The sight of an online ad or sign at a harbor which reads ”Burns Craft Yachts For Sale” should spark the interest of boaters interested in the history of older, well built boats. Burns Craft yachts for sale are hard to find, but worth looking into if you run across one. Burns Craft is better known for its houseboat models but the company also produced power yachts for several years.
Burns Craft started producing houseboats in 1968 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The company was started by Charles Burns, who was running an airport fixed base operation prior to his dedicated interest in houseboats. Charles was eventually joined by his brother Jerry, who acted as purchasing agent and sales manager; and later became c0-owner of the company with his brother. The first boat delivered was a 31 foot houseboat in late 1969. For the next 10 years, Burns Craft produced well received, fiberglass hull, houseboats in sizes ranging from 31 to 50 foot. For a time, Burns-Craft also produced a 52 ft. steel-hulled houseboat model. In the late 1970′s and into the early 1980′s the company started a slow shift into the production of power cruisers and yachts. By the early 80′s the houseboat molds and plans were sold and the company focused on producing yachts. Burn-Craft produced custom ordered yachts until 1986 when the business was sold to SunRunner Yachts of Washington State. SunRunner produced just the 38 ft. yacht model until it went out of business in 1990.
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The Burns-Craft houseboats are considered to be some of the best produced in that era and many are still in use today. Their hand-laid fiberglass hulls were not bothered with hull rot like many of their contemporary brands. Charles Burns loved producing yachts and those became the mainstay of the business in the late 70′s into the 1980′s. Here is a model list of Burns-Craft yachts you may find for sale (ie, the full inventory list):
37 ft. Burns Craft Convertible Sedan Cruiser
38 ft. Burns Craft Express Cruiser, (Mid Cabin)
38 ft. Burns Craft Express – Flybridge Sedan Cruiser
40 ft. Burns Craft Aft-Cabin Motor Yacht
41 ft. Burns Craft Convertible Sedan Cruiser
48 ft. Burns Craft Aft-Cabin Motor Yacht
The 41 ft. flybridge cruiser with a 12 ft. beam was the first power cruiser produced in 1979 and was the mainstay of the company. The 40 ft. model with a 14 ft. beam came about 5 years later. The information I can find on Burns-Craft yachts show all were powered by dual inboard gas engines, similar to the power setups in their houseboats. All of the yachts produced by Burn-Craft were custom orders, processed and overseen completely by Charles & Jerry. There was only one active dealer in City Island, New York.
It appears that Burns-Craft did not produce a large number of yachts during the 7 years of yacht production. The few examples for Burns-Craft yachts for sale on the Internet seem to have held their value and are definitely a rare and lucky find for the discriminating buyer.
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