W. Starling Burgess

mysticseaport.org

1878 - 1947


In 1900, a 22 year old Starling Burgess withdrew from Harvard in his senior year to open his own design firm.
His father, Edward Burgess was also a prominent designer of the day.
The Burgess designed J boat ENTERPRISE, the Americas Cup defender of 1930, with her aluminum spars and Tru-Loc fittings proved her worth in a duel with SHAMROCK V. In the next Americas Cup series, RAINBOW, another Burgess design, narrowly defeated the Sopwith designed ENDEAVOUR.
In 1937, Starling took a rising young naval architect named Olin Stephens into his firm. RANGER, the Americas Cup defender of 1938, was the fastest J Class yacht ever built and easily defeated the Challenger, Endeavor II. Some years later the design of RANGER was officially attributed to Burgess.

Burgess was the first American to design twelve-meter class yachts. He was the designer of numerous other schooners, cutters, yawls and one designs, including his favorite, the renowned staysail schooner NINA, holder of numerous ocean racing records. He is also known for his airplane manufacturing company, which flew the first airplane in New England, and as the author of "The Eternal Laughter and Other Poems."

Additional information:
W. Starling Burgess Papers (Coll. 193), G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum.
Early work is contained in the L. Francis Herreshoff Collection (Coll. 38)

A new biography was released in 2014:

'No Ordinary Being: W. Starling Burgess (1878-1947), a Biography'
by Llewellyn Howland III
Publisher: David R Godine (December 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 156792526X
ISBN-13: 978-1567925265

Sailboats Designed By W. Starling Burgess

Model LOA First Built
ATLANTIC (BURGESS) 30.58 ft / 9.32 m 1929
BAYBIRD 18.00 ft / 5.49 m 1916
BRUTAL BEAST 13.83 ft / 4.22 m 1919
SMALL POINT ONE-DESIGN 19.70 ft / 6.00 m 1935
TEN-METER CLASS (1927) 58.70 ft / 17.89 m 1927
WINTER HARBOR 21 30.67 ft / 9.35 m 1907
YANKEE ONE DESIGN 30.50 ft / 9.30 m 1937


.