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58 ft Richard O. Davis/ Henry B. Nevins Motorsailer 1950 - Sold



58 ft Richard O. Davis/ Henry B. Nevins Motorsailer 1950

Designer Richard O. Davis
Builder Henry B Nevins Inc City Is NY
Date 1950
Length overall 57 ft 6 in / 17.53 m
Length deck 57 ft 6 in / 17.53 m
Length waterline 49 ft 6 in / 15.09 m
Beam 15 ft 0 in / 4.57 m
Draft 6 ft 0 in / 1.83 m
Displacement 33 Tonnes
Construction Mahogany over cedar on white oak
Engine General Motors GM 6-71
Location USA
Price Sold

These details are provisional and may be amended



BURMA is no ordinary yacht: one for the connoisseur of the best in American design and build; an exquisite rendezvous of the William Hand motorsailer legacy and the legendary construction and materials standards of the Henry B. Nevins yard. Key to her understated, brave and fine appearance is the designer, Richard O. Davis, who worked as draughtsman of Hand’s concepts for 14 years, then became Nevins’ in-house designer. BURMA has been a long-distance, short-handed cruiser, and a race boat mothership, most recently for east coast USA classics. Wherever she goes and whatever role she is playing, BURMA catches the eye not just because she’s a classic, but also because she is something really special. And once on board, BURMA completely lives up to first impressions.



- Bottom paint stripped
- Seams payed with underwater compound and red leaded
- Installation of Simrad autopilot
- 10 x New house batteries

- Repairs by Gannon & Benjamin to engine room deck box

- Re-paint and re-varnish spars & entire boat

- Addition of Lewmar self-tailing halyard winches
- Reconfiguration of anchor rode, hawsepipe and chain locker
- Main salon refit to include reconfiguration of port berths as originally drawn
- Addition of ratlines on mainmast shrouds
- Addition of code zero roller-furler jib
- Varnish exterior & spars

- Varnish exterior & spars
- Replaced batteries
- Replaced bilge pumps

- Addition of deck boxes for additional on-deck stowage
- Replaced interior cushions and fabrics
- Replaced all bedding with memory foam mattresses
- Re-paint and re-varnish entire boat

- Wheelhouse - significant exterior cosmetic upgrades and varnish
- Addition of nameboards on wheelhouse roof
- Wheelhouse significant interior cosmetic upgrade
- Navigation upgrade to integrated Simrad Glass Bridge
- Installed Hydronic 4-zone central heating system
- Installed new hot-water heating system
- Varnish exterior & Spars

- Removal of ballast keel, re-bed and refit with new keel bolts
- Refastened entire bottom with USA made bronze screws
- Below deck tankage was out for keel bolt replacement
- Entire bilge cleaned and treated with Allblack organic linseed oil
- New black water holding tank

- Re-paint and re-varnish entire boat & spars

- Custom SeaFrost 110 Volt Refrigeration unit was installed in engine room
- Stbd fwd engine room bulkhead was rebuilt with G-10 structural panel
- Awlgrip finished; Insulation replaced with solid foam



Henry B. Nevins Design No. 416; Build No. 697

It is said that William Hand's instantly recognizable motorsailer designs evolved from his love for sword fishing, and that such was Hand's sword fishing passion, in his absence (to be fair, also in marketing his firm's creations) all the real design work was executed by his assistant, Richard O. Davis. Certainly one of the first Hand motorsailers, NOR'EASTER - built for the Dupont family who cruise her to this day - came out a year after Davis was hired in 1926. By the dawning of America's involvement in the Second World War, Hand had retired and Davis moved from Fairhaven, Mass, to City Island, New York, recruited by the Henry B. Nevins yard to work on the design of minesweepers and air sea rescue vessels. Post-war, Davis became Nevins' in-house designer and is particularly remembered for the three striking, eliptical-sterned motorsailers HOLIDAY (82 ft, 1947), SEER (66ft, 1949) and BURMA (58 ft, 1950).

Combining his development of the William Hand motorsailer form with maths-based experience developing displacement hull forms for the U.S. Navy during the war, with these three yachts Davis conceived what is recognised as the pinnacle of the motorsailer form: an easily driven, powerful, and perfectly balanced hull form, representing the final chapter in the history of the original American Motorsailer.

Laid down in 1949, BURMA was completed in 1950, the last of the three, built to best-in-class Nevins Standard: the finest lumber, purpose built custom cast bronze hardware throughout and the finest workmanship. Her commissioning owner was Larchmont and New York (where he became member #1) Yacht Clubs member Frank S. Bissell, one of the true characters of American post-war yachting and amateur sport. He'd been a champion wrestler (inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame just before his death aged 99 in 2012), and coach.

