Burma is often mistaken for a William Hand, Jr., motorsailer— not surprising when you consider that she is a Richard O. Davis design. He was the draughtsman (and collaborator) on many yacht designs with Hand. When Hand died in 1946, Davis joined the Henry B. Nevins Yard in City Island, New York. Burma was built there in 1950, fashioned with a double-planked hull of 1¹⁄8-inch Honduras mahogany over ½-inch white cedar, and bronze-screw fastened. She has a white-oak backbone with steam-bent white-oak frames and a 9,000-pound lead ballast keel. Her trunk and deckhouse are mahogany. In short, Burma is a very graceful tank, and Michael and Debbie, who have owned her for 23 years, have kept her in absolutely immaculate condition. Michael explained that Burma has never had to be restored: She has simply been maintained to such high standards that she is as new. (I wish someone had done that for me!)
We had an overcast morning as we motored up Eggemoggin Reach and into Jericho Bay, did a tour through Southwest Harbor, and then grabbed a mooring in Northeast Harbor. Karyn and I rowed the peapod dinghy ashore and tied up at the public landing at the base of Asticou Hill and Eliot Mountain, which is maintained by the Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve. We climbed the Asticou Terraces of the Thuya Gardens to see the beautiful view and toured Thuya Lodge, where noted landscape architect Joseph Curtis, one of Northeast Harbor’s founders, once lived. Then we rowed back to Burma and returned to the Benjamin River mooring.
Maine is one of my favorite places in the world, and I’ve seen a good portion of our planet. First of all, nature has gifted the coastline with deep coves, rocky shores, towering spruces, and spectacular sunsets. The water is cold, the air is crisp, and the overall effect is bracing. It’s hard to feel sluggish or lazy in Maine. And for boat lovers? Come on…Maine is just stupid, the epicenter of gorgeous vessels—every harbor we visited was full of rugged-looking lobster boats, pretty trawlers, and stunning sailboats. And it seems like beautiful wooden classics are as common in this part of the world as blueberries or lobsters.