It all started with a dog.
The owner of the 30-foot Apreamare Divina had anchored at her favorite beach in Door County, Wisconsin, and was swimming off the stern when she spotted a couple with a golden retriever dinghying around the harbor. “I called out, ‘I love your dog!’” she says. “The wife yelled back, ‘We love your boat!’”
Divina had served the owner well for 17 years, zipping through the waters of northern Lake Michigan at 30 knots in Italian-crafted style. But Divina just didn’t have the range to traverse the great lake, and the owner’s frequent guests were now older and needed more room. It was time for a bigger boat, but the owner wasn’t sure what it should be.
The owner invited the couple aboard Divina, and introductions were made as she swam back to the boat. The husband was Ron Cleveringa, vice president of sales and marketing at Burger Boat Company.
“I’m in the water saying, ‘Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?’” the owner recalls with a laugh. “I asked him, ‘Would Burger make me a 40-foot boat?’ He shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Yes.’”
A couple weeks later, in August 2016, the owner met with Cleveringa and President and CEO Jim Ruffolo at Burger’s headquarters in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In describing all she wanted in a small cruiser, the owner ran through a checklist honed over a lifetime on the water.
“The first thing, the most important thing, was it had to be beautiful,” she says. “I wanted it to have a classic look and feel. It had to have the most up-to-date of everything possible: new design, new engineering, new technology. I wanted people to be able to sit comfortably on the bow and at the stern. It had to have two staterooms and a beautiful dining and galley area. And it absolutely had to go fast.”
It was clear from the start that 48 feet, not 40, would be the right fit for her vision. The custom Burger 48 Cruiser named Blue Boat Home, Burger’s first build of that size, delivered on every single one of the owner’s must-haves and more.
Developed in conjunction with Vripack Naval Architects in the Netherlands, Blue Boat Home marries classic design and modern styling. The pairing of twin 600 hp Volvo Penta D8-IPS800 engines with Vripack’s Slide Hull provides a cruising speed of 30 knots.
“It feels like we’re hardly moving because it’s so smooth,” she says. “And because of the pod system and direct steering, the responsiveness is immediate. The boat maneuvers like a runabout, not a multiton 48-foot cruiser. I have the joystick for docking and other tight maneuvers and can make the boat go absolutely, perfectly sideways.”
For the owner, her view from the helm highlights Burger’s craftsmanship and attention to detail. “I have a gorgeous one-piece glass windshield that is unlike anything elsewhere,” she says. “And the helm seat they made me is just amazing. I can stand on the footrest and raise the seat up 18 inches, so I can see all around the boat.”
Guests enter the salon from the stern through a pair of curved sliding glass doors.
“Burger Boats knew I loved curves because of the way Divina was designed,” she says. “The doors are absolutely exquisite.”
The owner, a singer, named Blue Boat Home after her favorite hymn. Having worked with Wisconsin-based designer Celeste Wegman for more than a decade on home-interior projects, the owner knew Wegman was the right person to create a personal nautical retreat to match the spirit of the boat’s name.
“I wanted people to feel comfortable putting their feet up right away,” the owner says, “but there had to be an elegance about it as well. And while I wanted it to look nautical, I didn’t want it to be cliché.”
Fabrics in the main salon are a mix of classic pastel blue-and-white ticking and a bold, modern abstract pattern, both tying in with a solid-blue countertop. Maple soles and rich cherry joinery gleam in the sunlight. Taupe and cream create a soothing palette in the owner’s stateroom, which was designed with stowage in mind. A tile mosaic wave ripples across the master shower.
Since Blue Boat Home launched in summer 2018, the owner has finally made her long-desired traverse of Lake Michigan, and has hosted numerous guests on shorter forays.
“Every time I walk down the dock,” she says, “I look at my boat and shake my head and think, ‘I can’t believe the boat is mine. It’s really mine.’”