Amazon (yacht)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amazon in 1889
United Kingdom
BuilderTankerville Chamberlayne, Arrow Yard, Southampton
StatusPrivate yacht
General characteristics
TypeScrew schooner, formerly steam yacht
Tonnage58 GRT/GT
Displacement84 tons full load
Length102 ft (31 m) (114 ft (35 m) over spar)
Beam15.1 ft (4.6 m)
Draft8.25 ft (2.51 m)
PropulsionMotor and sail
NotesDesigner: Dixon Kemp

Amazon is a 102-foot (31 m) long screw schooner and former steam yacht built in 1885 at the private Arrow Yard of Tankerville Chamberlayne in Southampton.[1][2]

Designer Dixon Kemp intended her to be 'fast and a good seaboat' and her successful sea trials were recorded in the several editions of his definitive Yacht Architecture[3] (First Edition published in 1885).[1]

In 2011, Amazon was listed as one of the world's Top 40 Classic Yachts and was the oldest vessel honoured.[4]


Carvel planked in teak and pitch pine on oak frames, with alternate wrought iron strap floor reinforcement, bronze fastenings, lead keel and copper sheathing, the Amazon's hull is still largely original.[1]


Her builder and first owner, Tankerville Chamberlayne, an English gentleman, personally supervised her construction by his own Arrow Yard at Northam on the River Itchen. This small private facility was established by the Chamberlayne family for the maintenance of the famous cutter Arrow, 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.[1]

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 debut), she was shortly after sold to a prominent French yachtsman and was based at Saint Malo as Armoricain until 1900, when she returned to British ownership.[1]

Amazon circa 1910

Already too old (and with a coal-fired compound engine 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 houseboat for some years in a west London Yacht Basin.[1]

The actor Arthur Lowe bought her as a houseboat in 1968 and, encouraged by his surveyor's positive report, made her ready for sea again in 1971;[5] at first a private yacht she then pursued a successful charter business in the 1980s, before migrating to northern Scotland in 1990.[1]

In 1997 she made passage from Scotland to Malta, where her new owners used her for cruising in the Mediterranean.[1] In 2009 Amazon crossed the Atlantic Ocean via the Cape Verde Islands [6] and travelled in the Caribbean and to Bermuda.[7]

Amazon at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, US, in December 2009.

Amazon arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, United States from Bermuda on Labor Day 2009.[8] Amazon was hosted by the Herreshoff Marine Museum at Bristol, Rhode Island in October 2009.[9][10] She spent time in Narragansett Bay.[11] The yacht subsequently travelled to Mystic Seaport in late 2009 [7][12] and was based there in early 2011.[13][14] Amazon remained at Mystic Seaport until mid-2011.[15]

Amazon was flagship for the commodore of the Mystic River Yacht Club for a charity regatta in Long Island Sound in June 2011[16] and visited Canada in July 2011 [17][18]

In August 2011 the yacht made a trans-Atlantic passage from Newfoundland to Ireland,[19] and arrived at Waterford on 2 September 2011[20] where she was described by a local boat owner as the "classiest motor boat I have ever seen!".[21] She remained at Waterford for the winter.[22]

In May 2012 she visited Bristol[23] before sailing to London,[24] where she took part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday 3 June 2012.[25] She was the only vessel present that had also witnessed the Diamond Jubilee Fleet Review for Queen Victoria at Spithead on 26 June 1897.[26] The Director of National Historic Ships referred to her in his public letter of criticism concerning the BBC's coverage of the event.[27]

Amazon was subsequently at the Ramsgate Maritime Museum until late June,[28] at Shoreham on 28 June 2012,[29] then at Cowes[30] and in the Bassin Vauban at St Malo, France in late July 2012.[31]

In August and September 2012, Amazon was in the Channel Islands, visiting Alderney in August[32][33] and Jersey in September, berthing in St Helier and Gorey Harbours; on 13 September she was in St Aubin's Bay to watch the 2012 Jersey International Air Display.