This BURMA was Frank Bissell's second, and during the early 1950s he had them both at the same time. The first was a 1939 53 ft John G. Alden Yawl, previously famous as TIOGA TOO, in which Bissell won Class A in the first two editions - 1947 and 1949 - of the Newport-Annapolis Race from storied opposition, including ARGYLL, BARUNA, BOLERO, CARIBBEE, DJINN, GESTURE, HIGHLAND LIGHT, NINA, NIRVANA, ROYONO, TICONDEROGA and VAMARIE.

Frank Bissell would own the motorsailer BURMA for 32 years until 1981. Then her second owner was with her for 24 years. Such long periods in the same care always bode well for a yacht, with BURMA carefully laid up each winter and impeccably maintained. This Coles Phinizy 1970 Sports Illustrated account of future 'adventure broker' Buddy Bombard pestering Bissell to take him ocean racing serves as an example of life aboard a BURMA at this time:

" In 1947, only a year after he started serving as a willing and able deck-ape in class boats, Bombard got the urge to 'grade up' and try ocean racing as well. Most ocean-racing skippers understandably are reluctant to take a 14-year-old lad to sea, particularly the untried child of a landlubber family. Realizing that his best chance for a berth would be on a large boat, Bombard focused on Burma, a 53-foot yawl owned by a vice-commodore of the Larchmont Yacht Club named Frank Bissell. Bombard plagued Bissell at the yacht club, accosted him a number of times in his New York office and tracked him to his home in Larchmont. 'I leaned so heavily on Frank Bissell,' Bombard says, 'that he finally took me.'

" By intuition or luck, Bombard had singled out a skipper who understood such youthful verve... When Bissell's Burma was in port, breakfast was never served until the deck was scrubbed and all the brass was shining bright. 'I came on deck once,' Bombard remembers, 'and saw Bissell chipping the brown paint off the hawsepipe, and I thought, 'Oh, boy, now he's found more brass to polish.' "

During the 2nd decade of this century, under a previous ownership BURMA acted as classic regatta mothership to the William Fife International 8-Metre QUEST and the Herreshoff New York 50 SPARTAN. There can be no doubting her suitability for such a role, and her original owner's 32,000 miles of cruising singlehanded proves just how handy and comfortable this wonderful yacht can be.

Extensive original drawing sets for BURMA are preserved and available at the M.I.T. Hart Nautical Collection in Cambridge, Mass., USA.

©2024 Iain McAllister/ Sandeman Yacht Company Ltd.



- Double Planked Hull
- 1⅛ in/ 28 mm Honduras mahogany over ½ in/ 12 mm white cedar
- Bronze Screw Fastened; butt blocks bolted
- White oak back-bone
- 2½ in x 2⅝ in Steam bent white oak frames
- 2¾ in x 2½ in Sawn frames aft.
- 9000 lb/ 4 Tonnes Lead ballast keel
- 1¼ in/ 32 mm Silicon bronze keel bolts (1998)
- Full length ½ in/ 12 mm thick bronze keel shoe; joins stem band
- Heavy teak fore and main decks with break just fwd of the deck-house doors
- Deck screws replaced and seams re-payed 1987-89
- Mahogany trunk and deckhouse
- Mahogany plywood cabin roofs; recovered with Dynel/epoxy (1987)
- Bolderon ice sheathing (1993)



- Varnished mahogany bulwark capping rail
- Painted bronze bulwark stanchions
- All metal fittings are bronze

- 2 x Bronze Panama fairleads aft
- 2 x belaying pins at taffrail
- Bronze Panama fairleads at quarter port and starboard
- Wood belaying cleats at bronze bulwark stanchions port and starboard
- Ensign staff socket
- Painted bronze book gallows
- Painted and varnished stowage boxes/ benches port and starboard
- Right aft becomes a deck level sofa offering shelter and privacy

- Aft facing seating to starboard over large engine room hatch
- (Engine room include the original engineer's bunk)
- Lewmar 30 bronze self-tailing winch to stbd for all normal weather main sheeting
- Ship's bell
- Door to deck saloon/ wheelhouse
- Varnished teak rain gutter/ hand rail at roof margin
- 2 x Bronze cowl vents to engine room
- 3 x Opening windscreens

- Bronze Panama fairleads port and starboard
- Wood belaying cleats at bronze bulwark stanchions port and starboard
- Sliding doors port and starboard
- Deck break to raised foredeck
- Monel guardrail stanchions running forwards with stainless steel guard wire
- Merriman No. 7 geared sheet winches (for the loose-footed main in heavy weather
- Sheets leading to snatch blocks on the gallows frame
- then to snatch blocks on the rail tee-track & fwd to the winches

