Britannia had been converted to Bermudian rig that spring (i.e. 1932), to the design of Charles Nicholson. The new spruce mast was 175 feet in length and needed three sets of cross-trees to spread the standing rigging, ensuring its security and straightness. With a short bowsprit and shortened boom she set 8,700 square feet (of sail). There were misgivings about the ability of the 38-year-old hull to withstand the forces imposed by this rig which was in keeping with that of the rest of the large-class Bermudian-rig racers.
The painting expresses the power of the rig with the yachts at their maximum speed on a breezy day, lee decks awash and all hands on the weather decks. Either Captain Albert Turner or Sir Philip Hunloke, her amateur helmsman, is at Britannia's wheel. The boom is hove well in and all the racers are carrying a 'baby' jib topsail in the fresh breeze.
For full details of the careers of these yachts, please refer to the notes to other paintings in this section.
Christie's are grateful to the artist for the notes describing this lot.