A burgee (pronounced bur + jee) is a triangular flag used by oceangoing vessels as identification. A symbol of their home harbor. For generations, ships arriving into new ports would gift the harbormaster their burgee as a sign of gratitude for safe anchorage.
This distinctive flag used in sailing to identify a particular yacht club, sailing organization, or individual boat. It is typically triangular in shape and flown from the masthead, halyard, or backstay of a sailboat.
The burgee often features the club's or organization's logo, emblem, or colors, which helps distinguish one boat or group from another. It is a symbol of affiliation or membership, similar to a national flag representing a country.
Sailing burgees have a long history and are widely used in competitive sailing, yacht racing, and recreational boating. They serve both practical and aesthetic purposes, making it easy to identify boats and promoting a sense of camaraderie among sailors.
THE FLORENCE BURGEE 🚩
The two-tone red burgee flag on our gear is more than a logo. It's an emblem of our founder John Florence's genuine connection to water, earth and sky.
It represents the endless pursuit of utilitarian solutions for modern sport conditions.
10 MEMORABLE FACTS ABOUT SAILING BURGEES
- Origins: The use of burgees in sailing dates back to at least the 18th century when yacht clubs began to emerge in England. The burgee served as a distinctive symbol for these clubs.
- Purpose: The primary purpose of a burgee was to identify and distinguish one yacht club or boat from another, both on the water and on land.
- Design: Traditional burgees were typically triangular in shape, with the hoist (short side) attached to a halyard or backstay. The fly (long side) often displayed the club's emblem, initials, or unique colors.
- Early Variations: In the early days, burgees were usually made of bunting or wool, sewn by hand. The designs were often simple and straightforward, reflecting the club's identity.
- Racing Signals: Burgees were used as a means of communication during yacht races. Race officials would hoist different colored burgees to signal changes in course, penalties, or other instructions to the competing boats.
- Prestigious Events: Major sailing events, such as the America's Cup, have their own distinctive burgees. These flags represent the event itself and are flown by participating yachts to symbolize their involvement.
- International Code: The International Code of Signals includes specific burgees that represent letters of the alphabet. These flags can be used to spell out messages between vessels using a standardized code.
- Strict Etiquette: In formal sailing events, there is a proper etiquette for displaying burgees. For example, the yacht club's burgee is typically flown at the top of the mast, while the national flag is flown below it.
- Collectible Items: Burgees from historical yacht clubs or significant sailing events have become collectible items among sailing enthusiasts and memorabilia collectors.
- Modern Materials: With advancements in materials and printing technologies, burgees are now often made from durable synthetic fabrics like nylon, ensuring longevity and vibrant colors.