Pleasure yachting has long been a sport of maritime culture in the UK and Europe, dating from the seventeenth century.
Yachts in the 1790s – 1830s looked much different than they do in modern times, however. Besides the obvious use of wood and a luxury size nearing a ship of the line, a yacht (up until mid-twentieth century) would have had a gaff-rig.
Modern sailing yachts are more apt to use a Bermudan sloop rig and are made of fiberglass!
I love that the Dutch painter in this depiction included the launch trailing along helplessly behind. Whether the yacht was going to meet a trading vessel coming into port after a long visit to the East Indies or simply out to transport its wealthy owners to Amsterdam or some other port of call where they had business, the launch was a necessary if less than glamorous accessory to the ship.