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:
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 some cement)
A large, thick, metallic wing was added to the keel's base
Wheel and steering machinery replaced by tiller
The hull reinforced in places
Widened seating area is 360 degrees of the reduced cockpit well
The only thing passing through the cockpit well are the engine controls and drains
Weather boards are now solid (not vented)
Cockpit well drains have been enlarged
Lazarettes are all gone except at the stern
Coaming has been raised along with winches by glassing and large marine lumber
Stainless steel stern railing has been installed
Original galley replaced with a stainless sink with electric and manual pumps
Galley equipped with a sea stove that can be used in the cockpit or in the cabin
Interior access to space formerly occupied by the lazarettes
Diesel fuel tank added under the cockpit well 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 to the Air Head composting toilet
Opening port-lights added
Layout when purchased
Orion has had three owners before
us. The first couple, apparently knew little about sailing and
decided to sell her almost immediately.
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.
*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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