wooden yacht in need of repair and restoration and invest years and a literal fortune into authentically restoring the yacht.
The Making of BB
The owner of the 80’ Trumpy motor yacht now called “BB” shares this unique passion for restoring and preserving this treasure of American yachting history, having has just completed a 3+ year, and $4 million+ authentic restoration, that has returned the yacht to her original 1947 splendor.
Designed and built by John Trumpy in as a “luxury cruising houseboat” she was commissioned by George W. Codrington of Cleveland, Ohio who was VP of General Motors and a member of the New York and Larchmont Yacht Clubs. Her hull was built at the Trumpy / Mathis location in Camden, NJ and then the yacht was then towed to the new Trumpy yacht yard in Annapolis where she was completed and launched in 1947. Christened “SEAPLAY” she had the state-of-the-art amenities of the day which included, according to a review in the August 1948 issue of The Rudder Magazine, a “ship to shore telephone in owner’s room makes possible instant communication with home or office from the SEAPLAY.” The article also stated: “She has 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.”
SEAPLAY’s later names, in order, include: NATAMOR II, SEAWAY, BEAU RIVAGE, SS SOPHIE in 1998 and “BB” since 2017.
Classic 1947 Trumpy raised pilot house motor yacht
LOA 80′ 0″ / 24.38m
Beam 18′ 0″ / 5.49m
Draft 4′ 9″ / 1.45m Max
GRT 85 tons
The yacht was repowered in 1961 with twin 2x Detroit Diesel 6-71N (naturally aspirated) 234 hp engines, which have also been rebuilt during the restoration. The original pewter plate commemorating the 1961 installation of the new engines is proudly restored in BB’s salon. These workhorse engines offer a cruising speed of 10 knots with a maximum speed of 13 knots. 820 gallons / 3,104 liters of fuel for a range of 700 miles.
On approaching BB at the dock, the first thing you notice is her impeccable high gloss varnish – lots of it! Stripped to bare wood inside and out, an estimated 233 gallons of varnish were used during her restoration period. All superstructure is teak with layers and layers of high gloss varnish — the deck house, raised pilot house, cap rails and trim shows the superb wood joinery of her pristine white hull and the distinctive gold Trumpy filigree on her prow.
Port and starboard gates allow boarding flexibility at the dock via stairs. A swim platform attaches to the bottom of the stairs for easy boarding from the dinghy when at anchor or after a swim.
BB has generous walk-around decks and high stations with varnished teak cap rails. Walk aft along the port or starboard sides to access the generous aft deck through a teak & glass door on both sides. Walking forward is a teak door (also matching port and starboard) with access to the butler’s pantry. Continue forward to mirror image balconette style bridge wings. Take 3 steps up the bridge wing to enter the pilot house, offering with excellent visibility and privacy for captain and crew. There is a comfy leather bench seat aft, spacious chart table, helm seat, original teak wheel and a fully modernized navigation & helm station. Windows fore and aft open for added ventilation.
Forward of the bridge is the “card room” – which doubled as the original owner’s office. The card room offers great views while underway or at anchor and is a wonderful space with a cozy settee aft, and a forward ¾ day bed for sleeping an additional guest. There is a card / cocktail table in between that is ideal for games as well as enjoying morning coffee or sunset cocktails. The opening windows have custom wood venetian blinds and port and starboard doors provide excellent natural cross ventilation for an alternative to the yacht’s new air conditioning system. The foredeck is graced by a large centerline sliding teak hatch for deck access to crew quarters & galley. The current owner had this hatch replicated from original specifications and photographs of the original foredeck hatch – which had been replaced at some point by a fiberglass hatch. The foredeck offers plenty of seating with built in forward-facing cushioned settee against the card room housing, plus matching port & starboard cushioned deck boxes.
On the port side just aft of the pantry door is a teak rope locker with storage for lines and PFD’s.
Entering the full-service butler’s pantry, you understand why Trumpy called this design a “houseboat.” It is fully equipped with a generous sink, lots of stainless counter space for toaster, coffee maker, plus drawers & undercounter storage including a refrigerator, ice maker, rubbish compartment, and above are glass & teak doored barware & china storage, teak and ash sole and round opening port. Port and starboard pantry doors offer easy access for crew & guests plus excellent cross ventilation. The butler’s pantry is great for guest self-service and for enabling the yacht’s crew to provide seamless guest service.
From the pantry forward to starboard are stairs down to the full galley, crew accommodation and engine room access aft. The galley has been completely restored with butcher style counter tops, integral sink, lots of storage, 2 opening ports, teak and ash sole.
