Introducing S/V Andromeda!

I feel like we’ve just given birth, such has been the waiting, watching and anticipating and anxiety-ridden stress of the last two weeks. And the eating! Lord, can you say ‘stress eating’? But the gestation period, which took about the same amount of time as gestating an elephant, is over. The new ‘baby’, a big blue girl named Andromeda, is finally here. Or, rather, she is in Astoria, Oregon. There are some loose ends to tie up with the financing and paperwork, but that is going smoothly after a day of difficulty when we feared the contractions had stopped, causing a day of major ‘freak out’ and frantic Facebook posting. Unless something catastrophic happens now, things should be pretty straight forward from now on, and we can soon call her our own. And because we have a backup plan in case the bank does a 180 on us, it’s just going to happen.

S/V Andromeda. Love. That. Color!

Just Her Statistics

1975 47 foot Olympic Adventure ketch, major refit in 1987

Designer: Ted Brewer

Builder: Olympic Marine, Greece

In the recent past when I was scouring Yachtworld on an almost-daily basis, I came across the listing for this boat and was immediately smitten by the turquoise color of her hull and by name of the boat, which was listed as ‘Aquarius’ (This was the wrong name because, FYI, lots of Yachtworld listings are just copy/paste jobs of previous listings for the same vessel. Grrr.). I liked that name and our boat, Moonrise, has the astrological symbol for ‘Aquarius’ on either side of the moon on her hull, something I thought was a nice synchronicity. Alas, in those days we did not think we were in the position to buy, and she was out of our price range, anyhow. We could look, but we could not touch. Still, her layout and sail plan were perfect so I bookmarked her page and checked back occasionally to see if the price had been lowered. Very soon there was a ‘sale pending’ on the listing. So I just moved on.

Months passed and we languished in our attempts to sell Moonrise. Discouraged, we pretty much stopped looking at boats. We were convinced we had to sell Moonrise first.  Personally, I was pretty tired of the whole thing; tired of being on the roller coaster, and actually tired of looking at boats that we couldn’t buy. If you have been reading our blog for awhile, you’ll know that we considered just taking our Cal 34 to Mexico and calling it good. We didn’t want to do that, we really did not.  But I was coming to terms with it because it seemed like the only way. We were not looking outside the box, to coin a phrase.

After our surveyor climbed the mast, Mike couldn’t wait to try out the mast steps. Yes, he is tied off for safety.

Then, two weeks ago, Andromeda’s owner, John,  saw our ad and emailed me that he had a boat he thought might work for us. Would we be interested? I looked at the photos and realized it was the same boat that had been listed as S/V Aquarius; the very one that had been sold before. The sale had fallen through when the engine was found to have water in the oil. John had removed the listing from the brokerage and was selling it himself. He said this would be a good opportunity for us to get the boat at a lower price because he was going to have to pull the engine. When, exactly, do owners actually say that? We agreed and made an appointment to go see it the following weekend.

All four of us piled into the car to make the trip to Astoria. I felt amazingly calm because I was at the point where I knew it would either be the right boat or it wouldn’t and besides, we couldn’t afford moorage for another boat so we were probably wasting our time.  Mike was fully prepared to dislike the boat, for it to be too big, for it to feel ungainly. But even as our thoughts kept coming up with reasons why it was silly to even look at this boat, it was already uncanny how things were coming together. Moorage in Astoria is cheaper than dirt. We could afford to pay for an entire year of moorage at a time, making that payment a non-issue and giving us more time to sell Moonrise if necessary. Moonrise is fully paid for, so other than moorage, we won’t have any expenses for her for awhile. Our ‘in the box’ thinking began to unravel.

You can turn this table over and put a cushion in the middle to have a berth-type settee. We love the little table! So useful. Owl not included.

When we first saw Andromeda, I was so relieved that she actually looked just like her photographs. She is the same color of turquoise blue and I love it! We stepped on board and went over every inch of the deck and cockpit. I put off going below until I had a good feel for what was up top. Able to see the bow from a seated position at the wheel? Check! Cockpit fully nap-able? Check! Great winches, excellent sails with easy reefing systems? Check! Windlass that works? Check! Then I went below and checked out the interior. My decision was made.

Meanwhile Mike was doing his own tour of the boat and having fascinating conversations with boat owner, John.  It took almost no time at all for us to be of one mind that this was definitely our boat and we would simply find a way for it to work. Andrew and Claire both gave it the ‘thumbs up’ and all of us really liked the owner of the boat, John. He’s just a great, honorable guy, an avid sailor, and has taken really good care of this boat. We hope to remain friends with him. Bonus!

We love the views from the marina in Astoria.

So what is it about this boat that made us decide right away to buy it? Only this: it pretty much has every single thing we said we wanted, with only a minor exception or two; easily remedied. Let’s make this easy. Here’s a partial equipment list.

