....a little distraction from Covid-19 is good for the soul!
Marilyn & Andy aboard Amida
Around the year 2000, Marilyn and I started making firm plans to buy a bigger boat and spend our retirement years sailing. The first one we looked at was a 42’ Albin located in Brooklyn, NY. Compared to the 26’ Albin we sailed at that time, it looked like an aircraft carrier and we decided on something smaller. After much debate and hours of internet searches we eventually purchased a Valiant 37 Esprit in San Fransisco and had her trucked to Toronto in 2001. We spent the next two years doing a significant refit and headed “south” in October 2003. It took us nine months to reach Trinidad travelling down Erie Canal to the Hudson then the ICW to Florida and finally island hopping through the Bahamas, Turcs, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Leeward, and Windward islands. It took a mere six hours to fly back, with her on the hard, to avoid the hurricane season. We spent five of the next six years sailing in the Caribbean, from November till April. We ventured through the Roques and Aves islands of Venezuela and spent time in Curacao and Bonaire (wonderful scuba diving in Bonaire). On our way back to Toronto in 2009 we sailed in the Chesapeake for the summer months.
During the extensive refit we decided to give Amida her new name. The registration process required that a boat name be unique to Canada and that there not even be a phonetically similar name already taken. Our original choice of Azzurra had long been chosen, as was every other name we considered. Just like parents of a new baby who cannot find an appropriate name, we bought a book to help us decide. Sadly, many of the names were for stinkpots eg Passing Gas, or inappropriate, eg Foreplay. We also decided the name needed to be short and easy to pronounce, given we would be frequently identifying ourselves on the VHF radio.
We finally selected the name AMIDA. The word has an ancient origin from the Sanskrit language and refers to a Buddha known as the Buddha of Eternal Light and Life who created a pure land "possessing happiness”, which was quite an appropriate boat name. We later discovered there is also an Amida prayer in the Jewish faith. Ironically, we did not anticipate that the name would be so hard for people to decipher and we were frequently called back on the VHF under the name AMOEBA,…
Amida is a wonderful boat and has treated us well and kept us safe, even from a couple of boardings by thieves in the middle of the night. She loves a good breeze and revels in 15 - 20 knot winds. One of he photos is of us beating into a strong wind on our way from Nevis to Antigua and the other shows Amida at anchor off Virgin Gorda, fully kitted out with wind generator, solar panel, wind vane steering, jerry cans, life raft, etc. If you want to take a look at her, she is the double-ender with a black mast in slip A9.
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