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Burton, Sir William P. (1864-1942) UK

Category: SKIPPERS & CREWS

01916VWilliam Burton had sailed in more than 1000 boats in British waters. For twenty five years, yachting has been his favorite sport, but instead of making a play of yachting he has made it a study just as much as he has his business. He is one of those men who never stay at anything. Everything that he undertakes he enters into with heart and soul. For that reason he is also master of a pack of hounds and during the season is an ardent huntsman.

Of the 1,000 or more races that he has sailed in twenty-five years 618 were on his own yachts, and he won with these 235 first prizes and 140 others, making total of 375.

BurtonWP octaviaAmong the yachts Mr. Burton has owned are the BRITOMART, VANITY, the 15 metre OSTARA built in 1909, by Robert McAlister & Son, LUCIDA and OCTAVIA, the last being a 19-meter craft and his largest, and with these he has won many victories. He had dominated the 52 foot, 15 metre and 19 metre classes with his own yachts. Sir William Burton has figured prominently in all discussions in England which have had to do with changes in the rules. He is one of the Vice Presidents of the Yacht Racing Association of Great Britain and, like Mr. Adams, started his yachting experience when but a youngster.

Burton went on into the 12-metre class in 1924 by ordering a design, named NORESKA, from Johan Anker in Norway. In 1927 he had his next 12-metre designed and built, this time by William Fife. This was the IYRUNA, along with Noreska the fastest of the six 12-metres that were sailing in the UK in those days. Three years later, 1930, he also had a 122-foot motor yacht built as a “tender”, the Caletta, for his racing exploits. In 1934, Burton became president of the International Yacht Racing Union (now ISAF) and ordered his third 12-metre with Alfred Mylne. BurtonWP jenettaThis was the MARINA, named after the charming young wife of Prince George, then Duke of Kent, Princess Marina from Greece and Denmark. In a very active summer of highly competitive 12-metre racing in 1935, Marina the 12-metre dominates her class, winning nearly every race. This boat had an innovative mast about which Uffa Fox, always at the cutting edge of new ideas, wrote a chapter in his second book.

Marina was only surpassed by JENETTA, designed in 1939 by the Master himself, Alfred Mylne. JENETTA is not only the longest 12 metre ever built but was also one of the fastest, the only one capable of beating Vim in 1939. However Burton did not race her as much due to the outbreak of the War and his own advancing years.

Sir William Parker Burton, president of the Yacht Racing Association, has died at Burstall, near Ipswich, at the age of 78. Sir William, who succeeded the Duke of Windsor, was president of the Y.R.A., was captain of Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock IV. in 1920 when she came very near to winning the Americas Cup. He had the unusual honour of being knighted aboard the Royal yacht in 1921 by King George V. Besides his yachting interests, Sir William was a keen hunting man. He was Master of Staghounds, 1907-1914, and Joint Master of Essex and Suffolk Foxhounds from 1912 till 1928. Lady Burton, who died in November last year, was described as “ the greatest yachtswoman."

Sir William Burton and the America's Cup

Sir William Burton made his fortune in the sugar trade. Sugar and tea have a natural affinity and so he first became business partner and later friend of Sir Thomas Lipton with whom he shared the passion for yacht racing. So Mr. Burton will be the skipper and helmsman of the Lipton’s SHAMROCK IV in the close challenge for the America’s Cup in 1920. He will have all at his charge. He has with him his own skipper, Capt. Albert Turner, and a crew of his countrymen who had all sailed with him on the famous British racing yacht Octavia. Burton also brought his wife, an able sailor who would serve him as a member of the so-called afterguard that would offer help with key decisions.

Burton Wins Over Critics

Captain William P. Burton, the amateur skipper of Shamrock, whose seamanship was derided by all the experts after Saturday's race, sailed the British sloop to victory yesterday. His wife sat beside him in the cockpit and shared the triumph of her husband as a member of the crew. Sir Thomas Lipton, owner of Shamrock, whose heart's desire is the winning of the cup, gambled upon the ability of his skipper in spit of the fact that the experts to a man had challenged his competency, and Lipton's luck won. Or was it Lipton's shrewd judgment of men?

William Burton will be the first amateur to sail a challenger for the America’s Cup. The thirteenth challenge will be a battle between amateurs for the first time of yachting history and a battle between men very similar in their methods and thoroughness. Years ago it was the fact that only a professional could sailed such yachts as cup defender but now the amateurs have developed to such a degree that there is few professionals who can cope with them.

According to those who known him, Burton has a reputation for making no mistakes. He thinks quickly and then acts promptly and never gets rattled. However, after the withdraw of RESOLUTE in the first race and the postponement of the second match due to lack of wind, a number of American journalists will be unleashed against Mr. Burton, questioning the qualities of a more qualified person. The English skipper will shut the mouth of his critics by winning easily the next day.

Shamrock IV was narrowly beaten by the American defender, Resolute, by 3 races to 2 and this was Lipton’s best ever challenge.

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