Center cockpit, with bottom sider cushions with covers
Hard dodger, with viewing window and windshield wipers
Full cockpit enclosure
Ketch rig with removable inner forestay
9.5 oz main and mizzen sails in excellent shape
Lofran electric windlass with remote
Muir stern anchor windlass with wash down
65 lb Bruce anchor w/300′ of high tensile 3/8″ chain
23 lb Fortress with 40′ chain and 250′ 1/2″ rode
Stainless steel swim grid with fixed swim ladder
Custom stainless heavy duty davits with self tailing winches
24 mile Furuno radar, older, but it works
Kenwood SSB radio and tuner with insulated back stay
New Raymarine below decks autopilot
Two solar panels with new charger/controller
Excellent non-skid on deck with intuitive hand holds
Stanchions are hip height and sturdy
Mast pulpits
Lazy jacks and sail covers on main and mizzen
Mast steps. Mike has already been up the mast.
Liferaft. This needs inspection and repacking. Don’t know if it’s good.

And then, you know how I feel about comfort below:

Amazing head room. The current owner is 6’4″ and he stands tall in the boat.
Plenty of opening ports and hatches, including one right above the galley.
Three staterooms. THREE! One triple, one double, one single.
Large marine fridge/freezer space. (We have to replace the unit on this.)
Fresh and salt water pumps
Hot water (14 gallons)
Diesel cabin heater
Two heads (Actually, I did not care about this, but I’ll take it.)
A full stand up shower (Again, who cares? But I’ll take it.)
An engine ROOM. That’s right! Mike is so happy it’s kind of pitiful.
A WORKSHOP! Right outside the engine room doors. OMG!
A comfortable salon
Good storage pretty much everywhere

Salon on S/V Andromeda

Is there work to be done? Of course! Much has already been done on this boat, but there are enough projects to keep us busy for awhile. The hull, deck, masts, and other expensive things are in sound condition. John has already removed the old engine (by himself!) and the engine room is ready to be cleaned, prepped and painted. Mike will be rewiring much of the boat because he’s kind of a wiring geek and a little persnickity that way. He wants it done to his standards. The boat had a serious refit in 1987, including that pretty blue color,  but that’s still long ago, so systems need to be updated.

There is months worth of work in this engine room, where all the systems come together.

And, of course, there will be a new engine. We’ve been putting money aside in the boat kitty and have been able to save enough to buy the engine. Right now we are researching the best deal on an engine because we need a signed ‘intent to purchase’ contract in order for our bank financing to work. We’ll hire someone down in Astoria to help us put it in, but Mike still has to choose his poison: Beta Marine or Yanmar? He’s researching the heck out of it.

I thought this table dropped down to make a big berth, but it doesn’t 🙁

Literally the only thing I was disappointed about in this boat has to do with the settee in the salon. I have a vision of a seating area that includes a deep settee and comfortable pillows. I want the equivalent of a comfy sofa in a boat we will live on. When we first saw the boat, I assumed the table dropped down and that you could create a large double berth in the main cabin, but such is not the case. This disappointed me, but I am going to work with it. I have some ideas about how I can keep this table, which is really beautiful and versatile, and create a wider settee with the comfortable pillows I envision. Oh, I will eventually have my cake and eat it, too. That’s way down on the list, however, about the time I replace cushions.

So, one giant leap forward with the plan. We are excited and also have moments of being overwhelmed with the thought of owning this kind of boat. She is just so very different from our little Cal 34; so much boat! But we absolutely love Astoria and are going to completely enjoy spending weekends down there at the mouth of the Columbia River. I foresee us doing everything we can to spend longer weekends down there. Change is in the air!

If you want to see more photos of the boat, go to the Picasa Album I made just for our readers.

We hope she will take us on many adventures! (It’s an older photo. Rear solar panels are gone, as is wind generator.)

35 thoughts on “Introducing S/V Andromeda!

    • Thanks, Sue! We are looking forward to spending time in Astoria. It’s like having vacation house, albeit one that needs work!

    • Thanks, Cidnie! The amount of light inside was one of the attractions, to be sure. And the headroom! We had all four of us, plus John, in the cabin and didn’t feel cramped. I’m thrilled to think we will have a boat where people can visit us.

  1. Love this! I followed Behan’s link because I remember these days so well. Congratulations on the birth of your new baby. (Oh, and we bought a Beta Marine generator and absolutely love it. If we had to replace our Ford Lehman main engine, that’s the route we’d take.)

    • Thanks for stopping by Normandie! We are looking forward to many posts about our new ‘baby’ and all the fun we’re going to have fixing her up and then having adventures. Thanks for the comment, too, about the Beta. Mike is knuckling down to make the choice this week because it needs to get done soon so we can get this show on the road!


    Congratulations … I can only imagine how excited you must be! Looks like everything worked out just as it should. So happy for you, and look forward to hearing about your new adventures!

    • Thank you so much! We are excited. And keeping our fingers crossed about selling our other boat. It’s a bit of a risk, but one we felt worth taking.

