HISTORY & DESCRIPTION:
The legend of Sir William P Burton KBE (1864 – 1942) is well known in classic racing circles.
“Yachting, however, is the sport of sports to Mr. Burton, and it is in connection therewith that his name is the more widely known and associated,” wrote an English journalist in 1920 of William P. Burton, the most famous British amateur skipper of all time.
When in 1913 Sir Thomas Lipton launched his fourth challenge for the America’s Cup, yachting circles wondered who the future skipper would be. Among the names banded around were Sycamore and Wringe.
The surprise came in June 1913. During a dinner organised by his yacht club, the Royal Harwich, William P. Burton announced himself as skipper of Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock IV.
The most prestigious British amateur yachtsman would have the honour of sailing for the America’s Cup. He was not the first amateur to do so, however.
In 1886, Dan Bradford had skippered Galatea, Lieutenant William Henn’s challenger, helmed by English naval architect John Beavor-Webb.
The choice of Burton – he would later be knighted – was nothing surprising.
As with most of the amateur yachtsmen, Burton began his career at the end of 1880s sailing small yachts. Later on he became one of the foremost skippers in the 52-footer class (Linear Rule), which were, in a sense, the maxis of the time.
He distinguished himself aboard his own boats, the Penitent, Gauntlet, Lucida, Moyana and especially the Britomart.
Burton then sailed with similar success his 15-metre boat Ostara and his 19-metre boat Octavia.
So, in 1913, Burton could claim to have sailed more than 1,000 races and to have won more than 600! It made good sense that this big boat specialist was preferred to the professional skippers to steer Shamrock IV.
After the First World War delayed the America’s Cup until 1920, Burton nearly won against the defender, Resolute, helmed by another amateur skipper, Charles F. Adams.
Burton took the first two races, something not seen since 1870.
Just one more win was needed to snatch the trophy, but Adams succeeded in turning the tables and won three races in a row.
It seemed that the Cup was never going to change hands and the atmosphere aboard the challenger deteriorated. The crew resented Mrs. Burton’s presence and naval architect, Charles E. Nicholson, the boat’s designer and afterguard member, eventually left the team.
This failure did not dent the enthusiasm of Burton.
He remained very involved in the promotion of yachting and represented Great Britain at the London Conference in 1907 of the International Yacht Racing Union (IYRU), of which he would become a very influential member. He became the IYRU President in 1912, a position he would hold until 1928.
He continued to sail his 12-metre yachts Noresca, Iyruna, Veronica, Marina, Osra andJenetta and the six-metres Victoria and Capella. In 1936, Sir William was elected as Commodore of his yacht club, the Royal Harwich, remaining so up to his death in 1942.
‘Jenetta ‘ was bought from the late Sir William’s estate by L J Clements of Banbury, Oxfordshire who stationed the vessel in Ipswich. In 1950 ‘Jenetta’ was sold to A W Stevens of Stirlingshire, a keen racing yachtsman and a member of many leading yacht clubs. A few years later he sold ‘Jenetta ‘, now out of class to the Urry family in Vancouver. She was shipped to Canada and remained in the ownership of Mr & Mrs F W Urry & Mr D P Urry until the early 1970’s.
several more owners her fate seemed sealed as she lay derelict at Pitt Lake in Canada until discovered by her current owner eighteen months ago. A salvage operation began and ‘ Jenetta ‘ is now being restored by professional shipwrights in Germany to the same high standard as ‘Sphinx ‘.
A new owner is now being sought to work alongside the restorers with a projected completion date of 2014.
Archive sepia images from the 1930’s and later images take some years ago showing the extent of restoration now required.
Guide: EUR 1,800,000 Fully Restored to ‘as new condition’
For more information, an initial informal dicussion about ‘Jenetta’ or to arrange to view the yacht contact:
CLASSIC YACHT BROKERAGE. Tel:01905-356482