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Old Boat Has Style That Survives

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The first thing you notice as you approach M/Y www.The Next Port.com is its awkward boarding ladder, followed immediately by its awkward name.

But if you can get past that, the 47-year-old Burger has a lot to show, and to teach.

The yacht appears to be the oldest megayacht in this week’s Yacht & Brokerage Show. There are other old Burgers – the 92-foot M/Y Southern Star and the 80-foot M/Y Nobility (ex-Lad) – but they launched in 1974.

M/Y Bread, the 137-foot dark blue canoe-stern yacht that looks like it was built in the 1920s, actually launched in 2007.
Showing the 47-year-old Burger isn’t easy. A tour begins with a nimble climb up a five-step ladder. But there are some out there who know exactly what it is and go out of their way to see it up close.

“We got a lot of people who say they always wanted to see the interior on one of these,” Capt. Steve Highfill said. “It’s a sturdy boat. I really feel safe.”

The yacht is a Sparkman & Stephens design, with an aluminum hull and a shallow draft. Burger built 28 of these yachts between 1961 and 1977, the majority of which are still afloat, said John Todd, a broker with Burger Yacht Sales who has the listing. A few have a fly bridge but most were built just like this one: 63 feet long, cruiser style, with a pilot house.

The line was built to attract owners of 57-foot wooden Chris Crafts ready to move up and into something a bit easier to maintain, he said.

“There’s a real market for these yachts,” Todd said. “The hulls are really efficient. They’re easily driven. People recognize the characteristics. They were really elegant boats back then. They survived because they had a well-conceived design to begin with.”

Much of the interior has stayed loyal to its beginnings, with varnished wood panels, cap rails and pilothouse. Her main entry has always been side-to, and remains so, despite a massive refit in 2000 that saw the below-deck galley moved to the main deck, the addition of a stateroom and laundry room, and a complete rebuild of the the engine room. All the wiring in the yacht was also replaced, a move her newest captain appreciates.

“Anyone who works on the boat now loves it,” Highfill said.
But the yacht still has signs of its decade. Built in an era without air conditioning, port and starboard doors to the wheelhouse have wood-framed screen doors to keep out bugs, and the glass panel in the aft door is designed to fold down to keep breezes blowing.

She’s got cozy crew quarters for two, with access to the anchor locker through the crew shower.

Built in 1966, the yacht launched as M/Y Lady Evelyn and was known as M/Y 18-8 under the previous owner/operator who lived aboard. This is Highfill’s first command in yachting. He spent 30 years with the U.S. Navy Seals before retiring to go cruising with his wife. One thing led to another and he was hired to run this yacht. He’s been with the owner now seven years.

Since being listed in October, the yacht is a regular at the Hinckley yard in Stuart, Fla. It’s listed at $895,000.

Lucy Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome at lucy@the-triton.com.

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