This is our boat, Orion. We love her. She is a 41 ft. Tartan T.O.C.K (Tartan Offshore Cruising Ketch) and was designed by Sparkman and Stephens. She was born in 1976 so, being from the same generation, we have a lot in common.
Other than our 13 ft. Flying Junior sailing dinghy, Orion is our first sailboat. We did lots of research and spent a year exploring tons boats all over California before we found her. We wanted a sound offshore cruising sailboat made by a reputable company that could be safely sailed shorthanded yet large enough to bring friends and family along on trips (and perhaps to use as a charter boat)… not too tall an order, right? We looked at boats in the 35-40ft range and were leaning toward the stable/solid/slow school of thought rather than fast/light/nimble. We found Orion conveniently close to us in San Francisco Bay. She was a bit larger than we were looking for, but the first time we stepped aboard her all of the other boats we had seen felt like vacation. Orion feels like home, a home we can live in for a long, long time, which is the plan. We also decided that it’s completely acceptable to buy a boat based on the quality of the previous owner. Richard had lived aboard Orion for 10 years and took meticulous care of her, fixing thoroughly and updating with high quality parts. He talked us through every system, put us in touch with the folks that had worked on her (if he hadn’t done the work himself) and is still available three years later for any questions we may have. Best previous owner ever! After this experience we don’t think we would ever be able to buy a boat through a broker. Way too sterile… and a bit of a gamble.
We had no experience with ketch rigs (definition: a sailboat with two masts, the second, called the mizzen, is shorter and aft of the main mast and sits in the front of the rudder), but have since learned that we made an excellent decision. The addition of the mizzen creates a diversity of sail configurations that can be changed to fit the conditions, aids maneuvering in tight spots, and reduces the overall size of each sail so they’re easier to handle.
The cockpit on Orion is in the center of the boat (rather than the stern) leaving room for a large flush aft deck that two people can literally do yoga upon! We never thought we’d say this about a sailboat but the space below is pretty darn roomy. Normally a boat this size would have one or two separate staterooms, but Orion has a different layout that trades walls and privacy for open space. The back of Orion is open living space (saloon, galley, and navigation station) and the front is the main bed and storage as well as a separate v-berth (sleeps two). The original layout had two heads, but who needs two heads on a 41’ boat? Space to store sails, scuba gear and tools is a much better idea, so we converted the forward head into a storage closet.
Depending on what you consider a “bed”, Orion sleeps eight people but you really have to like each other for this to work, as it’s pretty much a big slumber party. She is better suited for 4-6 people… who should probably still really like each other. Fortunately, our friend’s rock because on most of the longer trips we have done thus far (3-7 days) we’ve had eight folks onboard and we all still love each other!
We also have a small inflatable dinghy named Cassiopeia (my second favorite constellation), “Peanut” for short. We tend to put too many people on the dinghy as well.
After we’ve cleaned she looks like this…
For those interested in the specs, like us…
And of course, the name…..
Orion is named after one of the most prominent and recognized constellations seen from earth. Orion’s belt is located along the celestial equator (in the same plane as the earth’s equator), therefore it is visible everywhere on the planet in both the northern and southern hemispheres. In Greek mythology Orion was a gigantic supernaturally strong hunter born to a nymph and Poseidon, god of the sea. As “hunters” of global adventure we love that our namesake constellation will always be guiding our way.