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Building Burger's Biggest Part Two: The Construction Page 2

There are also new personnel to work with on the yacht’s interior, which the owner has decided to have designed by Vripack in Holland, the same firm overseeing naval architecture. Plans are sent from overseas, and Burger’s team has to figure out how to build them to specifications more exacting than they’ve ever attempted. “In the past, when the drawings are complete, we’ve been involved in every intimate decision,” Beilman explains. “That’s different from having drawings for a room dropped in your lap.”

Anthony Forward, formerly of North West Bay Ships, Oceanfast, and Alloy Yachts, was brought in a few months ago as director of fitout. His job is to ensure that even the invisible things—piping, wiring, insulation—are as meticulously completed as exterior surfaces, in the vein of previous builds he’s worked on such as the 228-foot Aussie Rules (now Floridian) and the 185-foot Sycara III. “We’ve got very good, schooled tradesmen, and we’ve got some brand-new machinery to help us,” he says. “They want to do a good job, and they have a lot of pride in their work. I show them photos of good wiring runs, and they’ve never seen it before. When they see it, they know straight away it’s better than what they’ve been doing. They’ve just got to learn how to do it.”

Gagnon is facing similar challenges in the welding department. The superstructure builds are the most complicated ones that he’s seen, featuring more flare than usual, more corners, and a lot of small parts. Even building the yacht’s fuel tanks has been a major challenge. Before, Burger’s workers welded them from the outside. On Time for Us they will be welded from the inside to reduce the chance of cracks and leaks. “Just that process, getting these guys into air-fed suits to see if they’re claustrophobic, which many of them were, that’s a whole day right there,” Gagnon laments. “A year from now we’re going to have one strong team here at Burger. This is our learning curve.”

Burger Boat Company has made large investments to bring the Civil War-era yard into the modern age of yacht constructioin. The company's new assets include a building shed tall enough for superstructures to be placed atop hulls indoors where the climate is controlled, as opposed to out in the open air.

Into this mix, virtually every day, comes the owner. When Jack is not at the yard, he’s on the phone. Project management firm “Patton [Marine] made the comment that as far as they’re concerned, I’m the most involved owner they’ve had—and I think that was a negative,” Jack says. “I spend a couple of hours a day working on it. I’m enjoying the process.”

So there are more managers than have ever worked on a Burger; dozens more craftsmen, many of them new, working more shifts; new machinery they’ve never used or even seen; various captains; and a highly involved owner with not just continual demands, but also about $30 million on the line.

It’s easy to see how the timetable might be compromised.

And we haven’t even gone down the street to the new furniture shop yet.

SETTING NEW STANDARDS

For the past two months, craftsmen have been turning select mahogany planks into an entry door, wall, window frame, and dresser with raised-panel doors and corner details. Their work has been to the exacting specifications of the plans sent from Vripack, yet not a scrap of it will end up onboard Time for Us. It’s just a sample for Jack and his wife, Marilyn, to approve before construction on the real interior can begin.

BUILDING BURGER'S BIGGEST

Part One: The Vision
In the first of a three-part series, we go inside to follow a 155-foot yacht from concept to completion.

Part Two: The Construction
Team turnovers and learning-curve delays threaten the delivery timetable for the 155-foot Time for Us.

Time for Us = Time for You?
Time for Us is available for sale.

This article originally appeared in the February 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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