EXCLUSIVE - YM illustrator Martyn Mackrill lands top job

A Yachting Monthly illustrator has been appointed official artist to the world’s most prestigious yacht club in the year that it celebrates its bi-centenary. Martyn Mackrill, 53, whose original paintings have graced our Book At Bunktime series over the last year was made the Royal Yacht Squadron’s artist on 1 January 2015.

The post, at the famous Castle on Cowes waterfront, lasts for five years. Mr Mackrill, who paints from life and who is based in Freshwater, Isle of Wight, where his studio is attached to his family home, has given painting lessons to members of the Squadron, founded in 1815, as well as capturing the famous club’s HQ in oils from the very unusual angle of on shore behind the club. Most depictions of the castle are made from the waters of the Solent.

Mr Mackrill, sails Nightfall, a 31 ft gaff cutter built in 1910 and once owned by legendary Yachting Monthly editor, Maurice Griffiths. Mr Mackrill restored the boat over 12 years and now sails her with his wife Bryony and their daughters Olivia and Georgina and son Charlie. She is moored above the swing bridge in Yarmouth.

Two years ago he sailed the boat round to the East Coast – Nightfall was built on the Norfolk Broads – to rediscover her old sailing ground and to paint the area from the yacht’s cockpit.
Like his inspiration, the 19th Century painter J.M.W.Turner, who was once famously lashed to the mast of a Whitstable smack to capture the dynamics of a storm, Mr Mackrill believes in getting up close to the subject. He has lain flat on his stomach armed with a sketch book on the sloping deck of the Edwardian yacht Mariquita, built by William Fife, to capture a racing crew; used harnesses to hang over the cliffs at Freshwater Bay while painting breaking seas; and sailed through a Channel gale withYM’s Editor-at-Large Dick Durham, in his own boat armed with a collapsible easel to capture a weather-going swell.

In 2000 he was appointed honorary painter of the Royal Thames Yacht Club following in the brush-strokes of Condy, Norman Wilkinson and W.L. Wylie.

His paintings are owned by Princess Anne, Prince Henrik of Denmark and hang in many locations around the world including in the collections of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the Royal Thames Yacht Club, and the Royal Solent Yacht Club.