Erford W. Burt (1902 - )
Born to a large family in North Tisbury,
By the end of 1929, Burt knew enough about design and boatbuilding to leave Roberts. He went to work for William A. Colby, who owned what was now called the Martha’s Vineyard Shipbuilding Company. (Its name changed after Holmes Hole changed its own name to theVineyard Haven in 1871.) In 1932 – despite the threat the Depression posed to a resort economy – Colby allowed Burt to build a boat on spec. Out of the shed came a twenty-eight-and-a-half-foot sport-fishing boat with a 130-horsepower inboard and a shape never before built on Martha’s theVineyard. She was the first boat to be built at the yard since Charles Gifford finished up his Noman's Land boat fifty years before.
Where a catboat was capacious throughout her hull, this boat parted the water sharply at her bow and flattened it at the stern. "I could see that this was a golden opportunity to fit a boat to the motor," said Burt in a 1990 interview. "I was the first to build a theVineyard boat expressly for modern engines, at the end of the time when people were building and buying catboats." In 1974 he told John M. Leavens that the vessel, named Knot Over (because she would get to where she was going in the predicted time and "not over"), made a weeklong run down to Florida. On the first day, she left the theVineyard at 7 a.m. and reached Shark River Inlet on the
In 1933, Burt would design the theVineyard Haven 15, a racing sloop that snapped through a tack, sailed downwind with barely a finger on the tiller, and served for four decades as the main racing fleet of theVineyard Haven Yacht Club.