  3. Melissa and Mike,
    We are so excited for you! She’s beautiful :). I also LOVE the blue hull, and it doesn’t seem too dark for the tropical climates. She’s certainly bright inside and appears to have lots of space. Plenty of room for your whole family to come visit you, you know, on some island one day.

    If one of the biggest issues so far is the settee you are doing pretty good! That table/settee arrangement looks like it can be modified to drop down, but you’ll always have time to fix that later.

    It’s a whole lotta boat, you guys are brave for getting one so big. It seems however that most people go bigger after they’ve had a 30’ish boat, like Moonrise.

    Getting a new engine is super exciting! With a boat that big you’d almost prefer to have a new one anyways so you can give yourself the best chance of it starting when you need it to. 35k pounds probably isn’t easy to “sail into the slip”. LOL.

    Can’t wait to read about your upcoming projects. Oh yeah, and Tate also LOVES the engine room. The engine room and nav table are the two places he considers fully his.

    • I think once Mike saw the engine room it was going to be hard for him to ‘go back’. He’s already looking at how he could use that nav station to do his day job from the boat. This kind of boat opens up possibilities that are harder for small boats. Yes, the displacement is a little scary to us. But we hear from people who have bigger boats that it’s just a learning curve, and honestly, I think once the boat is paid for (item number one on the long list) we’ll look at putting on a bow thruster. We’ll see how we feel about it then, but it’s possible we’ll want to. I think we will always miss how easy it is to take Moonrise out for an evening sail, but to be honest, there isn’t a lot of that going on. We’re more likely to do that on this boat.

        • No kidding! We spent the weekend going over systems, etc, one more time and barely even went into the forward cabin or forward head. That was wierd. But I am stoked to have space for my family to visit. Even my mother said she would come onto this big a boat. Woot!

  4. Congratulations you guys! We had made special note of this boat a long time ago, but for reasons similar to yours (sale pending, etc.) we moved on in our looking. So happy for you two! Boat looks fantastic overall!

    • Hi there, Tristan! We think she is that good compromise between sailing ability and displacement that we talked about months ago. There is a full set of drawings on board and looking them over, it appears her displacement is a little less than what we thought; closer to 32,000 than 36,000. I know a couple of people who had noted this boat, so I like it that we are in good company! Can’t wait until she is ready to move up to Washington state so we can sail her in our home waters.

  5. Congrats, congrats, CONGRATS! I LOVE this boat. you are going to have a LOT of fun getting to know her. I am super excited for you! the Engine room and workshop are arrr, arrr, ARRRRRRR! (as Tim the toolman would say)

    I went for a sail yesterday in the heaviest winds to date for me… I had my heart pumping hard a few times, and had stuff strewn all over the cabin as we heeled over pretty hard. Learned about securing stuff… lol…

    • The only downside for us right now is that we are missing out on the last of the good sailing weather by traveling to Astoria for boat stuff. Glad you got to take advantage of the beautiful weather and the nice wind! Maybe a little too much sail up? We have NEVER been guilty of that, I ASSURE YOU 🙂 It’s all good fun until you have to clean up the mess. Keep your ears open for someone who wants to get a really good deal on our Cal.

  6. Barging in from Three Sheets NW, hope you don’t mind.

    That’s an extremely nice layout below deck. Caught my eye, just had to say it. Versatile!

    Putting a radius on the corners of the table would surely help?

    Best of luck w/your new vessel!

    • Thanks for stopping by! We are jazzed about the layout, too. That is an excellent idea to put a radius on the corners of the table. It would make for less bruising too, as I tend to bump into things under the best of circumstances. We have a woodworker friend who would be all over that idea. Thanks for your most welcome comment.:)

  7. Mike/Melissa
    Congratulations! What a great find! Very happy for you since I know this is your dream for a whole now!! We will have to celebrate when you get a chance!!

    • Edwin! Thanks for visiting the blog and commenting! We want you and Chere to come down with us to visit Astoria. They have excellent restaurants and several breweries! We can do the tour of Northwest beers. You will love the boat. We can’t wait to show it to people. I hope this engine repower goes smoothly so we can get this show on the road.

    • So do we, Tate! In my dreams you and Mark Carroll and Steve Yoder are standing with Mike staring at that engine room and the systems, coming up with a plan. Mike’s going to have his hands full with that for awhile, for sure.

  8. Good choice of boat. I know her well having sailed her from Canada to Portland to Baja and back with a former owner. I even did some system upgrades….

    • I love it that people who know this boat have found the blog! Hope you will stay tuned for her further adventures. And Mike may have a question or two about her history as we go along replacing and changing the things that need upgrading on her.

  9. Enjoy her! She is an awesome boat and took our family and friends from Canada to Mexico where we stayed off & on for 3 years… MANY happy memories aboard S/V Aquarius. 😉

    • How fun that you found the blog! I’ve seen your blog about your trip to Mexico when she was S/V Aquarius. I admit that I like that name better than her current name and, in fact, when we first looked at her I thought she was still S/V Aquarius. I was disappointed in the name change. But she’s an awesome boat and we have many great plans for her.

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