The interior of BB is decorated with authentic period furnishings and built-ins throughout – some antiques & some reproductions, all in keeping with her 1947 launching. In addition, the restoration of BB included generous sound insulation throughout for nearly silent operation of all systems and climate controls.
Stepping inside and aft from the pantry you are welcomed by abundant natural light from the large windows of the open & airy salon. Beautiful rubbed-mahogany paneling and mahogany crown moldings are accented by a white acoustic insulated overhead with high gloss varnished teak trim strips. Midships to port is a day head with traditional Trumpy fold-up sink. A server on the forward bulkhead has a built-in mirror above that beautifully reflects the natural light from the windows and is flanked by period glass sconces. At the push of a button what could be 1947 becomes 2020 as a 44” television rises from the port bulkhead. There is a sturdy fold-away mahogany table that blends into the port bulkhead and is easily set up for formal dining. Décor is simple yet elegant with beautifully framed black and white photographs on the bulkheads, period glass sconce lighting, custom wood venetian blinds with fabric valances, restored floor timbers, white upholstery with yellow accent cushions and tasteful dhurrie rug in front of the sofa.
Built in storage below windows along the starboard side and a mahogany desk that has leaded glass doors above sits on the starboard aft bulkhead and all add to the houseboat feel.
Continuing aft through the salon on the port side is the stairway to the lower deck guest accommodations.
Centerline aft in the salon is a lovely, varnished teak half-glass door opening out that, leads to the aft deck. There is a teak brass-screened door that opens inward — a wonderful bonus when fresh air is desired in the salon.
The aft deck has a large custom-built varnished teak oval dining table which the current owner had built and offers spacious seating for 8, with a curved banquette aft and 4 sturdy mid-century teak dining chairs. A mahogany overhead is painted in white enamel with high gloss varnished teak trim strips.
Custom canvas side panels surround the entire aft deck up to the cap rails. From the cap rail to the overhead are isinglass curtains that easily roll up or down to allow this lovely space to be enjoyed if there is a change in weather.
“BB” features a practical arrangement plan with excellent owner / crew separation. Crew quarters are in the bow featuring two separate sleeping cabins, and share a bath in the bow has a fresh-water flush head with separate stall shower. The Captain’s Cabin to port has a large single berth, hanging locker, desk, sink and small mirrored vanity. The Crew cabin is to Starboard with over under berths, mirrored vanity, hanging locker and drawers.
The crew “common area” includes a large settee, starboard dinette and desk to port, a laundry area and giving way to a full beam Galley and access to the engine room. A companionway leads up to the fully equipped pantry and generous salon with the convenience of a day head.
BB’s private guest accommodations for 6 are located on the lower deck via the mahogany stairway located aft to port in the salon. She has a traditional three stateroom layout with two heads, and an updated centerline queen berth master.
The Master Stateroom is generously appointed and located aft featuring a queen size centerline bed with a custom-built frame that includes a footboard that houses a built-in flat-screen television that raises through a hidden panel when in use & lowers to hide away when not in use. The queen bed replaced the yacht’s original twin port and starboard berths and is flanked by period bedside reading lamps. There are hanging lockers are located on either side of the bed, with twin aft bulkhead dressers and twin bench seats offer additional storage and an aft bulkhead mirror lies above the queen berth. The master has 4 opening ports with sliding shutters allows the option to have fresh air to circulate freely as an alternative to the air conditioning, and the large mirror reflects light and provides an open and airy atmosphere within the stateroom. For safety there are hard wired smoke & carbon monoxide detectors.
A private en-suite bath is located to port and features a teak & holly sole, a large washbasin, mirrored vanity, 2 storage lockers, Tecma fresh-water flush head, ¾ bathtub and shower, plus another two opening ports with sliding shutters in the bath.
Guest Cabin 1: to starboard and forward of the master is a guest cabin featuring a twin berth with the option to slide out and convert to a full-size queen berth with bulkhead mounted reading lamps. There is a desk, bureau, a generous outboard hanging locker, 2 opening ports with sliding shutters allow for fresh breezes to flow through the cabin as an alternative to the air conditioning. The en-suite bath (shared with 2nd guest cabin) includes a stall shower with custom teak grating, generous storage, a Tecma fresh-water flush toilet and mirrored vanity and two opening ports with sliding shutters.
Guest Cabin 2: Located on the port side the third cabin features upper and lower bunks, desk, hanging locker, 2 opening ports with sliding shutters and shares the bath with the starboard guest cabin.
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