- Trunk cabin over galley, heads and saloon
- Merriman No. 3 winches port and starboard on trunk roof for jib sheets
- Foghorn
- Mahogany and plexiglass hatch for galley 110 V extractor fan
- Teak and Mahogany butterfly skylight over main saloon

- Bronze Panama fairleads port and starboard
- Bronze Herreshoff-type mooring cleats port and starboard
- Varnished teak and mahogany butterfly skylight over master stateroom
- Ideal H.D. 110 V DC Anchor Windlass; chain gipsy; warping drum
- Danforth 65 lb anchor
- (Spare Danforth 65 lb anchor)
- Varnished and painted rode/ warps stowage boxes port and starboard
- Varnished teak, mahogany and plexiglass hatch over fo'c'sle
- Bronze-capped teak Sampson post
- Bronze hawsepipes port and starboard
- 200 ft ⅜ in/ 9 mm BBB chain
- 2 x ⅞ in/ 21 mm Nylon rodes
- Bronze mooring fairleads port and starboard



- Spacious and yet private accommodation for five to six
- High quality carpentry throughout
- Entire interior finished off-white paint with varnished Mahogany trim
- Varnished teak & holly sole
- Many opening ports and ventilators
- Full, well thought-out screening for all openings including the sliding doors

Head Room beneath the Beams in the various areas is as follows:
- Fo’c’sle: 6 ft 0in/
- Fwd WC: 6 ft 3in/
- Fwd Stateroom: 6ft 3 in/
- Main Saloon: 6 ft 4 in/ (7 ft 10in beneath the Trunk area)
- Galley and aft WC: 7ft 10 in
- Deckhouse: 6 ft 5 in

From aft:

- Aft entrance offset to port from aft deck
- Sliding side doors port and starboard
- Spacious; well lit; excellent visibility
- Deckhead light; 2 x shaded lights
- Deckhead grab rails
- Large “L” settee aft to starboard
- Hatch under to engine room
- Drawers/ stowage under
- New mahogany drop-leaf dining table to original design
- Table also fixes to aft deck with stowage boxes moved inwards as seating
- Drop-down mahogany serving table to port
- Ingenious bronze stowing mechanism, flat against deck house side
- Helm station fwd, to port of companionway
- Fiddled top
- Bronze ship's wheel with hardwood spoke ends
- Chart plotter
- Swivel mahogany seat on a bronze Pedestal
- Bronze footrest
- Steering access hatch
- Electrical panel
- Engine panel over midships companionway
- Chart table to stbd of companionway
- Chart reading light
- Fiddled tops
- Steering compass
- Drawers under
- Electrical panel

- Swings up to enter engine room

- Large stainless steel counter and sink
- Paloma propane on-demand hot water unit
- Traditional Shipmate propane Four Burner Stove
- Overhead oven outboard
- 15 cu ft/ 420 L Stainless steel fridge/ freezer
- Large stainless steel side opening door aft
- Custom 110 V SeaFrost refrigeration unit (2013)
- Generous stowage lockers and shelves

- Groco Model “K” sea toilet and porcelain basin
- Large Shower
- Well made stowage lockers and cabinet
- Strip light
- Shaded light

- Partially under trunk cabin
- Mahogany sideboard to port
- 4 x Large drawers; mahogany top; removable fiddles
- Lighted china closet over; leaded glass doors
- Mahogany sideboard to stbd
- Drawers; mahogany top; removable fiddles
- Especially spacious and well laid out
- Comfortable pilot berth to stbd
- BURMA half-model at forward bulkhead
- Wide chart drawers under
- Full hanging locker fwd
- Settee to stbd, inboard of pilot berth.
- Comfortable back-rest can form additional berth when desired
- 2 x more wide drawers are under settee
- Comfortable pilot berth to port
- Book shelf above
- Drawers under
- Settee to port inboard of the Pilot Berth
- Can form additional berth when desired
- Stowage lockers are below and outboard
- Mast position

- Comfortable, wide single berths port and starboard
- Shelves outboard; very spacious drawers under
- Bureau aft to port with drawers & lower locker
- Mirror
- Butterfly skylight over
- Deckhead owner's compass
- 2 x Shaded Reading lights
- Strip light

- Generous hanging locker to stbd
- Groco Model “K” sea toilet and porcelain basin to port
- Cabinets and linen lockers
- Strip light

