Phoenix's Story

Phoenix has been a work in progress and a labor of love for Bill and me. While she looks like this now, the two of us have spent more man hours than we choose to count getting her to where she is today.

Phoenix under sail

When Bill found Phoenix in Detroit, she had been on the hard for several years, and the masts hadn't been up for at least 10 years. Phoenix's previous owner, Dieter, purchased the boat in the mid 1990s. At that point her teak decks had been replaced with Ipe (Brazilian walnut). The compromised foredeck had been leaking badly and Dieter ripped all of the Ipe -- and even the cabin tops -- off the boat. Dieter re-beamed the foredeck, gutted most of the interior, and began a Herculean attempt at reviving the boat before running out of steam and putting her on the market.

Phoenix's Ipe deck and cabin tops removed

An interior shot during the redecking

Phoenix when Bill found her in Detroit
We picked up where Dieter left off, and have been rebuilding Phoenix and customizing her to our specifications. Our first priority was to get the boat sailing again, and we are now finishing off the interior and getting the boat move-in ready. Many of our modifications have been made based on our own experience, needs, and wants in boat design, but we also try to be cognizant of Phoenix's history, which we've learned along the way.

For years, all we knew about Phoenix was that she was a "custom 48' ketch" built in the mid 1970s by a "Mr. Kim" in Pusan, Korea. Not really much to go on ... But leave it to two super sleuth researchers to uncover the true pedigree of our "little" gem!

Fast forward a few years and Bill sees a boat for sale on E-bay that looks remarkably similar to Phoenix. This was a ferro-cement hull rather than fiberglass, but the similarities were striking! That boat -- Eager Dreamer -- is a Bruce Bingham 48' Andromeda ketch.

Gary and Lana on Eager Dreamer

We then found a fiberglass hull Andromeda for sale that was even more similar to Phoenix. Now convinced that our "custom ketch" was really a Bruce Bingham Andromeda, Bill and I set out to unravel the mystery behind Phoenix's origins.

We decided to divide and conquer. Bill discovered that Eager Dreamer was built in Seattle by Gary and Lana Wiles, and found their contact information online. I hit the message boards and found that Bruce Bingham is living in Florida and got his contact info. Bill called them both and what we learned excited us both!

Phoenix is, in fact, a Bruce Bingham Christina ketch -- a slight modification of the Andromeda design.  The Andromeda and the Christina have the same LWL, beam, displacement, etc. However, the Andromeda's vary in LOA between 46-48' while the Christina is listed at 49'. Also, the Christina has:
  • Single, rather than double ports in the hull
  • Slightly taller bulwarks with more bow flair
  • Squared rather than "bubble" cabin tops
  • A slightly fuller, more pointed canoe stern. The Andromeda has a rounder "cruiser" stern
Phoenix is 1 of only 2 Andromeda/Christina ketches that were made in the factory under Bruce's supervision. For all intents and purposes, she is hull #1 of the 2, and was commissioned with an additional 6 foot bowsprit and staysl rig. There are other Andromeda and/or Christina ketches out there, but only two were built with Bruce's oversight. Our hull was made in Korea, and she was shipped to Seattle where she was finished and delivered. Gary saw her there in 1976, and she was the inspiration that led him and Lana to build Eager Dreamer. Gary went through his old files and found a few of Phoenix's "baby pictures" from 1976.

Phoenix in Seattle, still under construction. Our bowsprit is there, but not attached

Lana on Phoenix's deck in 1976
Phoenix has had several owners, a hand full of names, and many modifications over the years. We've seen remnants of bulkheads, shoveled bags full of wood chips and epoxy that settled in her keel, and uncovered a variety of paint colors as we completed the re-decking and paint job.

Now that we have re-decked the boat, added a custom hard top dodger and bimini, revamped the running/standing rigging, rebuilt the hydraulic steering new sails and more, we are extremely happy with Phoenix's sailing performance and livability. With a few more finishing touches, the interior overhaul will be complete, and she will be ready to be a full time live aboard boat!

Phoenix at anchor

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