Trumping A Classic: Trumpy 63

A 1969 Trumpy houseboat serves as inspiration for a new line of yachts.

February 18, 2009


In every field of endeavor, there are names that become benchmarks, against which lesser competitors are judged. Rolls-Royce, Limoges, Brioni, and cristal spring to mind. the fact that the creator of the product no longer exists seems not to matter in the least: consider Stradivarius, for example.

That is exactly the case with the name trumpy, which graced motoryachts built from the late ’30s through the early ’70s and which still remains a yardstick by which luxury yachts are measured by the knowledgeable.

Each trumpy bore an ornate and filigreed scrollwork “T” flowing from the bow that was a stamp not just of authenticity but also of quality, and the approach of a yacht with that scroll would stop activity on most waterfronts as the crisply classic lines were admired.


Each trumpy was assembled by a team of master craftsmen who took a quiet pride in their dexterity with a piece of mahogany. Each seam, each joint, each finely finished corner, was done by one man who ran his rough but sensitive hands over it until it was good enough to satisfy two tough critics: that craftsman and John trumpy, Sr. Only then was it good enough for the client.

Over a span of 30-some years, Trumpy & Sons built more than 400 wooden yachts for celebrities, dignitaries, and discerning yachtsmen. But the ’70s were a time when the sweet smell of fine woods being planed into long curls was being replaced by the reek of resin and fiberglass and acetone and catalyst. When the last shed door slammed shut, many thought it wasn’t just the end of Trumpy, but the end of an era. and so Trumpy passed into the realm of legend.

Enter Jock West, former Yachting publisher turned marketing entrepreneur. he came up with the idea of purchasing a classic Trumpy motoryacht, completely refurbishing it using products from a number of clients, and-naming her Showtime-using her as a floating showcase at in-water boat shows along the Eastern Seaboard. It was a clever marketing idea, because it showed products from yacht finishes to electronics in their natural environment aboard a beautifully restored yacht.


“After a couple of boat shows,” West recalls, “I made an interesting discovery. At each show, there were several qualified people who wanted to buy Showtime. She was as turnkey as the rows of new white plastic yachts, and they loved the style, loved the comfort, loved the classic elegance.”

Thus was launched the idea not to create replicas, but updated and modernized Trumpys. The result is the Trumpy 63 Flush Deck Motoryacht seen in renderings on these pages.

But it wasn’t quite that easy. First, West had to find a builder and, while there are many of those, a Trumpy built in fiberglass would be sacrilege. His search led him to Vicem, the Turkish yard that has been building in wood perhaps not as far back as the Ottoman Empire, but for several generations, anyway.


Then he tracked down Johan Trumpy because the yacht wouldn’t be a Trumpy unless there was actually a family member involved, and Johan is the last of the sons who worked in the boatyard. Excited at the idea of seeing the Trumpy name relaunched in grand style, he was delighted to join the growing team. Rounding out the effort was Jim Ewing, the executive vice president for Alden Yachts, as CEO and project manager.

“There is a young and different generation attracted by the Trumpy,” says West, noting that though they may never have been aboard a traditional yacht, “they understand that she is proportioned the way a yacht ought to look.”

In profile, the new Trumpy 63 is something that John Trumpy, Sr., might have drawn about the time he was drafting the lines for the classic Presidential Yacht, Sequoia. Though Showtime was the template for the new yacht, the interior accommodations remain “Trumpyesque” rather than exact. But the real story is that the new yacht will benefit from seven decades of major advancements in all areas of systems, equipment, and construction, from wiring to electronics.


The hull, like all Vicems, is cold-molded from mahogany using West System epoxy resins to create an incredibly strong and moisture-resistant yacht. For those unfamiliar with the cold-molded process, it’s been around for decades. During World War II, the Mosquito fighter-bomber was cold-molded by Dehavilland and, though first scorned by aircrews as the “flying splinter”, it soon earned their affection and admiration for being able to absorb incredible battle damage and still bring them home.

Starting with a keel laminated from 30 layers of african mahogany, the new Trumpy hull is laminated with skins of mahogany at 45 and 90 degrees, forming an intricate multi-directional skin. Bonded and then faired with West System epoxy resins, the process is duplicated for the deck and house, creating a rigid and light monocoque structure. Polymer staples are used to hold everything together during the curing process and then left in place because they will never corrode. Add in structural bulkheads and longitudinal girders to carry the engines, and the result is one tough yacht.

According to Jock West, the hull lines have been “tweaked” from Showtime, with the most visible difference being an added foot of beam to increase the size of the cabins and salon. Along with additional veeing of the originally roundish trumpy hull and a deepening of the forefoot, the result will be better seakeeping without adding drag.

For those who have seen Showtime, the layout of the Trumpy 63 will be comfortably familiar but, for first-timers, it will be like stepping into the golden Era of Yachting.

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The afterdeck is inviting, with twin side doors protecting guests lounging on the wide settee or in the Trumpy-built chairs from breezes. It is where you will sit on pleasant evenings at anchor and, if the weather is cool, it is easily enclosed and temperature controlled.

Inside the salon, it’s easy to see why many Trumpys were labeled “houseboats” before that term had negative connotations among saltwater skippers. No, a trumpy really is house-like, with loose chairs and a sofa that create a living room atmosphere. a day-head is tucked in one corner, and the wheelhouse fills the forward part of the cabin with a settee for guests. Doors lead to the walkaround side decks and an outdoor settee on the foredeck.

Gentle stairs from the salon lead down to a hallway, with the master stateroom filling the full width of the stern. the master berth is offset, a loveseat is to port, and the en suite head is spacious, with a shower stall and tecma commode.

Just forward is a guest cabin with twin berths and a head to port with shower. Keeping the interior bright is the traditional trumpy style of Þnishing ceilings and bulkheads white, with trim of perfectly varnished mahogany as accents.

Filling the midship area is the large U-shaped galley which Jock West hopes clients will fit with copper countertops like the original. “Corian or marble just don’t match the Trumpy theme,” he says, but the galley will have a full inventory of modern Viking appliances.

The crew quarters are forward of the pilothouse with another private head and shower, as well as direct access to the engineroom. a galley-up layout is available, which will move the galley and dining area into the salon, while the extra space on the lower deck will be used to create an even larger master suite and a fourth stateroom.

Power will be a pair of Man diesels, a vast improvement over the smoky and inefficient original engines. In fact, efficiency is something that West says has to be seen to believe. “We know, from our experience with Showtime, that the new Trumpy 63 will cruise at about 15 knots for ten hours on about 50 gallons of fuel. That seems unbelievable, but she’s incredibly fuel efficient.”

A full list of standard equipment includes many items that John Trumpy, Sr., never imagined: full air conditioning, bow thruster, 16 kW Kohler generator, full electronics including radar and GPS, and a sophisticated shorepower system. “We have a simple process for selecting all the systems and gear on the new Trumpy…we choose the finest.”

“Best of all,” says West, “the yacht has the five-year Vicem warranty, and this is a very customer-friendly builder.” Price for the Trumpy 63 has been set at $2,935,000, and delivery time for finished yachts is expected to be about nine months.

It’s an intriguing concept that taps into every skipper’s dream of owning a classic motoryacht without having to endure the agonies of restoration or the breakdowns of old systems. Instead the dream of elegance from a quieter time, and the pleasure of being on the water board a yacht that will turn heads, will become reality.

All we need now is for the cast from All That Jazz to break out in the classic song: “Everything Old is New Again.”


Trumpy Yachts, (401) 846-0303;


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