Edward Burgess, 1848-1891

[Mentioned in Unity of Good, p. 14]

Edward Burgess' interest in yachting and ships may have started when he first heard his father, one of the big traders in West India goods, tell his experiences. By the time Edward entered Harvard his taste for yachting was well developed. However, when he received his B.A., natural history claimed his attention, and he became Secretary of the Boston Natural History Society. From 1879—1883 he was an instructor at Harvard in entomology and published various scientific essays.

Mathematics had always fascinated him, but it was not until he went into business as a naval architect that he applied it. Subsequently he designed over two hundred yachts. The first to bring him renown was the "Puritan," a centerboard yacht, built entirely of wood. She was the winner of America's cup in the international regattas of 1885. Burgess determined to make his next fast vessel a better "all-round ship." The result was the "Mayflower," which won the cup in 1886. Still seeking to improve his work, he designed the "Volunteer," a steel centerboard sloop, which won the cup in 1887. The "Volunteer" was the marvel of yachting circles, and Burgess led the world in this special type of naval architecture.

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Signs of the Times
July 10, 1954

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