About Our Boat

Orontes II under gennakerSailing on a light wind dayDSC02287Our Salon table

Lots of people have asked for details about our boat, so I thought I would take a few minutes to describe her.

First, she was built in 1989 in Surrey, Canada, near Vancouver.  She is a custom designed Amazon 49, and is literally the only boat of her design in the world.  The initial design was started by a naval architect named Grahame Shannon and she was finished by Robert Perry.  Robert Perry is a very famous naval architect with a long list of successful designs that are sailing the world’s waters today.  Grahame Shannon pioneered the use of computer aided design for ships and boats, and has designed numerous vessels.  There are a number of smaller Amazons that were built and they have a reputation as great boats with excellent construction.

She is built of steel with lots of teak woodwork below.  She is cutter rigged, which means she has a mainsail, a jib, and a staysail.  This provides a very flexible sailplan for the variable winds encountered in offshore sailing.  She has a very easy motion when sailing.  With her length and weight, she really smooths out seas and there is not a lot of sharp, jerking action that you may get from lighter and smaller vessels.  She has long legs, and can really cover ground when underway.

Living quarters consists of two cabins, each with double berths.  The forward berth is where we sleep when in port or at anchor since it is the largest, about equal to a queen-sized bed.  The berth in the aft cabin is a bit smaller but is much more comfortable when underway since it is closer to the center of the boat and therefore has a gentler motion.  Most 49 foot boats have three or more cabins, but Robert Perry and the original owners wanted a more spacious, open design.  Therefore the salon, galley, and navigation station are all in one very large open space.  When you first come down below, it is apparent that a lot of work and thought went into making the boat very livable for two to four people.

The galley is large, and features a large double sink that is similar in size to most house kitchens, a propane stove with oven, refrigerator, large separate freezer, trash compactor, and one of the smallest microwave ovens you have ever seen.  There is a lot of storage space for utensils, pots, pans, etc.  For cooking on deck, we have a propane grill and a real nice teak table for dining in the cockpit.  We have 300 gallons of water in tanks below the sole, and carry about 15 gallons of emergency water in pint and gallon jugs.

Almost everything on the boat is oversized and super strong.  The original construction was excellent, and if they had a choice, the yard installed almost everything one or two sizes larger than was required.  The result is a very strong boat that sails great with very sweet lines.

When not sailing we have a 100 horsepower inboard diesel engine.  We carry 300 gallons of fuel, which is a lot for most cruising sailboats.  We also have a diesel generator for providing 120 Volt power, but we don’t use it very much.

We have central air conditioning, but will only use it while in port.  At anchor, the tropical breezes keep us very comfortable.

We have been busy with lots of upgrades and improvements.  We have new sails, new canvaswork for the cockpit to protect us from sun and sea when sailing offshore, new opening ports (the old ones leaked), new VHF and HF radios for short and long-range communication, respectively, a wifi booster for internet access, and other projects too numerous to list.  A major upgrade of the electronics system was required to make navigation safe and easy and I’ll describe it in brief.

When we brought the boat to Texas from La Paz, Mexico, we sailed and motored 5000 miles using only a handheld GPS and paper charts.  The compass was off by 5 to 40 degrees depending on our heading, and was almost useless.  We could more accurately guess our heading by looking at the sun than the compass.  We now have a new compass at the helm which is designed for steel vessels and a large display to show our position, boat speed, water depth, radar, or almost anything else you may need.  There is a shiny new autopilot to steer the boat and working wind instrumentation to show wind speed and direction.  A second display down below at the nav station can show the same information.  Since this unit is so handy, the one at the nav station is identical to the one at the helm, so we can move them around in case one fails.  If anyone is interested, everything is manufactured by Simrad, except the AIS which is from a company named Sitex.  We are very happy with our new equipment and recommend it highly.

In summary, we are very happy with our new home.  She doesn’t have quite as much room as our home in Aledo, but the back yard is much larger!


7 thoughts on “About Our Boat

  1. Wanted to make sure you knew that Greg came through his surgery and we are hopefully that he will be home soon. Sarah is serving as nurse. I am back at work but will visit again this next weekend. I love your blog and photos. It sounds like you are having a wonderful adventure. Always in my prayers! Love you!

  2. Laura,
    We just met friends of yours in Cape May, NJ. Linda and Allan Fraser from Scotland. Linda suggested that I get in touch with you as we are planning to head to the Med in another year. Getting ourselves and the boat ready. I would love any information you are willing to share. Trying to compile a succinct list of questions so I don’t bother you to much.

    Thanks so much – Melanie Dillard
    s/v Talaria

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