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Passion for classic yachts

Patriot

Sometimes, a yacht’s historical appeal is merely a happy accident. Fort Lauderdale residents Ken and Sara Vathauer had long-admired classics, but they didn’t realize they had purchased a piece of yachting Americana when they bought a 1961 22m Burger, which they named Patriot.

‘We didn’t know the history, we just thought it was something we could do together and be proud of,’ says Sara. She was surprised to come across original plans for Sis W in a drawer.

Research revealed they were now the owners of the second of four Sis Ws commissioned by Burger for the Walgreens family. Since then, the Vathauers have had numerous serendipitous run-ins with the Walgreens.

‘We were on board at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club when I saw the fourth Sis W _on the water,’ Sara says. ‘They came close enough for me to call to the crew and tell them to let the Walgreens know their second _Sis W was alive and well.

‘The following Sunday, someone knocked and said, “Original owner requesting permission to come aboard.” That’s when we had the pleasure of meeting Jim and Ann Walgreen.’

‘[Jim] went through the boat like a kid going through a candy store, telling all of these great stories,’ says Ken. The yacht had changed since Walgreen’s childhood: a previous owner had added a flybridge, she had been repowered in 1985, and the Vathauers had recently refitted the interior.

They ran into the new Sis W again while cruising in The Bahamas. ‘Sure enough, in pulls the new Sis W, which is 39m, and they anchor right next to us,’ Sara recalls. ‘That was neat to have the grandmother next to the baby ship.’

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