Enterprise 1930

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Enterprise ( 1930 ) half hull wooden hand crafted. Designed by William Starling Burgess.Order on line, worldwide delivery.

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$295.00

Hand-crafted plank-on-frame wood hull with blue topsides, grey cove stripe . Varnished stained wood hull.

Hull size: 60cm.

Board size: 75cm X 20cm

Size75 cm L x 20 cm Hgh
Year1930
Half Hull SizeMedium (75cm X 20cm)

William Starling Burgess' heritage weighed heavy upon him: his father, Edward Burgess, had designed three victorious defenders: Puritan, Mayflower and Volunteer.

In 1930, he was commissioned to build a defense contender by the businessman Harold S. Vanderbilt. This was not the first of Starling's tribulations. William S. Burgess left Harvard halfway through his studies, and made his debut in naval architecture. At the turn of the century, he built an aircraft under license to the Wright brothers. He was an inventive, curious engineer, with a desire to innovate and improve.

In 1930, he designed the J Class Enterprise, nicknamed the mechanical boat, the model of which he tank tested before building. His brother, Charles Paine Burgess, carried out sail and rigging tests in the University of New-York wind tunnel, and inspired by studies by Doctor Manfred Curry, designed the famous Park Avenue boom. The mast was a masterpiece in riveted duralumin. Nevertheless, Enterprise had a struggle to be selected in the American trials against Weetamoe, Yankee and Whirlwind.

In the final race, thanks to the masterful hands of Mike Vanderbilt, Enterprise crushed Shamrock V, just before the finish, Starling Burgess was awarded the honor of steering his boat to victory. Sir Thomas Lipton's last attempt was a dismal failure against Mike Vanderbilt and his Enterprise. But popularity of this famous owner of the Shamrock Yachts was such that the public response to a subscription to award him a souvenir cup in gold massive. Overwhelmed, the ordinarily loquacious gentleman was scarcely able to utter a few words, "although I have always lost, you make me think I have won. Today Enterprise was too fast but I will come back to win this damned America's Cup".

With over 2000 hulls built, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff’s 1914 design for a “Buzzards Bay Boys Boat” – the Herreshoff 12 ½ – has been in production for 113 years and is likely the most popular small yacht ever. Versions include a fiberglass redesign – the Bullseye, from Cape Cod Shipbuilding; exact fiberglass replicas like William Harding’s Doughdish, and Joel White’s Haven 12 ½ – a centerboard design built to sail shallower water. Uncounted copies from custom wooden boat builders also testify to its appeal.

 

With a 12 ½ foot waterline, the H 12 ½ is16 feet long. Proposed as a children’s training boat, it handled the choppy seas and brisk breezes of Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay with an easy motion and a comforting sense of security. The design is informed by Captain Nat’s critical, innovative eye and long experience building trophy winning sailing yachts. By 1914 he was in his mid-sixties and drawing some of his best-loved designs – the Buzzards Bay 25s, Newport 29s and his own Alerion. Instead of rule-stretching high speed sleds his pen now drew human sized, sweet-sailing and uncomplicated boats that spoke of his deep appreciation for the arts of sailing and naval design.

 

Herreshoff gave the H 12 ½ a short ballast keel for stability and a deep, spacious cockpit to carry multiple kids and/or adults. Sold initially with a gaff and later with a Marconi rig, the sail area is small enough to be handily managed by a boy or girl – steel biceps not required. In experienced hands, however, the rig is big enough to slip along with a bit of a bone in her teeth. Adults have been known to downsize from trophy yacht to H 12 ½ just to relish casual sunset sailing into their golden years. It’s ironic that no one alive sailed on Captain Nat’s masterpiece, Reliance – a brilliantly engineered, extreme racer – but thousands have memories of sailing his “children’s” boat.

 

Particularly popular in Southern New England, H 12 ½ s are found all along North America’s Atlantic coast. In some families they’re handed down through generations, and rarely is one in need of repair not rescued and relaunched. Surprisingly, they have also traveled quite far afield: they sail in Norway, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and many countries far from Bristol, RI. The H 12 ½ truly has a hull shape and history for the ages.

Jeff Silva

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