- Hanging locker and shelves to port
- Ladder leading up to mahogany/ plexiglass forehatch
- Upper Berth to stbd; lockers under
- Stowage lockers fwd
- Deckhead light



- G.M. 6-71 Diesel (1962)
- Model 6071-A; rated at approx. 185 hp
- Fresh water cooled via heat exchanger
- Wet exhaust
- Allison 3:1 reduction gear (1962)
- 2½ in/ 63 mm Monel shaft
- 3 x Blade Federal 'True-Pitch' Nibral 36 x 28 RH propeller
- Cruising speed 8.5 - 8.7 kts @ 1450 RPM
- 9.4 kts Hull speed @1650 RPM

- 3 x Battery banks
- House system 110 V DC with 10 x heavy duty 12 V batteries (2023)
- Davidson Marine very heavy duty 50 A 110 V alternator
- 12 V System for electronics: 2 x Group 31 deep cycle (2013)
- 12 V Engine starting batteries: 2 x Group 31 (2012)
- Separate 12 V alternators for electronics and starting banks
- Phasor 2.5 kW 110 V AC auxiliary generator
- 110 V Shore power system with 12 V & 110 V chargers

- 570 Gal fuel total: tanks in engine room in engine room
- In heavily built 3/8”/ 9mm iron 285 Gal. tanks port and starboard
- Each tank has large inspection plates
- Range: approx. 1300 nautical miles
- 315 Gal Water in 3 x Monel tanks
- 30 Gal Hypalon holding tank



- Varnished hollow sitka spruce mast
- Beautiful traditional bronze hardware including a Storm-Tri sail track and gate
- Stainless steel standing rigging (1998)
- Ratlines
- Heavy Merriman bronze turnbuckles and hardware throughout
- Merriman reel type geared halyard winches with stainless steel halyards
- Folding bronze footstep for main halyard access

Down’s Sails 1995
- Loose-footed mainsail or trisail - 307 sq ft/ 29 sq m
- Loose-footed furling jib - 255 sq ft/ 24 sq m
- Larger (older, but in good condition, rarely used) 'Main” - 504 sq ft/ 47 sq m

- White Sunbrella sail covers
- Aft deck awning new 2010 of Top Gun multi-ply marine fabric (2010)
- Foredeck awning
- Fitted Sunbrella covered cushions for aft deck seats and around the stern deck area
- Well made Vivatex custom winter cover with door; take-apart wood frame (2007)



- Raytheon R-40 Radar
- Garmin 545 small GPS plotter
- Nobletec Odyssey software; Apple 13 in/ 33 cm retina display MacBookPro (2013)
- Furuno LS-6100 Depth Sounder
- Kelvin-White 8 in/ 20 cm Compass in 12 in/ 30 cm dia. chrome binnacle
- Simrad Autopilot (2023)
- 6 in/ 15 cm Chelsea clock and barometer.

- Icom M-127 VHF



- Pains Wessex 406 EPIRB
- Fireboy-Xintex manual/auto clean agent engine room fire system (2013)
- Xintex propane fumes detector
- Rule 3700 1½ in/ 38 mm electric bilge pump
- Jabsco ¾ in/ 19 mm 110 V DC service pump for shower and plumbed to bilge
- 1½ in/ 38mm Edson manual diaphram bilge pump
- Heavy duty 3-valved 110 Volt bilge pump system each compartment
- Beautifully made emergency tiller
- Bronze bell
- Compressed air Cunningham horn
- Flares
- 12 x Life preservers (Type 1 and 2)
- 3 x Safety harnesses and jackline
- Revere Coastal “Commander” liferaft
- 2 x Life rings
- Hand held searchlight



- ABI ABI3AL 13 ft Aluminium bottom inflatable tender (2019)
- Black Sunbrella custom tubes cover
- Evinrude 30 hp outboard motor (2022)
- Docking lights set in hull fwd (rebuilt 2009)
- 8 x Heavy duty dock lines
- 3 x Boat hooks
- 4 x Large fenders
- Spreader lights
- Mahogany folding boarding ladder
- Tools in engine room
- Many spare parts, including:
- c.$700-worth of 40 W bulbs for the six Lumaline II incandescent fixtures below
- for the Paloma water heater
- Blankets & pillows
- Glassware, dishes
- Cooking utensils; crockery/ flatware


These particulars have been prepared from information provided by the vendors and are intended as a general guide. The purchaser should confirm details of concern to them by survey or engineers inspection. The purchaser should also ensure that the purchase contract properly reflects their concerns and specifies details on which they wish to rely.


Sandeman Yacht Company

Brokerage Of Classic & Vintage Yachts