Other Frequent Visiting Vessels to
Frequent Visiting Vessel to Mystic Seaport
Located next to the Visitor Reception Center
This distinctive British screw schooner was built at Southampton in 1885 from designs by the renowned Dixon Kemp. Kemp intended her to be 'fast and a good seaboat' and her successful sea trials were recorded in his definitive Yacht Architecture (First Edition, 1885).
Carvel planked in teak and pitch pine on oak frames, with alternate wrought iron strap floor reinforcement, bronze fastenings, lead keel and copper sheathing, Amazon's survival reflects the high quality insisted upon at build - her hull is still largely original.
Her builder and first owner, Tankerville Chamberlayne, Esq., a gentleman of local standing, personally superintended her construction by his own 'Arrow Yard' at Northam on the River Itchen. This small non-commercial facility was established by the Chamberlayne family for the maintenance of the famous cutter Arrow (1822), which was adapted continuously and thereby kept racing competitively into the 1890s. Amazon's engine and boiler were supplied by the adjacent works of Day, Summers and Company.
Amazon was used for summer cruising, to attend sailing regattas along the south coast of England, and to visit France. Having been prepared appropriately for the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Royal Fleet Review in 1897 (at which Turbinia made her sensational debut), she was shortly after sold to a prominent French yachtsman an was based at St. Malo as Armoricain until 1900, when she returned to British ownership.
Already too old (and with a coal-fired compound engine no doubt thought to be rather too old-fashioned) for the First World War, she remained in south coast ports as a private yacht. A new owner took her to London and after 52 years of service her original engine and boiler were removed on her conversion to diesel in 1937. The Second World War put paid to pleasure cruising and she subsequently became a dumb houseboat for some years in a west London Yacht Basin. In 1971, encouraged by his surveyor's positive report, actor Arthur Lowe purchased her and made her sea-worthy again. At first a private yacht she then pursued a successful charter business in the 1980s, before migrating to the north of Scotland in 1990.
Amazon is today used for family cruising. Bought on January 1, 1997 (Bill of Sale date), she had been for sale in Scotland for seven years prior and was looking a bit ragged. Nevertheless, despite her appearance, she remained fundamentally sound and substantially, the original vessel. In the Spring of 1997, her owners took her to Malta (in the Mediterranean), the furthest she had ever traveled and where she has been based ever since as a recreational family boat.
In 2009, at 124 years of age, Amazon departed in February from Malta bound for America, motor sailing via Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, Barbados, St Vincent & the Grenadines, St Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda and Bermuda.
- Length - 83 ft LWL, 91.2 ft Register, 102 ft LOA, 114 ft over spar
- Beam - 15.1 ft
- Draught - maximum 8 ft 3 ins (aft)
From The World Ship Trust website (http://www.worldshiptrust.org/links.html)
Interested in Yachts? Be sure to visit our exhibit Yacht Tales: Stories from the World of Recreational Sailing.