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A Legendary Burgess Sloop
WB No. 237


BARNSWALLOW was conceived as a boat for a couple to sail. She has had several appreciative owners in her 80 years and is seeking another one to complete the restoration that’s already well along.

With her roller-furling jib, roller-reefing mainsail, and an anchor rode and halyards that are operable from the cockpit, BARNSWALLOW was the perfect husband-and-wife boat, and Paul and Susan Hammond sailed her for 20 years. The Hammonds donated her to Webb Institute, which kept her for a short time. Walter and Jane Page became the next, and to date, the last couple to enjoy this boat—having owned and sailed her for nearly 30 years from her home waters around Oyster Bay in western Long Island Sound.

BARNSWALLOW’s design began with Burgess’s drawings of the short-ended 23′ shallow-draft keel sloop DORMOUSE, which created enough of a stir when she came out in 1932 that larger sisters soon followed—but with counter sterns instead of an outboard rudder. Among these were the Phil Rhodes–designed 32′ JINGLE SHELL, the 37′ Rhodes Cutter, and the 46′ ketch ARABELLA. Burgess, meanwhile, came up with BARNSWALLOW. In profile, all share a short forward overhang that continues in a gentle curve all the way to the heel of the rudder. On the later boats, the rudderstock itself rakes about 25 degrees and emerges at the waterline. The longer aft overhang terminates in a high, narrow transom. Instead of being deep, these boats get their lateral plane and exceptional windward ability from a longer-than-usual underbody—and, for cruisers, the shallower draft is most welcome. In section, the hull shape is also a little different, having a wide, rounded-off ballast keel, and a slight tumblehome amidships.

In 1984, the Pages donated Barnswallow to the Maine Maritime Museum, and after a few seasons of chartering by that institution, a much-needed restoration began under new ownership. The timber keel and deadwood, bottom planking, cockpit, and considerable refastening were completed over the past 25 years—as well as the installation of a new powerplant. But the work is by no means finished. Besides the extensive hull repair, now completed, her well-worn teak deck requires attention; the engine and systems have to be installed, and a thorough refinishing lies ahead.

Two issues of Yachting magazine (February 1935, December 1949) feature BARNSWALLOW, as does “A Matter of Detail” in WoodenBoat No. 74. She’s included in Anne’s and my book, Boat Plans at Mystic Seaport. Uffa Fox devotes a whole chapter to her in his Second Book, published in 1935. Uffa concludes his discussion by saying, “And happy is the man with such a vessel as BARNSWALLOW, for in her he can escape the noise and uncleanness of large cities and sail into some peaceful old-world creek, or put out to sea, just as his mood takes him.”

BARNSWALLOW needs someone to complete what’s been started. There’s so much history and so much substance, and so fine a design pedigree, I’m confident that someone will step up.


  • LOA: 39′ 
  • LWL: 30′ 6″
  • Beam: 10′ 6″
  • Draft: 5′ 0″
  • Sail area: 785 sq ft
  • Power: 4-hp Volvo diesel
  • Designed by W. Starling Burgess
  • Built by J. Lunde & P. Hammond, Syosset, NY, 1934

To see BARNSWALLOW, currently stored inside a shed at Stonington, Maine, contact owner Michael Warr at 207–367–2360, or You can also contact Maynard Bray (, a former co-owner) for more of her history.

Maynard Bray is WoodenBoat’s technical editor.

Send candidates for Save a Classic to Maynard Bray, WoodenBoat, P.O. Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616.