The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Summertime... And Your Burgee Needs Replacing...

Jennifer Handley

June 3rd, 2015

That’s right, summer is around the corner and it is high time to get out onto the water, if you haven’t already done so.  And when you do, what is the state of your BCA burgee?  Is it brand spanking new, never been flown?  Is it looking pretty good, excitedly awaiting the first hoist of the season?  Is it limply hanging, faded and forlorn, where you left it last winter?  Can you tell it has seen better days when you pull it from the locker?  Or do you find yourself muttering, “Burgee? What burgee?”

Depending on your answer to any of the above questions, you will be delighted to hear that BCA has just received a supply of new and improved burgees from our new supplier, Lana Wong (who also happens to be a BCA member), and they are all looking for new homes (aka boats).  You can order your burgee online using Credit Card or PayPal, or if you are in Victoria or Vancouver, you can purchase one (and a spare) at the upcoming June club night, with cash or cheque.

To address various concerns raised over the past year or so, we are pleased to report that these new burgees are made with 9lb break-strength clear SolarFix PTFE (Teflon) thread that is immune to UV rays, acid rain (heaven forbid!), cleaning solution chemicals or extreme weather (please not in BC this summer…), will not mildew or rot, and is inflammable to 550F melting point.  Five times more expensive, but guaranteed to outlast the fabric!

The stitching has been changed too; it is double-straight on the edges to increase strength, and the point edge is reinforced with four lines.  The fabric is 200 denier nylon, including the hanging edge (instead of cotton polyester tape), and is three times more durable.  Lastly, the grommets are 100% solid brass.

Of course, because we are cruisers and want to get our monies’ worth when we buy anything for our boats, be sure to take these critical steps to extend the life of your burgee:

  • Remember to take it down and store inside when not in use.
  • Hand wash with gentle mild detergent, cool water, no bleach, hang dry. (Keep your burgee away from petroleum and chemical products.)
  • Take the burgee down during storms whenever possible, as high winds, especially when accompanied by rain, will cause damage.
  • Check the fly end of the burgee for signs of wear. If wear appears, the worn part should be cut off and the burgee re-hemmed.
  • Never fold or store a burgee when it is wet, because wet burgees mildew and this ruins the fabric. Let it hang dry completely before putting away.

Best of all?  There is no price increase!  A mere $28 will get you a brightly coloured, beautiful burgee that you can enjoy and fly with pride.  Another “ripple effect” of a new burgee is that no one will wonder what on earth you are flying and it’s sure to attract attention, as everyone wants to know about the amazing things that BCA does for its members!  So while you’re in that “feeling-good-about-BCA-and-summer” mode, grab a couple of the BCA promotional postcards at Club Night (created by Advertiser Watchkeeper, Norm Cooper) to keep onboard, so you can give one to all those interested wannabee-BCA-members.

Lastly, for those who always appreciate a bit more history, the BCA burgee came about as a result of a competition held amongst the founding members of BCA in July 1978.  In true Canadian style, those first Watchkeepers had their own “great flag debate”.  As a guideline, three main criteria were established to assist with the selection process:

  1. The burgee should be clearly recognizable from the top of a 50’ mast;
  2. It should be easy to make by hand (from scraps of material likely to be found on a cruising yacht); and,
  3. It should be handsome and meaningful.

Through a process of elimination and modification, 12 original burgee designs were reduced to four and these were then displayed on a board.  The Watchkeepers were asked to rank these four in order of preference, by secret ballot.  The result was virtually unanimous, based on a design by Teresa Lucas.The burgee that flies today at your masthead or yardarm was deemed to meet all of the above criteria and has a simple, straightforward interpretation:  “The BCA burgee depicts an ocean swell at sunset, which beckons us offshore.”



  1. Chuck Gauthier says:

    Nice article, I am a buyer when I get home this summer

    1. Jennifer Handley says:

      Thanks, Ken! There are burgees in Calgary if you happen to be in YYC and can coordinate where/when etc with Magnus ( or you can purchase online if that is easier. Hope you’ve had a great cruising year!

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