Classic yacht owner Craig Lamm

6 images

Courtesy of owner

My life in boats: the self-proclaimed “Burger King” on his growing classic fleet

5 June 2024 • Written by Grace Trofa

Craig Lamm has always been infatuated with Burger boats. Grace Trofa finds out where the owner's obsession began...

I bought my first boat, a 1961 4.9-metre runabout, with my bar mitzvah money. I told my parents whatever cash comes in, it’s mine. For $800 I bought a boat, motor and trailer. Growing up, my family always had boats, mostly cruisers. When I needed a name for the boat, I asked my grandmother. She told me our name means little lamb, “shepsl” in Yiddish. 

Then I went to my maternal grandparents who were the centre of my universe, and they told me that as a child my grandfather was called a shepsl because he had these tight little curls like a lamb, so that settled it.

My second boat, at 15, was a 5.5-metre with a cuddy cabin. In those days all sons of boat owners washed boats for cash. I built up a business with 75 customers — that’s how I bought my boats.

Craig has named all his yachts Shepsl since his first 4.9-metre runabout
Courtesy of owner

All I ever wanted in life was to have a Burger; I was raised to believe that Burger was the Rolls-Royce of US-made boats.  I was in my early fifties when I bought my first Burger; it signified to me I had made it, and I was Burger Proud. I only buy classic boats, and I currently own 12. My first Burger was a 1986 26.5-metre houseboat-style custom build that I keep in Fort Lauderdale along with my centre console fishing boat. 

Also in Craig's fleet is the Burger Shepsl XI
Courtesy of owner

The second Burger is a 1974 23-metre with the same silhouette that I pined over when I was 17, and the latest is a 36-metre Burger built in 1985. She is having a refit to bring her up to my standards. The primary reason I bought her was to have a formal crew area.

In Michigan, I have seven slips at the end of my dock; it’s like having a boat show every day. I have interests in so many things, and I am a crazy eccentric but it’s so much fun. I’m told that I am the only person in the world who owns three Burgers, and so I am the Burger King — literally. I’m going to come up with a logo and have merchandise made. Why? Because I can!

Chris-Craft Shepsl XII

I’m a liveaboard. The boats are my homes and I have not lived on shore in 15 years. The biggest adjustment was it took two years to get rid of all my crap. I keep nine classic boats in Michigan, from the 1950s and 60s; my biggest wooden boat is a 1955 16-metre Chris-Craft. It has been my summer home for 30 years. I keep a full-time crew and collect awards in classic boat shows in Michigan because all my boats are in top condition.

Craig never goes to the Exumas empty-handed — Craig’s Pantry recently distributed Easter baskets there
Courtesy of owner
Credit: Getty Images

My favourite cruising ground is the Exumas. Since Covid-19, we decided to fish with purpose. My attitude has been if we take their fish I should feed them. Craig’s Pantry International was created to bring food and supplies to the Exumas primarily.

Tourism there took a big hit with Covid and still there is a great need. We tow an 11-metre Intrepid and use it to distribute supplies to the Out Islands. We are leaving for a month with seven pallets. Craig’s Pantry and Outreach in Broward County, Florida, is a program to feed Jewish people kosher food, according to their dietary needs. I also partner with a food bank in Israel; for me, sharing food is love.

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First published in the June 2024 issue of BOAT International US Edition. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

More about this yacht

Burger Boat   26.52 m •  1986

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