She was in Bristol during the winter[34][35] and at the Southampton Maritime Festival on 5 & 6 May 2013.[36][37][38]

On 23 May she was in the Bristol Channel[39] en route to Gloucester, where she arrived on 24 May[40] for the city's Tall Ships Festival[41] on 25 & 26 May,[42] and was on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal during June.[43] She was at Gorey, Jersey on 22 July 2013[44] and had returned to Malta by October that year.[45]


Material in the public domain has been incorporated in this article and is cited accordingly (World Ship Trust).

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "World Ship Trust (public domain text)". Archived from the original on 13 September 2011.
  2. ^ "Superyacht Times".
  3. ^ Kemp, Dixon (1897). Yacht Architecture. H. Cox. p. 289.
  4. ^ "Top 40 Classic yachts - The world's favourite classic yachts, as voted by a range of superyacht industry experts". SuperYacht World. No 20. July–August 2011.
  5. ^ "Bygone Derbyshire - Arthur Lowe".[dead link]
  6. ^ "AMAZON - - Ship Photos and Ship Tracker".
  7. ^ a b "Mystic Seaport - Yacht Amazon". Archived from the original on 16 September 2011.
  8. ^ "At Newport, RI awaiting clearance (flag Q flying)". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Superyacht Times - Editorial".
  10. ^ "At Bristol, RI on Columbus Day 2009".
  11. ^ "At Newport, RI awaiting clearance (flag Q flying)".
  12. ^ "At Mystic Seaport".
  13. ^ "Classic Boat - March 2011".
  14. ^ "The Peregrine Sea blog - Yacht Amazon, Dixon Kemp and Firecrest (Painting with Light and Water)".
  15. ^ "Classic Yacht magazine - Mystic Minutes June 2011". Archived from the original on 30 January 2013.
  16. ^ "The Day".
  17. ^ "Amazin Amazon".
  18. ^ "Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax, N.S."[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Neidin Sailboat blog".
  20. ^ "Hooks and Crooks - 3rd September 2011".
  21. ^ "'Classiest motor boat I have ever seen!'". Archived from the original on 17 February 2013.
  22. ^ Sailboat, Neidin (12 December 2011). ". Neidin Sailboat: Christmas is coming ! Sat 3rd December 2011".
  23. ^ "Channel Images".
  24. ^ "Around Perranuthnoe : Screw Schooner Amazon". 29 May 2012.
  25. ^ "All sizes | ex steam yacht Amazon | Flickr - Photo Sharing!".
  26. ^ "Avenue of Sail participants" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  27. ^ "'Director, National Historic Ships'". Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  28. ^ "RAMSGATE MARITIME MUSEUM, Kent (Operated by The Steam Museum Trust)".
  29. ^ "Wikispaces".
  30. ^ "Sally Water Taxi".
  31. ^ "Ouest France".
  32. ^ "Rea's Bistro, Bar and Terrace".
  33. ^ "Amazon". 18 August 2012 – via Flickr.
  34. ^ "Bristol in October".
  35. ^ "Geograph:: Bristol Docks - screw schooner Amazon (C) Chris Allen".
  36. ^ "Musings of a curious individual". Archived from the original on 1 February 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  37. ^ "Town Quay with Amazon and Clashot". 1 January 2019 – via Flickr.
  38. ^ "Amazon moored by the docks". 1 January 2019 – via Flickr.
  39. ^ "Classic Motor Yacht "Amazon"".
  40. ^ "Gloucester Tall Ships Festival - Schooner 'Amazon' passing Monk Meadow on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal". 24 May 2013 – via Flickr.
  41. ^ "Visit the City of Gloucester".
  42. ^ "Gloucester Tall Ships Festival - Schooner 'Amazon' in the Main Basin at Gloucester Docks". 25 May 2013 – via Flickr.
  43. ^ "Saul Junction on the Canal".
  44. ^ "Gorey Harbour". 22 July 2013 – via Flickr.
  45. ^ "AMAZON - - Ship Photos and Ship Tracker".