W. Starling Burgess VARUNA

Sail Number:

Type: Yankee One Design

LOA: 30’6″ / 9.29m
LWL: 24’0″ / 7.31m
Beam: 6’6″ / 1.95m
Draft: 4’6” / 1.37m
One Design Number:
Designer: W. Starling Burgess
Original Owner:
Current Owner: Private
Year Launched: 1939
Built By: George Andrews, Christchurch New Zealand
Hull Material: Single Philippine and Honduras mahogany, finished 3/4″ thick. Oak Frames 1″ x 1″ spaced on 8″ centers.
Displacement: 4,775 lbs.
Sail Area: 312 sq ft
Engine: Kubota 17hp diesel
Yankee One Design: Class Plans



Yankee One Design– Burgess had just designed his 3rd America’s Cup champion in 1937 when his entry won the YOD Class design contest. This contest was ostensibly to create the ultimate sailboat for yacht club fleet racing.

But at its heart the YOD design contest was a passionate “build-local” campaign. The world was four years into the Great Depression and New England sailors wanted to give New England boat yards the work of building their yacht club racing fleets.

The sailors behind the YOD class had been dismayed that a recently formed racing class, the 33′ International One Design (IOD), had rules stipulating that every one of its hulls must be built in Norway. The first fleet of 25 Norwegian built IODs were delivered to the NYC Yacht Club in December of 1936, and the YOD Association announced its design contest soon after. They promoted it with a flurry of media coverage and three prestigious America’s Cup yacht designers as judges: Starling Burgess, L. Francis Herreshoff, and Frank Paine.

Then in a bold behind the scenes move, organizers also secretly hired one of the judges, W. Starling Burgess, to enter the contest. His final, edited blueprints for were accepted by the YOD committee and sent to the boat builder before the contest deadline had even passed and the other entries had been turned in.

Yes, the YOD design contest was rigged, and the organizers were bitterly criticized in private. But Burgess’ involvement was so well hushed it was all but forgotten over the next 74 years.

No formulas or rules were required for this design, which was a novelty for that era. Starling Burgess was free to create a masterpiece in the Yankee One Design class, and he gave everyday sailors a racing boat with the light touch and responsiveness of an America’s Cup yacht.


The Wall of Remembrance – The Owners, Crew & Notable Guest:


No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.