Taut sails: by Isabel McLaughlin of the popular sunfish that were raced here in the mid 60’s. *Supplied by  Masterworks
Taut sails: by Isabel McLaughlin of the popular sunfish that were raced here in the mid 60’s. *Supplied by Masterworks

Painted in 1961 the artist Isabel McLaughlin stayed at her father’s house Cedar Lodge in Paget on the harbour side. 

Her father Sam McLaughlin was to Canada what Ford was to the US.

As for Isabel, she was making a reputation as an artist on her own and brought with her many of her peers to paint during the forties and fifties. 

The subject seen here is that of sunfish which peaked in popularity during the early mid-sixties.

The sunfish, which was made of fiberglass, replaced the wooden sailfish with a small topside and a very low draft. 

It was a most popular class. The regattas and races ran throughout the year from Glencoe Guest House and gave life on the waterfront a vibrancy not seen since. 

McLaughlin would have many an opportunity to witness this colourful event under a number of different conditions — this one on the windy side as the hulls have disappeared from view. 

As for the sunfish, the class started to disperse in the 70’s with a change of venue coupled with other sailboats vying for popularity.

McLaughlin joined a painter’s group known as the “Painter’s Eleven” with whom Jack Bush, the highly revered Canadian abstract painter was also a member. 

Her production was quite vast and the McLaughlin family and gallery donated much of her Bermuda work  — mostly watercolours — on paper to the Masterworks Museum in 2008 upon the opening of the museum.

Elise Outerbridge is the curator for the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Arts. Email her at Mworks2@logic.bm or visit www.bermudamasterworks.com