Trumpy yachts make Father's Day appearance


June 07, 1999|By Jeff Holland | Jeff Holland,SUN STAFF

LAST WEEK, I started talking about neat old boats, and once I've started on one of my favorite topics, it's hard to stop. There are lots of neat old boats coming to Annapolis Harbor for Father's Day weekend. The one thing these boats have in common is that they were built by John Trumpy & Sons.

Eastport maritime historian Mike Miron has been working on the "Trumpy Rendezvous" since December. The event, appropriately titled, "Honor Thy Father: A Tribute to John Trumpy & Sons," is co-sponsored by Annapolis and the Barge House Museum in Eastport. It will feature as many as 17 Trumpy yachts docked around the harbor the weekend of June 18-20.

Anyone who saw the five Trumpy yachts parked at Annapolis City Dock in May 1998 during the Whitbread Race festivities will have an idea of what a magnificent sight it will be having nearly 20 such boats in the harbor.

Trumpy yachts feature sharp, straight bows, graceful sterns and elegant interiors. Their craftsmanship is legendary in the marine industry, and their classic looks inspire admiration even among landlubbers.

John Trumpy Sr. began his career as a naval architect with the Mathis Yacht Building Co. in Camden, N.J. Among his more famous designs are the presidential yacht Sequoia, which served every president from Herbert Hoover to Jimmy Carter. FDR convened with Winston Churchill on board Sequoia, as did John F. Kennedy with Marilyn Monroe. Richard Nixon made his decision to resign while pacing the Sequoia's afterdeck.

Monroe also appeared in another Trumpy boat, Enticer, which was used as a set in the film "Some Like it Hot." Remember the scene where Tony Curtis played the shy millionaire yachtsman? The settee in the main salon where he allowed Marilyn to seduce him is still smoldering, it seems. Enticer now is a charter yacht in Annapolis.

Another beautiful Trumpy yacht, Private Pleasure, works both as a charter boat and a "boat and breakfast."

Trumpy became president of Mathis Yacht in 1939, and appointed his son, John Jr., as vice president. They changed the name of the company to John Trumpy & Sons in 1943.

They moved the company to Eastport after World War II and set up shop at 222 Severn Ave., building boats there until 1973. What was the finishing shed is now the Chart House restaurant. This site was recently listed with the National Register of Historic Sites, and is one of nine stops on a delightful walking tour of Eastport.

After moving to Eastport in 1947, the Trumpy yard built several more yachts. During the Korean War, it built a dozen wooden minesweepers for the Navy, as well as a half-dozen launches. After the war, the yard resumed building yachts from 50 to 70 feet long, then built six Navy patrol boats during the Vietnam War.

John Trumpy Sr. died in 1963 at age 84. By that time, his son, John Jr., was in control of the company. His last yacht was launched in 1973. The Trumpy yard closed after that because of the rising cost of skilled labor, the trend in boat building away from traditional wood toward fiberglass, and pressure from real estate developers eager to obtain the 5 acres of prime waterfront.

John Jr. died in 1978 at age 71. His daughter, Sigrid Trumpy, is working with Miron in chronicling her family's nautical lore. All of the Trumpy yachts in the rendezvous will participate in a procession beginning at 10 a.m. June 20. The boats will line up off the Naval Academy sea wall, stream past the Annapolis City Dock, then head across the harbor to salute the former site of the boatyard with their horns.

It will be a great pre-brunch Father's Day treat to watch this parade from City Dock, the Academy sea wall, or any of the street-end parks on the harbor side of Eastport. A good Father's Day gift would be a copy of "Trumpy," a history book of the yachts, written by Robert Tolk, illustrated by Robert Picardt and published by Tiller Publishing of St. Michaels.

The Barge House Museum, at 133 Bay Shore Ave. in Eastport, features photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia on the Trumpy yard. It's open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. You can find it at the Back Creek end of Second Street behind McNasby's Seafood Market.

Information: 410-268-1802.

Pub Date: 6/07/99

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