Orion is no longer the same as a production Irwin 10/4. We now know that her second owner made modifications after consulting with *Walter Scott,
one of her designers. We do have some
drawings for the changes along with manuals and papers.
She would probably now be classified as a heavy cruiser. Her modifications include the following:
Layout when purchased
- Keel, skeg, rudder and hull
- The keel was lengthened, creating a cut away full keel with 3.8 ft draft
- Increased keel weight 1,000 lbs+/- (Approximately 300 lbs in lead ingots and a lot of cement and rebar)
- A large, thick, metallic wing was added to the keel's base
- Skeg lengthened
- Rudder lengthened
- Wheel and steering machinery replaced by tiller
- The hull was also reinforced
- Widened seating area is 360 degrees of the reduced cockpit well and companionway
- The only thing passing through the cockpit well are the engine controls (water tight)
- Weather boards are now solid (not vented)
- Cockpit well drains have been enlarged
- Lazarettes are all gone except at the stern where they are sealed off from the interior of the boat
- Coaming has been raised along with winches by glassing and large teak boards
- Galvanized stern railing
- Original galley sink replaced by a double sink low and close to the hull
- Parque deck added in front of sink for sit-down access to sink
- Propane gas stove installed just fore of sink (starboard bunk is now a seat)
- Any bulkheads toward the stern were removed to allow access to space formerly lazarettes and behind the engine
- Two additional winches were added
- Mast and boom replaced with heavier version
- An inner fore stay was removed at some point
- Fore stay to end of bowsprit is doubled
- Mast support reinforced
- Upgraded head model with holding tank
- Reservoir for fresh water added to provide gravity feed to faucet
Orion has had three owners before us. The first
couple, apparently knew little about sailing and decided to sell her almost
The second owner lived on board off and on for some years. During
that period, he consulted with *Walter Scott on the design modifications, and met his wife to be.
They then lived aboard together, and took off cruising for 3 years. They went to the Keys, took
the boat up the intercoastal waterway to Washington, DC and back, and spent 6 months in the Exumas.
She is the one that contacted us via this website. Another interesting detail that she related was that
Orion had been struck by lightning twice, once in the Keys at anchor and once at a dock in Gulfport, Florida.
The first instance was quite scary, but with no damage. The second took out the depth finder and VHF.
The owner previous to us has stayed in touch, and has shared
with us some of his cruising experiences. One of these was a storm experience in the Gulf Stream.
Through him we learned that
Orion has sailed extensively in the Florida Keys, both sides of the Florida peninsula, to
the Bahamas and the Dry Tortugas, and made one solo voyage to Bermuda and back.
He also installed Orion's current running lights, having salvaged them from a much larger
South African boat named Tina. This was accomplished on the very day Tina was to be
towed out and sunk off the coast of Cape Canaveral to help form an artificial reef.
Tina was sailed from South Africa to Florida, and the owner wrote a book about it,
Tina, by Bruce Whiteley, Copyright © 1973.
We have made some short trips with Orion around the
Caloosahatchee River, San Carlos Bay, and Sanibel Island to Cayo Costa. It takes time
to get to know your boat when you sail several hundred miles from where you live and work.
It is about time for us to go on a longer journey. The only things holding us back at this
time is hurricane damage repair work, and time. Orion survived hurricane Charley just south east of
the eye wall. Our guess is that most of the damage was due to the high wind, since
the storm surge was much less than predicted. Orion was heeled over extremely during the
storm with excessive pressure being placed on the life lines. Unfortunately, they were not
loosened before the storm. Her bobstay also parted at the breakwater, but her mast did not
come down. After the mast was secured, she experienced high winds from two other monster
*Walter Scott worked with Ted Irwin during Orion's major modifications. He is probably responsible for the
10/4 being based on a catboat design. He and Ted Irwin produced the production model together.
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