My life in boats: Robert Burk, owner of Our Heritage
by Grace Trofa
Superyacht owner Robert Burk went from fresh to salt water after retiring from his job as counsel of an energy company. He tells Grace Trofa how 34 metre Our Heritage became part of his family...
We are from the north-east corner of Oklahoma, where there are many lakes, so we always enjoyed bass fishing, wakeboarding and surfing.
People are surprised to learn that in Tulsa we don’t drive pickup trucks, ride around in covered wagons or live in teepees. It is a very affluent city with amazing art deco architecture from the 1920s, when all major oil companies had their headquarters there.
I am retired from my job as general counsel of a Fortune 500 energy company and our family loves to travel. For them, traveling on a big boat is the most fun way to do it.
Once we bought our second home in Naples, Florida, our interest in saltwater fishing, cruising and big boating really took off. Our first boat was a Sea Ray 510 Fly, followed by a Whaler 350 Outrage – which we still have for fishing – and then an Azimut 64 Fly. We had a lot of fun with the Azimut on trips to Key West and the Bahamas, but we couldn’t tow a fishing boat or carry jet skis.
My son, who loves boats, did the research. We always admired the Westport 112, its timeless design and that it is made in the US. Recently we attended the Westport Owners’ Weekend in Nantucket and enjoyed meeting other owners, but we almost froze to death; it was 105 degrees in Oklahoma when we left and in the 50s and raining when we landed in Newport.
The best part of cruising for my wife, Marjo, is observing the sea life. We went out to Great Point Light in Nantucket and drove right into the famous fog, but she loved watching the seals.
Our favourite place is the Exumas. We like to anchor at Big Major Cay, swim with the pigs and snorkel in Thunderball Grotto. Our three passenger Sea-Doo jet skis get the most use, but our next toy is a SeaBob, great for diving.
I fish to relax. The biggest fish I hooked was probably a 200lb goliath grouper, but you must let them go, keeping them partially submerged to remove the hook. I have caught a 50lb amberjack and some 30lb groupers. I leave the cleaning to my 19-year-old son, Connor, an expert fisherman who will join the fishing team at Oklahoma State University this fall.
We fly to Oklahoma to visit our daughter and only grandchild, and support Connor during his freshman year, and I still do (work related) things, just not going-to-the-office things, thankfully.