Master and Commander: 7 Beautiful Classic Sailing Yachts Now Available

Posted March 3, 2023 in Brokerage & New Build by Ashleigh King

In 1937, pioneering marine biologist and literary great Rachel Carson published her seminal essay in The Atlantic titled Undersea. Under the name R. L. Carson, she began writing essays before catalyzing the environmental movement with her ground-breaking book Silent Spring.

The piece was actually the result of her years of work for what would eventually become the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She had been tasked with writing a piece of marketing collateral that translated their annual research, but the resulting work was too captivating for a simple corporate brochure. Instead, she submitted it to The Atlantic, where it was accepted with apparently few edits needed.

The essay would become one of the publication’s most popular and enduringly beautiful essays. Perhaps that’s because Carson hit on something so exquisitely intrinsic to the human spirit, a quality that continues to cross culture and time: humanity’s deep and abiding fear of the sea.

For “who has known the ocean?” she begins in Undersea. “Neither you nor I, with our earth-bound senses, know the foam and surge of the tide that beats…”

Fear is an interesting word. Upon first glance, it might invoke a near-primal response: unease at best, fright and dread at worst. However, far more appropriate is, according to Merriam-Webster, ‘a reverential awe.’ The sea is something that taps into an incredible spectrum of human emotion: reverential awe when seen from afar and when she is feeling pretty and fair, to a deep and abiding respect for the sheer power beneath her glittering waves.

Nowhere is that abiding respect put into practice more than in sailing. As Carson put it so eloquently, “eventually man, too, found his way back to the sea… He could not physically re-enter the ocean as the seals and whales had done. But over the centuries, with all the skill and ingenuity and reasoning powers of his mind, he has sought to explore and investigate even its most remote parts.”

If you were to ask a sailor what they love about the activity of sailing, it is often a refrain of mastery and command of the elements, the sea and wind alike; of harnessing the untameable and discovering, for a brief moment in time, that which is ultimately unknowable: from whence does the wind come from, and to where does she flow? It becomes an instinct deeply honed from practice and from the kind of humbling that only Mother Nature can instill.

It’s also a rare glimpse at the continuous beauty of life and the home from whence we came.

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be,” writes Carson.

If you are a sailor with a passion for the sea in all her dangerous, unkempt beauty, nothing will get you closer to her than these classic sailing yachts, now exclusively for sale with Northrop & Johnson.


Built in 1916, the 54’ (16.4m) BERNICE was designed by George Owen, renowned naval architect and early professor of naval architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She’s believed to be the last surviving Owens ‘P-Class.’ Of a rare pedigree, BERNICE is a champion, prize-winning racing yacht, with comfortable accommodations for up to six and beloved by all those who own and race her.


WEATHERBIRD, a classic French two-masted schooner, is another yacht of exceptional pedigree. Built in 1931 by Chantier Naval de Normandie, she is the ideal yacht for adventurers and holidaymakers alike, having been the vessel of choice for many of the Belle Epoque’s biggest stars: from Cole Porter and Louis Armstrong to Coco Chanel, Picasso, and even Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds. At 101’ (31m), she can accommodate up to eight guests across four beautiful cabins.


Legendary sailing yacht TAMORY is an 87’ (26.5m) classic wishbone ketch built in 1952. She’s a fixture on the Monegasque sailing scene, having been berthed at the Monaco Palace’s berth for the last few decades. She’s perfect for long-range cruising with family and friends with cabins for up to six, and is easy to manage with minimal crew.


The 82’ (25m) Nordia cutter-rigged, classic ketch ALTAIR is a spectacular blue-water cruiser. She’s an eco-friendly choice with a 900-watt solar panel in her Bimini top, a prop-shaft 100 A alternator offering charging while sailing, and a 200-liter hot water boiler heated by the main engine or generator. Her four cabins can accommodate up to eight guests.


The 2006 classic topsail schooner NAEMA is a replica of the famous Alfred Milne build PANDA. Though classic in appearance, she has been designed with modern amenities for easy living at sea, including modern sail handling systems and electric winches. She can house up to eight guests in three comfortable cabins.


Striking SKYTHIA is a 78.3’ (23.8m) schooner replica of the AMERICA, arguably the most famous racing yacht, and the vessel behind the naming of the America’s Cup. Steel-hulled and gaff-rigged, SKYTHIA underwent a major refit in 2020-21 where she benefitted from a fully-serviced engine, fresh hull paint, new generator, and more. She is in near-perfect condition and can comfortably accommodate eight guests in three staterooms.


A true performance world cruiser, the 83’ (25.3m) MUSTANG was one of the last sailing yachts built by Camper & Nicholsons. She is ideal for an owner seeking a beautiful sailing yacht with the capabilities to last a lifetime. She can be sailed with just two to three sailors. She sleeps six in three well-appointed staterooms.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a yacht, contact the professional team of yacht brokers at Northrop & Johnson today. As a world-leading yacht brokerage, Northrop & Johnson offers access to thousands of luxury yachts for sale around the world, including private yachts not publicly advertised for sale. From yacht sales to new construction, contact our team of yacht brokers to get the results you need.

Up Next in Brokerage & New Build