Wisconsin-based shipyard Burger is known for its pedigree custom builds between 24 and 46 metres, but more recently has begun to venture into smaller cruisers. In the latest episode our lockdown series At Home With BOAT, Burger's vice-president of sales and marketing Ron Cleveringa describes the chance encounter that led to the production of yard's first 14 metre 48 Cruiser.
“It's a crazy story,” said Cleveringa. “My wife and I were enjoying a Saturday afternoon in a nice anchorage in Door County, Wisconsin, with our boat and our dog. We're putzing along and we hear ‘I love your dog’. My wife replied with ‘I love your boat’ and the next thing we know we’re boarding their boat and the owner finds out I’m with Burger. He got excited and said, ‘I was wondering if you would ever consider building a 40 foot boat?’ One thing led to another and the first 48 Cruiser Blue Boat Home was built and delivered in 2018.”
While building smaller vessels might seem like new territory for Burger, Cleveringa sees it as revisiting the yard's early years. “We're looking back to our past. If you go back in our records, in the 1950s the boats were 50 foot in length. In the 60s they went to 60 feet, in the 70s, 70 feet, and it went that way through to the 2000s when they jumped to over 100 foot yachts."
According to Cleveringa, the 14 metre cruiser has opened the door to a new clientele in the market for a smaller vessel. “It’s brought a lot of new inquiries into these smaller yachts,” so much so that the yard began building the second 48 Cruiser hull on speculation - delivered earlier this year - as well as construction on a newly developed 50 Cruiser.
“It's a great entry point for someone looking for an alternative to production boats, something that they can customise and make their own."
Burger's Wisconsin yard has the capacity to build custom yachts up to 60 metres in length. To date, the American shipbuilder has only built yachts below the 500GT threshold but in 2014 unveiled plans for a 65.4 metre tri-deck concept. “We're always looking at different opportunities. We are a custom yard. That's our DNA. Building custom boats is our comfort zone."
As well as superyachts, the shipyard is also heavily engaged in commercial vessel construction, refit and repair. "There are so many commercial vessels on the Great Lakes they keep us busy on that side of the business."
In fact, it's the commercial construction that allowed the yard to continue operations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. "Since passenger vessels are part of the transportation infrastructure we were deemed essential so we were able to remain open. We're just wrapping up after one of the busiest winters we've had in a while."
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