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September 2004

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



Yachting catalogue

Navigation tests

Used boats


Video Nautica

Article by
Fabio Petrone

Photos by
Pamela Jones


The history of the Burger yard, probably one of the oldest on the "Made in USA" yachting scene, began in Wisconsin during the War of Secession (1861/1865). Here the Brauburgers, a family of German origin who became more simply Burger on arrival in America, began their boat building in the person of eighteen year old Henry. Starting out as an apprentice in Milwaukee he then set up on his own, building small craft for professional fishermen, and soon became famous in the area precisely for the high quality of his work. It was not long before he began to enjoy a similar success in building big sailboats. At the same time the newborn Burger yard also got involved in refitting large vessels, an activity still carried on today.


LOA: 34.44 metres
Beam: 7.62 metres
Draft: 1.55 metres
Displacement: 193 t.
Fuel tank: 30.283 litres
Water tank: 7.192 litres
Engines 2 x 800 HP CAT 3406E.

For further information
Burger Boat Company; 1811 Spring Street; Manitowoc; WI 54220; tel. 920 684 1600; fax 920 584 6555; web site

First they dealt only with wooden ships but gradually evolved to handling all types of vessels. This development continued over the years, right down to our own times, through wars, periods of prosperity and the economic crises that affected the nation, but the fame of the Burger brand was never harmed. Nor in the same way did the financial vicissitudes over about 150 years of activity even minimally touch the shipyard's reputation. Today, run by Jim Ruffolo and David Ross, it is one of the most competitive United States brand names in the displacement motor vessel sector.

"Top Times", the aluminium boat we are presenting here, well sums up the yard's current potential with regard both to design - the first venture into a typology which the Burger Boat Company defines as "expedition/discovery yachts" - and to construction which, as we were able to see for ourselves aboard their vessels, is rigorously linked to optimal quality standards.

To all effects "Top Times" is a custom built yacht, created wholly in accordance with the instructions of the owner family, right down to the interiors and décor. In this case the design is the work of architect Linda Wietzke of the Linda Street Design studio. In close collaboration with the yard's designers she drew up solutions which not only fully exploit the spaces but also feature elegant, personal and up to date furnishings that are nonetheless well correlated with tradition. The owner's cabin, forward on the main deck, is very large, running the whole width of the hull since there are no gangways forward of amidships. The two en suite bathrooms - both with tub and separate shower - also run the whole width. The owner's cabin is further notable for its wardrobes, drawers, lockers and a central king size bed opposite which there is a unit with plasma TV. On the same level, proceeding aft, on the port side there is a handy day bathroom and on the starboard side the great galley with dinette, fitted out in a capillary manner and with decoration that is at once elegant and practical. Amidships we find the central stairs linking the decks. Beyond we come first to the dining room with a service bar and an extendable table that can seat 10. Then the saloon with L-shaped sofa, armchairs, small tables and of course a large size TV. Here a double sliding door gives access to the cockpit, also very spacious. There is a corner bar and another dining table positioned near the transom where there is also a double set of stairs down to the aft bridge.

The whole lower deck was designed for all the guest cabins - two with double and two with twin beds and all with en suite bathroom - but also for the crew's quarters. The latter consist of two cabins with bunk beds and one, right at the bow, with a central double bed for the skipper. The two night areas are of course well separated to ensure maximum privacy and, for the same reason, the "crew area" has separate stairs directly accessible from the galley. There is another cabin with bunk beds and private bathroom right at the stern, beyond the engine room.

Two levels above is the pilothouse deck where, apart from the sheltered bridge in a central position, we find a second living space, another large daytime bathroom and a series of furniture items that make the most of the area. The after part of this deck is uncovered and large enough to house two tenders, one a 16« foot sailboat and the other a 17« foot open motorboat, plus davits for launching and shipping them.

Continuing upwards, the flying bridge of "Top Times" is wholly dedicated to sunbathing and is embellished by a small hydro-massage swimming pool. Forward there is also the second command bridge, obviously unsheltered.

From the most exquisitely technical viewpoint, as we said, the hull of "Top Times" is displacement, with a rounded design that makes her especially suitable for long cruises, this due to very low fuel consumption and indubitable stability. Precisely to emphasise the latter aspect the yard equipped her with appendices of a special type created by the American company Quantum Marine Engineering and known as "Zero-Speed Stabilization". This means that roll is reduced considerably when the boat is not under way so that activities normally carried out at anchor, such as water-sports or fishing, can be enjoyed all the more.