About the Puritan

A center board sloop designed by the Burgess Brothers Company, built by George Lawley and Son in South Boston and financed by members of Boston's Eastern Yacht Club.

Puritan at the finish of the Eastern Yacht Club Race, 1886


Material: Wood
93' overall
80' waterline
23' beam
8'2" draught



Designer of the sloop Puritan. " Born in West Sandwich, Massachusetts in 1848. After graduation from Harvard in 1871, he became secretary of the Boston Society of Natural History and published several memoirs on anatomical subjects. From 1879 till 1883, he was instructor in entomology at Harvard. He travelled in Europe and, in an ameteur way, studied the principles of naval architecture. His success in this line was so marked that when, in 1883, a reverse of fortune threw him upon his own resources for a livelihood, he naturally turned to the desining of sailing yachts. Several of his boats won fame in eastern waters, and when in 1884 it became necessary to build a large sloop-yacht to rtepresent the United States in a series of international races, he was selected by a committee of Boston gentlement to draw plans for a suitable vessell. The famous sloop "Puritan" was the result and in the contest for America's cup in 1885 she defeated the Genesta which had crossed the ocean to enter the contest. This was a remarkable triumph in view of the fact that it was the first attempt of an American designer to solve certain ship-building problems to which Englishmen had given their attention for a score of years. In the following season, Mr. Burgess brought out the Mayflower a sloop slightly larger than the Puritan and the Sachem, a large schooner-yacht that has shown remarkable sea going qualities. During the season of 1886, the Mayflower easily defeated not only all American vessels of her class, but distanced the English cutter Galatea which had come over in the hope of redeeming the Genesta's defeat of the preceeding year. "
-- from Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography -- accessible through Google Books.

Born in Boston in 1833, Paine graduated from Harvard in 1853. He was comissioned as a captain in the Twenty Second Massachustts Infantry. His passion for yachting began when he was a young man. He worked closely with Edward Burgess in designing the Mayflower. He was well known all over the yachting world. He was a financial backer in the construction and operation of the Puritan as well as a member of the executive committee that was in charge of the Puritan during the time she won the America's cup. After her racing career, the Puritan was purchased by General Paine at auction for $13,500. Later he sold the boat to J. Malcolm Forbes.
-- from the Testimonial to Charles J. Paine and Edward Burgess from the Boston City Counsil.


Builder of the sloop Puritan
"George Lawley Sr. who came from a family of boatbuilders in Limehouse (London), England, found his first job in America with the East Boston ship designer, Donald McKay. After 15 years, Lawley and fellow worker William Maybury opened a shipyard in Scituate in 1866 for the construction of pleasure boats. The "Lawley built" boat stood then, as it did well into the 20th century, for perfection in every detail."
-- from the Dorchester Athenaeum


"This cartoon celebrates the victory of an American ship, Puritan, over her British rival, Genesta, in the America's Cup yachting race of 1885. Uncle Sam, wearing his Puritan cap, holds the cup and dances jauntily in front of John Bull, who has doffed his Genesta cap and bows graciously to the winner." -- from the HarpWeek archives


Boswell, Charles. The America: The Story of the World's Most Famous Yacht. D. McKay Company, 1967.

City of Boston. A Testimonial to Charles J. Paine and Edward Burgess from the City of Boston for their Successful Defence of America's Cup. Printed by order of the Boston City Counsel, 1888 accessible through the Mystic Seaport Library

Coffin, Roland. Captain. The America's Cup:How it was won by the Yacht America in 1851 and has been since defended. C. Scribner and Sons, 1855. accessible through Google Books

Garland, Joseph E. The Eastern Yacht Club. Down East Books, 1989.

Brooks, Jerome E. The $30,000,000 cup; the stormy history of the defense of the America's Cup.
New York, Simon and Schuster, 1958.

Rousmaniere, John. A Picture History of the America's Cup.

Thompson, Tim. The Story of the America's Cup, 1851-2000. Toronto, Warwick, 2000.