Lowry's earliest known drawings were of boats off-shore and it was an image that intrigued him throughout his artistic career. The intensity and power of the sea that held the artist so in awe, is humanised by the introduction of yachts to the seascape. Motifs in their own right, they are also a source of visual effects and contrasts, their geometric red sails breaking the continuity of the sky and sea.
Remarkably, in Yachts, Lowry depicts the reflections of the boats in the water, something he rarely attempted, claiming he found shadows difficult to reproduce. Here, they form part of the patina of the sea, linking the natural with the artificial in painterly symbiosis.
Michael Howard (Lowry A Visionary Artist, Salford, 2000, p. 227) remarks, 'However much Lowry may or may not have exaggerated or romanticised certain aspects of his life, the significance of the sea in his life and work cannot be doubted; as with so many motifs that attracted the artist, it took hold of his imagination in early life. Its presence was a subtle but dominant feature of his emotional and physical existence, and he used it in his work as a significant metaphor'.