Origin of Our Burgee

by Harry Gordon
Since we are offering burgees again I thought the newer members might be interested in the burgee's origin and the meaning behind its design, since there is a purpose to why it looks the way it does. The following is excerpted from a 1987 PY newsletter article.

Some years ago our association asked our members to design a burgee that was distinctive for our Potter yachts. Rob McClain's design was chosen not only for originality and attractive design but also for a combination of appropriate symbols.

Rob's Explanation of the Symbology in His Burgee Design:

The blue background with a red cross was chosen as a symbol of the British Union Jack because the original design and first production Potters came from England.

The white spinnaker over the center has a double meaning. The sail, of course, indicates a sailboat club, and it also is the class emblem used on the sails of U.S.-built Potters subsequent to the gunter rig models. The 'PY' on the sail stands for 'Potter Yachters,' the club name.

The swallow tail design of the burgee also has two meanings. Since the Potter is a distinctive boat, the distinctive burgee shape is also appropriate. But this 'distinctive' shape is actually more 'traditional' than the now more common triangular shape, and you'll certainly agree the Potter has a 'traditional' look. So fly your burgee proudly. It really does mean something more than just a colorful flag.