2013 was a successful year for the Jersey Ships’ Registry, with 140 new vessels being registered and more than 700 transactions processed throughout the year.
The majority of vessels that come on to the Jersey Register are modern, luxury designs; however, the occasional classic still features from time to time. A particularly striking example of this is Amazon, one of the most recent vessels to be registered in the Island. A distinctive British wooden screw schooner, Amazon is one of the oldest ships in the National Register of Historic Vessels.
She was built in Southampton in 1885 by the private Arrow Yard of the late Mr Tankerville Chamberlayne, and was originally fitted with a steam engine, which was replaced with an oil engine in 1937.
Amazon was designed by the renowned naval architect Dixon Kemp to be ‘fast and a good seaboat’ and her successful sea trials were recorded in the first edition of his Yacht Architecture (1885). She made over 11 knots for only 125 horsepower.
For almost all of her 129 years afloat, Amazon has sailed under the British Red Ensign; she spent a brief period under the French tricolore from late 1897 until early 1900, during which time she was named Armoricain and was based in Dinard.
Amazon spent her years as a steam ship from 1885 to 1937 based mainly in the English Channel. Subsequently she was a houseboat on the Thames until late 1968, when her surveyor noted that she was in ‘remarkable condition for her age’.
In her current ownership since the end of 1996, Amazon has cruised in British, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Bermudian, American and Canadian waters. Research has so far revealed that Amazon was reported in Jersey in August 1896, although it is quite possible she had visited the Island at some point in the previous decade. More recently, she visited in the late 1970s and several times during 2012 and 2013.
Amazon has the unique distinction of being the only vessel to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames on 4 June 2012 (moored in the Avenue of Sail in the Pool of London) as well as being present at Spithead to witness the Royal Fleet Review for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on 26 June 1897.
Prior to her recent transfer of port, Amazon’s owners asked for the Jersey Register of British Ships to record her traditional imperial measurements alongside their metric equivalents in the new Certificate of Registry. Jersey’s Registrar of British Ships was happy to accommodate this request.
Amazon’s owners commented: “The Certificate of Registry is a significant part of a ship’s identity – essentially it is the ship’s passport – and it was important to us for historical as well as for sentimental reasons that her traditional imperial dimensions should not be lost.
“We are delighted that the Jersey Register of British Ships has been willing to record Amazon’s measurements in imperial units together with the metric equivalents, now more common in ship measurement.
“This flexible, intelligent and, above all, reasonable response to our request, which maintains heritage while complying with the law, does credit to Jersey. Throughout our dealings with the Registry staff we have experienced the cooperative, efficient and friendly manner that we have come to associate with Jersey. We look forward to visiting Jersey in Amazon again.”
Amazon is a frequent visitor to Gorey Harbour and will more than likely be visiting Jersey again this summer.