Yacht clubs the world over evolved from casual sailing get-togethers, since inevitably when two yachts met, they’d end up racing, and their owners and captains wanted somewhere to sit together and regale their peers with stories of their victories. In the 1870s, the best known of the American Clubs began formal cruises, with race stages and head-to-head challenges issued. The British Clubs go back even further, and the epic race of 1851 won by the Schooner AMERICA around the Isle of Cowes started international racing that continues to hold the world’s attention today. Artist Paul Maze earned a place of honor at the Royal Southern Yacht Club at Cowes, where he would traditionally paint their yachting and racing events.
It is an active and lively scene that Maze envisioned with this painting. Vibrant color choices and a broad swath of subjects make this a special painting. Maze succeeds in capturing the multi-faceted layers of the British yacht club and its upper-class members shown leisurely in their traditional double-breasted blue blazers and white caps. The power yachts are at anchor, including a massive two-stacked luxury cruiser, most probably the Royal Yacht VICTORIA and ALBERT III, which was replaced by the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA in 1955. The numerous racing sloops appear to be mostly the Scandinavian-introduced Dragon-Class that quickly became a local favorite in the United Kingdom, a pair racing past the club and the small boats used to ferry members to their waiting yachts.
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